In praying the "Hail Holy Queen" at the end of the Rosary with my Parish, there is a bit strangeness in the terms used.

For one, some people say

Mourning and weeping in this vale of tears

and some people say

Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears

then some people say

turn then, most gracious advocate

and some people say

turn then, most gracious, advocate

but when they pronounce advocate they pronounce it 'advo-kate', which seems to mean they're addressing Mary as 'most gracious' and asking her to 'advocate' on their behalf (not that that makes sense with the continuation of the next line, but oh well I've got my theories)

Anyway, does any good Christian soul know the right way to pray the Salve Regina in English, has anyone overheard the Pope praying the Rosary in English perhaps?

1 Answer 1


I would call the vale/valley question inconsequential -- they both mean the same thing in English and are both accurate renditions of the Latin valle. But I suppose there's an official translation of the Salve in the Liturgy of the Hours, since it's the standard post-Compline anthem for most of the year. So that could settle the question, in a sense.

On the other hand, using 'advocate' as a verb would be fairly inconsistent with the Latin:

Eia ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte

advocata nostra ("our advocate") is a noun phrase in the vocative case -- it's the person being addressed. The verb in the sentence is converte, which is usually rendered "turn".

That said, even in "the Latin" there are variants. Carthusians, for example, open the prayer thus (IIRC):

Salve Regina misericordiae vitae dulcedo et spes nostra

I.e., "Hail Queen of mercy, life's sweetness and our hope" -- where the standard Roman edition has:

Salve Regina mater misericordiae vita dulcedo et spes nostra

I.e., "Hail Queen, mother of mercy, our life, sweetness, and hope".

So it seems like organic variations that don't do violence to the prayer are well-warranted in the tradition.

  • Thanks, that's a very nice answer - not that I'm ever going to go tell the old ladies they're wrong about the 'Advo-Kate' thing, at least I don't have any reason to get all snooty about 'vales'. For some reason I thought that was a weather term...
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 20, 2011 at 19:51

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