Mary, Mother of the Church

The Blessed Virgin Mary had that trust in the Father and His will. Because of that, all generations will call her blessed ( Luke 1:48). She is most blessed among woman, and she is the Mother of all nations and peoples. She has been assumed into Heaven by the Father so that she can intercede for us in Heaven and protect us while we are in this valley of tears.


Mary, Mother Of God

St. John Chrysostom

Mary was made Mother of God to obtain salvation for many who, on account of their wicked lives, could not be saved according to the rigor of Divine justice, but might be saved with the help of her sweet mercy and powerful intercession.

There is no one, however wicked, whom Mary does not save by her intercession when she wishes . . . He who has recourse to Mary shall be saved.
St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori

Where does the Bible say Mary is the “Mother of God“?

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, says Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) This passage gives us a title for Mary. She is Mother of my Lord. After Jesus was born the Bible says:

Catholic Christians look to the development over time of Biblical faith. This follows from Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to reveal more things than He would tell His Apostles. This deepening of understanding God’s Truth is evidenced in the definitions of the truth about the Trinity and the natures of Christ in the early Church councils.

Catholics also believe that the Bible does not record all the revealed Word of God. The Word of God in paradosis or tradition under the guidance of the Holy Spirit cannot contradict anything in the Bible, nor be absent from the constant faith of the believing Church.

Some understanding of the truth of God passed on by the believing Church {paradosis, tradition} {1} later defined as revealed truth concerns Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Catholics believe, as did the Protestant Reformers, that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. Catholics believe the truth of the Bible that the Redemption of Jesus freed all believers from the original sin of Adam and its consequence, death.

On the basis of Bible truths from Genesis to Revelation, Catholics believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the first to believe, and the first to reap both benefits from her Son’s Redemption.

Mary’s freedom from original sin is called her Immaculate Conception; her immediate entrance into Heaven at the completion of her life is called her Assumption.

{1} (paradosis, tradition)

NOUN A historical tradition, especially one relating to the teachings of Jesus and his disciples; teaching based on tradition.

Chapter Table of Contents

(Link to Graphics Version of this chapter)

1 Mary: An Introduction 2 A Biblical Portrait of Mary 3 Mary: Virgin and Ever Virgin Constant faith of the Church Magisterium of the Church 4 Protestant Reformers 5 Objections to Continued Virginit 6 The Immaculate Conception of Mary 7 The Assumption of Mary 8 Private Devotions to Mary: The Rosary 9 Development of the Rosary 10 Prayers of the Rosary 11 Apparitions of Mary


Event. It means what took place in Christian history, narrated in Sacred Scripture, i.e., the feast day of the Annunciation, which celebrates the Angel Gabriel appearance to the Virgin Mary.

Dogma. The beliefs that we have learned through Church doctrine, such as the feast day of the Solemnity of the Assumption, where Mary goes to heaven in body and soul.

Geographic. A title received commemorating Mary apparitions in certain places, i.e., the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette, other apparitions : Our Lady of FatimaOur Lady of La SaletteOur Lady of Good Success. etc.

Mary Life. This is related to her live experiences as the mother of Jesus, i.e., the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, which focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord.

Symbolism. This indicates some of Mary  powerful roles as an intercessor, and the way she guides us towards Christ, i.e., Our Lady Star of the Sea feast day. Under this title, the Virgin Mary intercedes as a guide and protector of those who travel or work at sea.

Virtue. The titles that were given to the Virgin Mary in honor of her multiples merits, i.e., the Immaculate Heart of Mary, where Catholics have recourse to her inspired by in her love and perfect purity 

The message of our Blessed Mother can be summarized as a call to a stronger faith in our Lord Jesus, a deeper prayer life, a life of penance for the conversion of sinners, and the offering of her consolation and help to anyone that turns to her. Through the Virgin Mary apparitions and miraculous intercession, believers have increased their faith, their hope, their love, and they have spread the devotion to others, too.

 Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

 For himself, and his surprise at the graces it brings with it, and the transformations it causes in his soul, will soon convince him of its otherwise almost incredible efficacy as a means for the salvation of men, and for the coming of the Kingdom of Christ.

To the powerful Virgin it is given to crush the serpent head; to souls who are united to her, it is given to overcome sin. In this we must believe with an unshaken faith, with a firm hope.

God is willing to give us all. All now depends on us, and on you by whom all is received and reassured up, by whom all is transmitted,  O Mother of God! All depends on the union of men with her who receive all from God. (Gratry)

Mary must be taught to all men!


Genetically, Mary contributed half of Jesus  genetic matter by participating in His human creation and carrying His human body. She is not divine, but her Son is. Therefore, she is Theotokos, literally meaning Godbearer. We celebrate her feast day on January 1.

Holy Virgin of Virgins

In order to carry the Son of God, Mary needed to be a virgin for many reasons, which are listed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Jesus needed to never be estranged from the Father, so there would be no doubt that He came from the Father and not another human man . This keeps his divinity. Mary  virginity is also a sign of her faith and undivided gift of herself to God will . And Mary is the symbol and perfect realization of the Church, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse .

Mother of the Church

When Mary was called during the Annunciation, she gave her consent to the coming messianic kingdom, which would ultimately be the formation of the Church. She was also present with the apostles praying in the upper room when the Holy Ghost descended on them, giving birth to the new Church here on Earth. Each member of the of the Body of Christ is a part of her Son, and she wraps us in her mantle and protects us from evil.

Mother of Divine Grace

Mary received distinctive blessings so that she could be the most fitted mother for Christ, this includes her Immaculate Conception, her spiritual motherhood of all Christians, and Assumption into heaven. She is Full of Grace because she was saved before birth, whereas we are saved after we are baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Mother of Good Counsel

Mary was given this name after this painting was said to be miraculous. According to tradition, the townsfolk heard suddenly exquisite music and a mysterious cloud descended and obliterated an unfinished wall of the parish. The cloud dissipated and revealed the beautiful fresco of the Virgin

Virgin Most Merciful

Mary is full of grace, mercy and compassion, she is not only able, but willing to supply mercy to all who invoke her sweet name. Mercy is a heart for the miserable and Mary has a particular sympathy and compassion for those suffering souls in Purgatory. She presents our prayers, along with hers, to her Son to release the souls from Purgatory.

Mirror of Justice

Just as a mirror reflects your image, Mary was the reflection of Jesus, the one who came to justify us all. Justice is the perfect state of the soul, completion of all virtues. And just as a clean, flawless mirror reflects a perfect image, she reflected the virtues of Jesus perfectly.

Mary and Christ Child

Mary is full of grace, mercy and compassion, she is not only able, but willing to supply mercy to all who invoke her sweet name. Mercy is a heart for the miserable and Mary has a particular sympathy and compassion for those suffering souls in Purgatory. She presents our prayers, along with hers, to her Son to release the souls from Purgatory.

Seat of Wisdom

Mary is the Seat of Wisdom because wisdom became incarnate in her son Jesus whom she carried. She also possessed and practiced true wisdom, not the wisdom of this world..

Mystical Rose

Mary has shown us that the rose is her favorite flower, through the mysterious roses that Juan Diego picked before giving him her image on his tilma, to the garland of roses she wore during her apparitions at La Salette, to the beautiful roses she brought at Lourdes, Pontmain, Pellevoisin, Beauaing and Banneaux. It is said, for every Hail Mary we say, is like placing a rose at her feet.

Tower of David

The Tower of David was one of great strength and beauty and used for the defense of the city of Jerusalem during King Davidâ reign. Mary is a symbol of the tower because of the virtues which she presented in beauty and strength. She also defended and protected her Son, and continues to defend and protect us, His brothers and sisters.

Tower of Ivory

Ivory has long been a symbol of peace, wealth and joyous feasting. It is through the wealth of grace that we are brought into union of God through Mary.

Ark of the Covenant

She was the precious vessel that carried the promise or covenant of God to Abraham. Just as God dwelt inside the Ark of the Covenant that was carried by the Levites, just as Jesus was carried by the new Ark, the womb of Mary.

Gate of Heaven

Jesus told us that we can only get to the Father through the Son, but Jesus had to get to us through his Mother, Mary. Therefore, she is called the Gate of Heaven because she delivered Jesus to us.

Morning Star

As the morning star shines brightly before the sun rises, so Mary as Mother of Jesus, who is the Light of the World (the Sun) preceded his coming.

Conceived Without Original Sin

Mary is referred to as the Immaculate Conception because when she was conceived by her parents, she was given the grace of being saved by Christ before she was born. She was redeemed and remained sinless from the moment of her conception throughout her life.

Comforter of the Afflicted

During our time of sorrows and pain, we need to ask Mary to wrap us in her mantle just as she did to protect Jesus when she and Joseph fled to Egypt. She, in watching her Son be sacrificed before her on the Cross, knows what true sorrow, heartbreak and sadness. She understands our pain and can comfort us in our sorrow and trials.

Queen of Angels

When the mother of God is seated on her throne beside her Divine Son, it is the angels who are often envisioned as placing her crown upon her head. The name is also tied to the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, and described in Apocalypse as And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: (Apocalypse 12 : 1)

Queen of all Saints

None of the saints became saints without a devotion to the one whom Jesus came to us through. She was the one who carried and cared for our Lord throughout His life, and was a perfect example of a saintly life, here on earth and in Heaven.

Queen Assumed into Heaven

The kings of Judah could have multiple wives, but they only had one mother  the queen mother. She was the most important and influential women in the royal court. A king would always listen to his mother! Jesus bride is the Universal Church. He is the King of kings, which would make Mary, the Queen of Heaven.

Queen of the Holy Rosary

The use of prayer beads and repeated prayers has been a long time practice from the earliest of days from the Church. The Rosary as we know it is credited to a vision given to St. Dominic. In 1571, St. Pope Pius V asked the faithful to pray the rosary in preparation for battle, and ask the Lord for victory to the Christians against the Muslim. Although outnumbered, the Christians won and thanks were given to the Lord and the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.

Undoer of Knots

Eve, by her disobedience tied the human race into the knots of sin, conversely, Mary, through her obedience to the will of the Father unties these knots.

Star of the Sea

The title of Mary as Star of the Sea can be traced back to St. Jerome who referred to Mary as Stella Maris. Referring to Mary as Star of the Sea shows how she is both a guiding star and a beacon of hope for Christians. Our Lady Star of the Sea is the patroness of seafarers

Mother Most Sorrowful

The title of Mother Most Sorrowful comes from the ancient devotion to Our Lady seven sorrows. Mary Most Sorrowful is traditionally depicted with seven swords in her heart or the image of the pieta as is seen above.

Mother Thrice Admirable

Perhaps the most popular Marian devotion in Germany, Mary as Mother Thrice Admirable is the patroness of the Schonstatt community. According to Fr. Kenntenich, founder of Schonstattt, Mary is thrice admirable because she is Mother of God, the Mother of Christ, and the Mother of all human beings.

Mother of Perpetual Help

This title for Mary takes its name from the icon pictured above, purportedly painted by St. Luke whilst Mary was still living on Earth. According to tradition, Mary is said to have stated that her grace will always accompany this icon.

Refuge of Sinners

Just as Mary sheltered the Christ Child within her womb, so do does she offer a safe haven for all of us sinners who seek her intercession. Although Jesus Christ remains our only mediator and advocate with the Father, Mary is the intermediary between a sinful world and her most beloved Son.


Perhaps the simplest title is the one that shows she elicits love from anyone who considers her. She is simply, “Our Lady”. And as the rose reigns by universal consent as the lovely queen of flowers, so Mary, the Woman clothed with the sun, which is charity, shines as the fairest flower in God’s garden and is acclaimed as the “Mystical Rose.” Our Lord has told us quite plainly that love for one another is the distinctive mark of His disciples. “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.”

The many titles of Mary are either meant to point out different aspects of who she is (e.g.), Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, Immaculata); special intentions for which her intercession is sought (e.g.), Our Lady of Peace, Our Mother of Sorrows); prophetic attributes (e.g.), Tower of Ivory, Star of the Sea); or devotional piety (e.g.), Mystical Rose)

We should remember that independently from apparitions, Mary has been endowed with countless titles and avocations. They reflect in part Mary’s identity, personality and role. But even more importantly, they express our love, creative imagination and personal as well as collective needs. In other words, Mary’s titles are not only a description of who she is but also how we see and understand her person and mission. Similarly, in apparitions the human perception of the visionary plays an important role. Not least, because apparitions are so difficult to translate in categories of human visual perception. It is not rare to find seers who were unable to give a concrete and specific description of Mary, and instead spoke of brilliant light and overwhelming beauty.

Our Lady Of Loreto:

The title Our Lady of Loreto refers to the Holy House of Loreto , the house in which Mary was born, and where the Annunciation occurred, and to an ancient statue of Our Lady which is found there. Tradition says that a band of angels scooped up the little house from the Holy Land, and transported it first to Tersato, Dalmatia in 1291, then Recanat ,Italy in 1294 , and finally to Loreto, Italy where it has been for centuries. It was this flight that led to her patronage of people involved in aviation , and the long life of the house that has led to the patronage of, construction workers , etc. It is the first shrine of international renown dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and has been known as a Marian center for centuries. Popes have always held the Shrine of Loreto in special esteem, and it is under their direct authority and protection.

The Immaculate Conception

Mary was declared to have been conceived without original sin by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854. The Church makes the anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s declaration December 8th a solemnity.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Palestine area dedicated a chapel to the Blessed Virgin. The order later spread and carried dedication to the Blessed Virgin with them through the brown scapular. This order eventually became known as the Carmelites. The optional memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on July 16.

Our Lady of Fatima.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children (“The Three Seers”) near the town of Fatima, Portugal between May 13 and October 13, 1917. Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that She had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century. Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war and bloody violence, She promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if Her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.

Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Let not your heart be disturbed . . . Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.                                                     (Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego)

Queen of Heaven.

She is known as Queen of Heaven because of scripture. “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under feet, an on her head a crown of twelve stars;” (Revelation 12:1). She is often depicted in statue form, with these symbols in place. The Church celebrates this title with a memorial on August 22 each year. This tile is also honored by our meditation on the last glorious mystery of the Rosary.

Our Lady of Good Success.

There can be no doubt that traditional Catholics find over immeasurable strength and consolation in the apparitions of the Queen of Heaven over the past two centuries. In her messages at Fatima, Lourdes, Rue du Bac, and La Salette especially, we find loving and urgent pleas with strong, even apocalyptical, overtones. Many, however, may be surprised to learn that Our Lady active solicitude for the souls living in these perilous times stretches back far before any of these apparitions. About 400 years ago, as early as 1610, the Blessed Virgin appeared to a humble nun in Quito, Equador, foretelling to her that in these times the light of the Faith would be all but destroyed and that society would be almost totally corrupt. Yet, as at Fatima, Our Lady  message at Quito was also one of hope and confidence. –

Our Lady of the Rosary

She is known by this title by proclamation of Pope St. Pius V. In the 16th century, the Islamic Turks had prepared a huge fleet to sail west to attack southern Europe. The pope begged that all Christians pray the Rosary for deliverance. The Turks were defeated at the great naval battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. In gratitude that the tide of history had been changed, Pius declared that October 7 would be remembered, and Mary known by this title. The memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7 survives to this day.

Our Lady of Sorrows.

This is another title bestowed through scripture. When Mary and St. Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the temple they were met by St. Simeon who told her “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2:35). This prophesy of sorrow itself is general, while scripture has enumerated them. Over the years the number of sorrows attached to this title has solidified into seven, which traditionally are: the prophecy of Simeon, flight into Egypt, loss of Jesus in the temple, way of the cross, crucifixion, the taking down from the cross, and burial. The Church commemorates this title with a memorial on September 15.

Our Lady of La Salette.

Of all the Marian apparitions of the last two centuries, La Salette is not the best known although it must certainly be the most unique, not only for the “secrets” Our Lady told the two shepherd children, but because of the complexity involved in the series of Vatican interventions. The entire extract of the message to the children was not published until 1879, although Our Lady told Melanie that it could be publicized in 1858. Melanie published her part of the “secret” in Lecce Italy with the approval of the diocesan Bishop. The date of the original publication was Nov. 15 of that year. The apparition had occurred on September 19, 1846, the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which was at that time being celebrated on the 20th of September, not the 15th the permanent day of the Feast.

O Lady of Lourdes

Just a few years ago after the declaration of Pope Pius IX , in 1858 The Blessed Virgin identified herself by this title in a private revelation to St Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes in France. She asked the young Bernadette to drink from a spring where none existed. Bernadette scratched the surface and water began flowing which has not stopped since. The Church honors these events and remembers them with the optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11th. This is the only time of Our Lady in the universal calendar based on an apparition.

June 27: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 13th Century

The name of Our Lady of Perpetual Help derives from one of the most famous of all pictures of Mary, an icon of the fourteenth century painted on walnut wood perhaps in Crete; from where it was thought to have been stolen by an Italian It was venerated, famous for miracles in the Roman Church of Saint Matthew, in charge of the Irish Augustinians for a century, when the church was destroyed by fire. The picture was saved, however, and in 1866 it was set up in the Redemptorist Church of Saint Alphonsus, on the site of Saint Matthew. In the following year it was crowned. Since then numberless copies and reproductions of the icons have gone all over the world, some of them themselves wonder-working. Two angels in the picture, Michael and Gabriel, are showing the instruments of the passion to the Child, who clings to the Mother  hand, shaking loose a sandal. The Mother reassuringly holds tightly to the Child hand.

Star of the Sea

There is no title in all the Litany more descriptive of Mary’s loving office to men than “Morning Star.” Every star, indeed, is an image of Her. Her most popular figure is “Star of the Sea,” due no doubt to the loveliest of Her hymns the Ave Maris Stella, which goes back at least to the ninth century, and to the Alma Redemptoris Mater, of the eleventh century. Mary had much to do with stars. The Star of Bethlehem was the only lamp for the cave. “We have seen His star in the East,” said the Magi, and they found it again reflected in the eyes of Mary. There is a lovely legend about an old well in the Holy Land, called “Mary well.” The story is that once when the Holy Family was going from Bethlehem to Jerusalem they rested by that well and drank of its waters. When the Wise Men were on their way to Bethlehem, they lost the star for a while, but they found it again shining in the waters of Mary’s well.

Our Lady of the Pillar

In the year 39 AD, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint James the Great, in Zaragoza, Spain. The vision is now called Our Lady of the Pillar and is the only reported Marian apparition before her Assumption. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar was built in Zaragoza, Spain and a key piece of Roman Catholic Marian art, the statue of Our Lady of the Pillar, refers to this Apparition.


St. Louis Marie Grignion de Monfort

To go to Jesus we must go to Mary. She is our Mediatrix of intercession. To go to God our Father, we must go to Jesus, for He is our Mediator of Redemption.

Mary is a Mediatrix and Dispenser of Graces

Mediatrix of all graces is a title that Roman Catholics give to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God; it includes the understanding that she mediates the Divine Grace. In a papal encyclical of Sept. 8, 1894 Pope Leo XIII states the following:

“The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace” Pope Leo XIII, Iucunda Semper Expectatione Is Mary a Mediatrix?

What are the four dogmas of Mary?

a) Perpetual Virginity, b) Mother of God, c) Immaculate Conception d) Assumption form the basis of Mariology. However, a number of other Catholic doctrines about the Virgin Mary have been developed by reference to sacred scripture, theological reasoning and Church tradition

Is Mary a Mediatrix?

Before addressing this title, let it be confirmed at the outset that Mary mediation does not violate the words of Saint Paul regarding the mediating priesthood of Jesus Christ, when he writes:

For there is one God: and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus {1 Tim 2:5,} (Douay Rheims)

Christ is the one mediator between God and men because He is both full God and fully human. Since He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to God, He alone can redeem mankind from sin.

However, Saint Luke records that the Holy Simeon prophesied to Mary that she too would suffer with Her divine Son: And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed {Luke 2:35}.

The Fathers of the Church identify the piercing sword in Mary soul as the moment when Mary beheld her dying Son on the cross, even more, when she held his cold, lifeless body in her arms.

Her quiet and maternal presence with Christ high priestly sacrifice envelops her into the sacrifice of Christ in a unique way. Consider this, the Son of God acquired His flesh and blood from her flesh and blood. Jesus could die for us, because she gave to Him a body.

Jesus and Mary at the cross are the redemptive Adam and Eve. Eve once looked up to a tree in order to seize its fruit unlawfully. Now, Mary as the New Eve, beholds the tree on which hangs the Fruit of her womb. She does not claim rights over this Fruit, but willingly offers It to the Father. The New Adam hangs suspended on the wood for every sinner. The New Eve stands by in sorrow.

Mary mediation is based on her intimate union and consent to the Passion and Death of Christ. Moreover, we find in Scripture that Jesus comes to the world through Mary, literally. St Elizabeth and her baby St John the Baptist are filled with the Holy Spirit when St Elizabeth hears the voice of Mary. Jesus works His first miracle at Cana at Mary request. Furthermore, Mary is present at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the Apostles. Just as Mary voice was the instrument that carried grace to Saint Elizabeth, so Mary is the personal instrument by which grace flows to us from Christ. St Bernard of Clairvaux called her the aqueduct of grace.

{1} Mediatrix: In Roman Catholic Mariology, the title Mediatrix refers to the intercessory role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a mediator in the salvific redemption by her son Jesus Christ, and that he bestows graces through her.



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