Background and history
Marian antiphons have been sung, since the thirteenth century, at the close of
Compline, the last Office of the day.
Peter Canisius (d. 1597) noted that one praises God in Mary when one turns to her in song.
 Liturgically, the Salve Regina is the best known of four prescribed
Marian Anthems recited after Compline, and, in some uses, after Lauds or other Hours.
 Its use after Compline is likely traceable to the monastic practice of intoning it in chapel and chanting it on the way to sleeping quarters.
It was set down in its current form at the Abbey of
Cluny in the 12th century, where it was used as a processional hymn on Marian feasts. The Cistercians chanted the Salve Regina daily from 1218.
 It was popular at medieval universities as evening song, and according to Fr. Juniper Carol, it came to be part of the ritual for the blessing of a ship.
 While the anthem figured largely in liturgical and in general popular Catholic devotion, it was especially dear to sailors.
In the 18th century, the Salve Regina served as the outline for the classic
Roman Catholic Mariology book
The Glories of Mary by
Alphonsus Liguori. In the first part of the book Alphonsus, a
Doctor of the Church, discusses the Salve Regina and explains how God gave Mary to mankind as the "Gate of Heaven".
It was added to the
series of prayers said at the end of
Low Mass by
Pope Leo XIII.
The Salve Regina is traditionally sung at the end of a priest's funeral Mass by the decedent's fellow priests in attendance.
As a prayer, it is commonly said at the end of the