We read in the chronicles of the Capuchin Fathers, that there lived in Venice a celebrated advocate, who, by fraud and evil practices, had become rich. His whole life was very bad, and it appears that he had but one good habit, that of reciting every day a certain prayer to the holy Virgin. Yet, even this little devotion saved him from eternal death, through the mercy of Mary. It happened in this way: Happily, for himself, he had a great esteem for Father Matthew da Basso, and urged him so much to come and dine at his house, that one day the Father gave him this pleasure.
Having arrived, the advocate said to him:
“Now, Father, I will show you something that you have never seen. I have a wonderful ape, who is my valet, washes my glasses, lays the table, and opens the door”
“This may not be an ape”
answered the Father:
“it may be something more than an ape; order him to come here”
The ape was called, again and again, a search was made for him everywhere, and he could not be found. At length, he was discovered hidden under a bed in the lower part of the house, but he would not come out.
said the religious,
“let us go and see him”
and he went with the advocate to his hiding-place.
“come forth, and in the name of God I command you to tell me what you are”
And behold, the ape answered that he was the devil and that he was waiting until that sinner should omit someday to recite his accustomed prayer to the mother of God; for the first time he should omit it, God had given him leave to strangle him? and take him to hell.
At these words the advocate cast himself upon his knees to ask help of the servant of God, who encouraged him and commanded the devil to depart from that house without committing any injury, only he gave him permission, as a sign that he had really gone, to break a piece of the wall.
Scarcely had he finished speaking, when, with a great crash, a hole was made in the wall, which, although it was several times closed with stone and mortar, God willed that it should remain open for a long time; until, by the advice of the servant of God, it was filled up with a slab of marble, with an angel carved on it. The advocate was converted, and, it is to be hoped, persevered until death in his new course of life.
(This story isn’t posted to foster superstition or anything that promotes being scared of animals, it is only posted to show the beauty of Marian devotion)
From “the Glories of Mary” by St Alphonsus Liguori