The History of Lighting Candles

Prayer candles date back to ancient Judaism, when lights perpetually burned in temples and synagogues as signs of God’s presence and sources of light for other lamps. The early Christians adapted these traditions using lamps and candles during Mass, in processions, and at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. In time, candles and lamps began to signify another layer of symbolism.

As the faithful prayed for the dead and asked Mary for her intercession and protection, the flickering lights represented their prayers uniting the deceased with the Light of Christ—heaven and earth. The candles remained at the tombs, standing vigil on behalf of the people who lit them. Because of this, the candles were frequently called vigil lights. In Latin, the word for prayer is votum, hence votive candles.

Remembrance Candles

Celebrate the loving memory of a lost one by lighting a remembrance candle at The Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Keep a light burning in remembrance to signify that your loved one’s memory still lives on and burns bright.

Costs for 1 candle, 1-year duration (inscription available):