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Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)

Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)

Overview
This article is about the Roman Catholic venerative views; for doctrines see Roman Catholic Mariology. For a general perspective, see Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

. For the religious order BVM, see Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known by their initials BVM, is a Roman Catholic religious order founded in the United States by Mother Mary Frances Clarke. BVM Sisters work in twenty-five U.S...

.

Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

 through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God.
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This article is about the Roman Catholic venerative views; for doctrines see Roman Catholic Mariology. For a general perspective, see Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

. For the religious order BVM, see Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known by their initials BVM, is a Roman Catholic religious order founded in the United States by Mother Mary Frances Clarke. BVM Sisters work in twenty-five U.S...

.

Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a virgin. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

 through Mary thus signifies her honour as Mother of God. From the Council of Ephesus in 431, which dogmatized this belief, to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

's Redemptoris Mater encyclical
Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater is the name for certain Roman Catholic seminaries which operate under the auspices of the Neocatechumenal Way and claim as their mission the formation of priests for the "New Evangelization". These seminaries are distributed worldwide, with nearly 1,500 seminarians currently in...

 the Virgin Mary has come to be seen, not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church.

As the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 has a central role in the life of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. The Roman Catholic veneration of her as the Blessed Virgin Mary has grown over time both in importance and manifestation, not only in prayer but in art, poetry and music. Popes have encouraged this veneration but from time to time have also taken steps to reform it. Overall, there are significantly more titles, feasts and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than any other Christians traditions.

The key role of the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic beliefs, her veneration, and the growth of Roman Catholic Mariology have not only come about by official statements made in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 but have often been driven from the ground up, by the Marian writings of the saints
Mariology of the saints
Roman Catholic Mariology is the area of theology concerned with the Blessed Virgin Mary, not only with her life, but her veneration in daily life, prayer, art, music, and architecture....

 and from the masses of believers, and at times via reported Marian apparitions
Marian apparitions
A Marian apparition is an event in which the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have supernaturally appeared to one or more people. They are often given names based on the town in which they were reported, or on the sobriquet which was given to Mary on the occasion of the apparition...

 to young and simple children on remote hilltops, which have then influenced the higher levels of the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 via sensus fidei. The Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 continues to approve of Marian apparitions on remote mountains, the latest approval being as recent as May 2008. Some apparitions such as Fatima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 have given rise to Marian Movements and Societies with millions of members, and many other Marian societies exist around the world.

From Christ to Mary in the Roman Catholic tradition



Theological basis for the veneration of Mary



The Catholic veneration of Mary is based on two aspects: the workings of God who made a virgin the Mother of God, and the biblical view of Mary as the selected maiden of the Lord who is greeted and praisedby both Elisabeth. God's work is further illuminated in the Marian dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church such as the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 and the Assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

, the factual basis of both taking place in apostolic time and are, in the Roman Catholic view, part of the apostolic tradition and divine revelation.

Mysteries of Christ and Mary


In Roman Catholic teachings, the veneration of Mary is a logical and necessary consequence of Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

: Jesus and Mary are son and mother, redeemer and redeemed. This sentiment echoed loudly through Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 on March 25, 1987 as Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 delivered his encyclical Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater is the name for certain Roman Catholic seminaries which operate under the auspices of the Neocatechumenal Way and claim as their mission the formation of priests for the "New Evangelization". These seminaries are distributed worldwide, with nearly 1,500 seminarians currently in...

and said:
At the centre of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith, stands Mary. As the loving Mother of the Redeemer, she was the first to experience it: "To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator"!


In the Roman Catholic tradition Mariology is Christology developed to its full potential. Mary and her son Jesus are very close but not identical in Catholic theology. Mary contributes to a fuller understanding of her Son, who Christ is and what He did. A Christology without Mary is erroneous in the Roman Catholic view, because it is not based on the total revelation of the Bible. Traces of this parallel interpretation go back to the early days of Christianity and numerous saints have since focused on it.

The development of this approach continued into the 20th century, e.g. in his 1946 publication Compendium Mariologiae, the respected Mariologist Gabriel Roschini
Gabriel Roschini
Gabriel M. Roschini, O.S.M. , was a Roman Catholic Italian priest and professor of Mariology, who published over 900 titles on Mariology. During the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, he worked closely with the Vatican on Marian publications....

 explained that Mary not only participated in the birth of the physical Jesus, but, with conception, she entered with him into a spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 union. The divine salvation plan, being not only material, includes a permanent spiritual unity with Christ.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) wrote:


It is necessary to go back to Mary if we want to return to that "truth about Jesus Christ," "truth about the Church" and "truth about man".


when he suggested a redirection of the whole Church towards the program of Pope John Paul II in order to ensure an authentic approach to Christology via a return to the "whole truth about Mary".

From veneration to theology


Marian venerative practices predated both the liturgical developments and theological definitions relating to the Virgin Mary. While the venerative practices date back to the 2nd century, the first theological definitions started only in the 5th century. Thereafter, venerative and devotional practices have often preceded formal theological declarations by the Magisterium
Magisterium
In the Catholic Church the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. This authority is understood to be embodied in the episcopacy, which is the aggregation of the current bishops of the Church in union with the Pope, led by the Bishop of Rome , who has authority over the bishops,...

.

The veneration of the Blessed Virgin takes place in various ways. Marian prayers and hymns usually begin with a praise of her, followed by petitions. The number of Marian titles continued to grow as of the 3rd century, and many titles existed by the 5th century, growing especially during the Middle Ages.

Early veneration in Rome



Early veneration of the Blessed Virgin is documented in Roman Catacombs, underground cemeteries, where Christians hid in times of persecution. In the catacombs paintings show the Blessed Virgin holding the Christ Child. More unusual and indicating the burial ground of Saint Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 excavations in the crypt of St Peter's Basilica discovered a very early fresco of Mary together with Saint Peter.

The Roman Priscilla catacombs depict the oldest Marian paintings from the middle of the 2nd century Mary is shown with Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 on her lap, a standing man with tunic left hand a book right hand a star over his head symbol of messiahs. Priscilla also has a depiction of the annunciation
Annunciation
The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

.

After the edict of Milan
Edict of Milan
The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire...

 in AD 313, Christians were permitted to worship openly. The veneration of Mary became public as well. In the following decades Cathedrals and churches were built for public worship. The first Marian churches in Rome date from the 5th and 6th centuries, Santa Maria in Trastevere
Santa Maria in Trastevere
The Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere is a titular minor basilica, one of the oldest churches in Rome, and perhaps the first in which mass was openly celebrated...

, Santa Maria Antiqua
Santa Maria Antiqua
The Ancient church of St Mary is a Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome, built in the 5th century in the Forum Romanum, and for long time the monumental access to the Palatine imperial palaces....

 and Santa Maria Maggiore.
However, the very earliest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary dates to the late 4th century in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 where an inscription dedicating it to the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 was found among the ruins.

This new freedom also permitted literary development of the Marian mysteries. Hippolytus of Rome being early example. Saint Ambrose, who lived in Rome before going to Milan as its bishop, venerated Mary as example of Christian life, and is credited with starting a Marian cult of virginity in the 4th century.

Liturgical aspects


The first Christians did not celebrate the liturgy and liturgical feast in the same way as later Christians; the feasts of Easter and Christmas were not known, although the Eucharist was celebrated. Liturgical venerations of the saints are believed to have originated in the 2nd century and in the first three centuries, the emphasis was on the veneration of martyrs,
as a continuation of the yearly celebrations of their death, e.g. as noted in the early Christian text on the Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp
The Martyrdom of Polycarp is one of the works of the Apostolic Fathers, and as such is one of the very few eyewitness writings from the actual age of the persecutions. The work details Polycarp's death at the age of 86 years old, at the hands of the Romans, in the 2nd century AD...

. However, in the early part of the 3rd century, Hippolytus of Rome recorded the first liturgical reference to the Virgin Mary, as part of the ordination rite of a bishop. Marian feasts appeared in the 4th century, and the feast of the "Memory of Mary, Mother of God" was celebrated on August 15 in Jerusalem by the year 350.

Growth of Marian culture



From the middle of the 11th century onwards, more and more churches, including many of Europe's greatest cathedrals (e.g. Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris , also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of...

 and Notre-Dame de Bayeux among others), were dedicated to Mary. Marian pilgrimage developed large popular followings and prayers such as the Regina Coeli
Regina Coeli
The Regina Caeli or Regina Coeli , an ancient Latin Marian Hymn of the Christian Church, is one of the four seasonal Marian antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary, prescribed to be sung or recited in the Liturgy of the Hours at the conclusion of the last of the hours to be prayed in common that day,...

 were composed. At the height of the pilgrimage movement in the 11th and 12th centuries, hundreds of people were traveling almost constantly from one Marian shrine to the next.

In the 12th century, the book Speculum Virginum
Speculum Virginum
Speculum Virginum is a 12th century document, first published in German.Speculum Virginum provides one of the earliest comprehensive theologies of cloistered religious life. The document mainly consists of a hypothetical dialogue between Peregrinus, a male religious teacher, and Theodora, a female...

 (mirror of Virgins in Latin) provided one of the earliest justifications of cloistered religious life, as it sought to strengthen the resolve of women who contemplated a dedicated religious life, and encouraged them to follow the example of the life of the Virgin Mary. By the 14th century, Mary had become greatly popular as a compassionate intercessor and protector of humanity and during the great plagues such as the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

, her help was sought against the just judgment of God. The Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 witnessed a dramatic growth in venerative Marian art.

By the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 had introduced a tide against Marian venerations in Europe. However, at the same time new Marian devotions were starting in South America based on Saint Juan Diego's 1531 reported vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 which added almost 8 million people to the ranks of Catholics. The ensuing Marian pilgrimages have continued to date and the Marian Basilica on Tepeyac Hill remains the most visited Catholic shrine in the world. In the 17th and 18th centuries writings by the saints, coupled with papal encouragements, increased the growth of Marian devotions, and gave rise to the definition and declaration of new Marian doctrines.

Marian culture continues to be developed within the Catholic Church. For instance, in 1974, after 4 years of preparation, Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 issued the Apostolic Letter Marialis Cultus
Marialis Cultus
Marialis Cultus is the title of a Mariological Apostolic Letter by Pope Paul VI issued on February 2, 1974.The letter is subtitled: "For the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary". The document focuses on Marian devotions and clarifies the way the Roman Catholic...

. In this document, (which was subtitled For the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary) Paul VI not only discussed the history of Marian devotions, but overviewed their rationale and provided suggestions for their future direction, emphasising their theological and pastoral value.

A multitude of views and perspectives


Throughout the centuries, Catholics have viewed the Virgin Mary from a multitude of perspectives, at times derived from specific Marian attributes ranging from queenship to humility, and at times based on cultural preferences of events taking place at specific points in history.

An example of the cultural adaptation of perspective include the view of the Virgin Mary as a mother with humility (rather than a heavenly queen) as the Franciscans began to preach in China, and its similarity to local Chinese motherly and merciful figure of Kuanyin, which was much admired in south China. Another example is the Saint Juan Diego's account of the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531 as a tanned Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 princess who spoke in his local Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 language. The clothing of the Virgin of Guadalupe image has been identified as that of an Aztec princess.

Other views such as the Virgin Mary as a "miracle worker" have existed for centuries and are still held by many Catholics today. Instances include the Black Madonna of Częstochowa
Black Madonna of Czestochowa
The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is a revered icon of the Virgin Mary housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland.-The icon:The origins of the icon and the date of its composition are still hotly contested among scholars...

 which continues to be venerated today as the Patron of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 which receives millions of pilgrims per year. However, the Vatican has generally been reluctant to approve of modern miracles, unless they have been subject to extensive analysis and scrunity.

Development of Marian doctrines


Throughout the centuries, the growth of Marian devotional and venerative practices has been parallelled by the definition of specific Marian doctrines by the Magisterium
Magisterium
In the Catholic Church the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. This authority is understood to be embodied in the episcopacy, which is the aggregation of the current bishops of the Church in union with the Pope, led by the Bishop of Rome , who has authority over the bishops,...

.

Apart from the title of Mother of God which holds Mary as Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

, two specific doctrines relate to the birth of Jesus and the virginity of Mary. These are distinct doctrines which were defined and declared as dogmas at different times.
Since the 4th century, Roman Catholics have believed in the Virgin birth of Jesus, namely that Jesus was miraculously conceived through the action of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

 while Mary remained a virgin. This was decided at the First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

 in 325. Going beyond the virgin birth of Jesus, the doctrine of Perpetual virginity of Mary
Perpetual virginity of Mary
The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, expresses the Virgin Mary's "real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to Jesus the Son of God made Man"...

 holds that before giving birth to Jesus and even thereafter Mary remained a virgin all her life. This dates back to the Council of Constantinople
Second Council of Constantinople
The Second Council of Constantinople is recognized as the Fifth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, and a number of other Western Christian groups. It was held from May 5 to June 2, 553, having been called by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian...

 in 533.

Two separate doctrines address the Virgin Mary's conception and death. The doctrine of Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

 states that Mary was conceived without original sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

, namely that she was filled with grace from the very moment of her conception in her mother's womb. The Immaculate Conception was proclaimed a dogma Ex Cathedra
Ex Cathedra
Ex Cathedra is a British choir and early music ensemble based in Birmingham in the West Midlands, England. It performs choral music spanning the 15th to 21st centuries, and regularly commissions new works....

by Pope Pius IX in 1854, as the first exercise of papal infallibility. The dogma of the Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 states that she was assumed into Heaven body and soul. This was also defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

Lumen Gentium
Lumen Gentium
Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. This dogmatic constitution was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,151 to 5...

, the Dogmatic Constitution derived from Vatican II
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 in 1964, declared that the Lord had consecrated Mary as "Queen of the universe", reflecting the contemporary expansion of knowledge regarding outer space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

.

Mary's protection and intercession


Roman Catholic views of the Virgin Mary place emphasis on her roles as a mediatrix of men to God, refuge and advocate of sinners, protector from dangers and most powerful intercessor with her Son, Jesus, who is God. These views are expressed in prayers and artistic depictions, theology, popular and devotional writings, as well as in the use of Marian Sacramentals
Sacramentals
Sacramentals are material objects, things or actions set apart or blessed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Churches, and Old Catholic Churches to manifest the respect due to the Sacraments, and so to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these...

 and images.

The earliest known prayer to Mary, the Sub tuum praesidium
Sub tuum praesidium
Beneath thy protection is the oldest extant hymn to the Theotokos .-History:The earliest text of this hymn was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy of the third century. It is written in Greek and dates to approximately 250. It is used in the Coptic liturgy to this day, as well as in the...

, (Latin for under your protection) begins with the words: "Beneath your compassion, we take refuge." The artistic depictions of the Virgin of Mercy
Virgin of Mercy
The Virgin of Mercy is a subject in Catholic art, showing a group of people sheltering for protection under the outspread cloak of the Virgin Mary. It was especially popular in Italy from the 13th to 16th centuries, often as a specialised form of votive portrait, and is also found in other...

 portray the role of Mary as the protector of Christians, as she shelters them under her mantle. The Virgin of Mercy depictions sometimes include arrows raining from above, with the Virgin's cloak protecting the people.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 (item 971) echoes this protective sentiment, stating that:


From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honoured with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs.


Catholics have continued to seek the protection of Mary as the Mother of Sorrows (who understands and shows compassion) and relied on her intercession as the Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians, mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in the Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches, to whom the title is a consequence of the Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, where the Virgin...

 since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. Building on that sentiment, popes have entrusted specific causes to the protection of the Virgin Mary. For instance, pope Benedict XV entrusted the protection of the world through the intercession of Mary Queen of Peace during the first world war
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 .


For many centuries, Catholics have used Marian Sacramentals. Since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 the wearing of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
“Our Lady of Mount Carmel″ is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order, and the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel , is the habit of that Order...

 (Brown Scapular) by Catholics has been a sign of their seeking her protection. Pope John Paul II wore a Brown Scapular since childhood and as he momentarily gained consciousness when he was shot on 13 May 1981 he asked to keep his scapular during the operation to remove the bullet.

The depictions of Our Lady of Navigators
Our Lady of Navigators
Our Lady of Navigators is a devotional title given to the Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics. It is a widespread devotion in South America, specially Brazil, where the Feast of Our Lady of Navigators is celebrated on February 2 as an official holiday...

 arose from the prayers and devotions of Portuguese navigators, who saw the Virgin Mary as their protector during storms and other hazards. Prayers to Our Lady of Navigators are well known in South America, specially Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, where its February 2 feast is an official holiday. The Virgin of the Navigators
The Virgin of the Navigators
The Virgin of the Navigators is a painting by Spanish artist Alejo Fernández, created as the central panel of an altarpiece for the chapel of the Casa de Contratación building in Seville, southern Spain...

 (a variant of the Virgin of Mercy
Virgin of Mercy
The Virgin of Mercy is a subject in Catholic art, showing a group of people sheltering for protection under the outspread cloak of the Virgin Mary. It was especially popular in Italy from the 13th to 16th centuries, often as a specialised form of votive portrait, and is also found in other...

), depicting ships under her mantle, is the earliest known painting whose subject is the discovery of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

.

Both Miguel Hidalgo
Miguel Hidalgo
Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor , more commonly known as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla or simply Miguel Hidalgo, was a Mexican priest and a leader of the Mexican War of Independence.In 1810 Hidalgo led a group of peasants in a revolt against the dominant...

 and Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

 flew flags of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 as their protector, and Zapata's men wore the Guadalupan image around their necks and on their sombrero
Sombrero
Sombrero in English refers to a type of wide-brimmed hat originating in Mexico. In Spanish, however, it is the generic word for "hat", which originates from "sombra", meaning "shade"....

s. In 1979 ceremony Pope John Paul II placed Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 under the protection of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy
Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy
The Royal, Celestial and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives also known as Our Lady of Ransom is a Roman Catholic religious order established in 1218 by St...

, also known as the order of Our Lady of Ransom or Order of Captives began in the 13th century in the Kingdom of Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

 (Spain) to ransom impoverished captive Christians (slaves) held in Muslim hands. The order now focuses on the role of the Virgin Mary as the protector of captives and prisoners. The Sodality of Our Lady
Sodality of Our Lady
The Sodality of Our Lady The Sodality of Our Lady The Sodality of Our Lady (also known as the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in Latin, Congregationes seu sodalitates B. Mariæ Virginis) is a Roman Catholic Marian Society founded in 1563 by young Belgian Jesuit, Jean Leunis (or Jan), at the...

 founded in 1563 was also placed under her protection.

The popular Catholic prayer, the Memorare
Memorare
Memorare is a Roman Catholic prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Memorare, from the Latin "Remember", is frequently misattributed to the 12th century Cistercian monk Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, apparently due to confusion with its 17th century popularizer, Father Claude Bernard, who stated that he...

 relates protection with the intercession of the Virgin Mary, stating:


"Never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help or sought Thy intercession, was left unaided."


Saint Louis de Montfort
Louis de Montfort
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was canonized in 1947. He was a French priest and known in his time as a preacher and author, whose books, still widely read, have influenced a number of popes....

 taught that God appointed Mary as "the dispenser of grace", and to receive grace from God, one can receive it through the hands of the Blessed Virgin, as a child receives from a mother. This concept of Mary as "the mother to us in the order of grace" who can intercede for "the gift of eternal salvation" was restated in the 1960s in Lumen Gentium
Lumen Gentium
Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. This dogmatic constitution was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,151 to 5...

, one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

.

Consecration and entrustment to Mary




For centuries, Marian devotions among Roman Catholics have included many examples of personal or collective acts of consecration
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 and entrustment to the Virgin Mary; the Latin terms oblatio, servitus, commendatio and dedicatio were used in this context.

Consecration
Consecration and entrustment to Mary
For centuries, Marian devotions among Roman Catholics have included many examples of personal or collective acts of consecration and entrustment to the Virgin Mary, with the Latin terms oblatio, servitus, commendatio and dedicatio having been used in this context.Consecration is an act by which a...

 is an act by which a person is dedicated to a sacred service, or an act which separates an object, location or region from a common and profane mode to one for sacred use. Consecration to the Virgin Mary has been practiced by Catholics for many centuries, at the personal, societal and papal levels, where individuals, societies, regions and the whole world have been consecrated to her.

The Catholic Church makes it clear that the use of the term "consecration" with regard to Mary is only applied in the "broad and non-technical sense" and is different from "those self-offerings which have God as their object, and which are characterised by totality and perpetuity, which are guaranteed by the Church's intervention and have as their basis the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation." Further, "the faithful should be carefully instructed about the practice of consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary...it is, in reality, only analogously a 'consecration to God,' and should be expressed in a correct liturgical manner: to the Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit, imploring the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we entrust ourselves completely, so as to keep our baptismal commitments and live as her children. The act of consecration [to Mary] should take place outside of the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, since it is a devotional act which cannot be assimilated to the Liturgy. It should also be borne in mind that the act of consecration to Mary differs substantially from other forms of liturgical consecration."

Individuals declaring their "entrustment" to Mary make a personal act to show their devotion and dedication to Mary as the Mother of God, who, though holy, is not herself a divine being. Such individuals seek her intercession before God through her son Jesus Christ, for she has no divine power. Devotions to Mary are also commonly directed to Mary herself, to the Immaculate Heart
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

, and/or to the Immaculata; true consecration is only to God.

Consecration to the Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics has taken place from three perspectives, namely personal, societal and regional and with three forms: to the Virgin herself as a whole, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Heart of Mary
The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

 and to the Immaculata. In Catholic teachings, consecration to Mary does not diminish or substitute the love of God, but enhances it, for all consecration is ultimately made to God. Pope Leo XIII, specially encouraged everyone to make acts of consecration to the Virgin Mary based on the methods of Saint Louis de Montfort
Louis de Montfort
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was canonized in 1947. He was a French priest and known in his time as a preacher and author, whose books, still widely read, have influenced a number of popes....

 (who was beatified by Leo), and granted indulgences for such consecrations. Pope Benedict XV also provided strong support for Marian consecration. Pope John Paul II's motto Totus Tuus
Totus Tuus
Totus Tuus was Pope John Paul II's apostolic motto. It is a Latin phrase meaning "totally yours" and expressed his personal Consecration to Mary based on the spiritual approach of Saint Louis de Montfort and the Mariology in his works...

 (i.e. totally yours) reflected his personal consecration to Mary.

In the 18th century, Saint Louis Marie de Montfort
Louis de Montfort
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was canonized in 1947. He was a French priest and known in his time as a preacher and author, whose books, still widely read, have influenced a number of popes....

 became a tireless advocate of "total consecration to Jesus through Mary." In True Devotion
True Devotion
"True Devotion" is a pop ballad, song performed by British singer Samantha Fox and written by Lol Mason and Mark Shreeve. It was produced by Steve Lovell and Steve Power...

, St. Louis stated, "...the most perfect consecration to Jesus Christ is nothing else than a perfect and entire consecration of ourselves to the Blessed Virgin and this is the devotion I teach; or, in other words, a perfect renewal of the vows and promises of holy Baptism."

The 1858 messages of Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

 in which the Virgin Mary was called the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

built significant sensus fidelium
Sensus fidelium
The concept of sensus fidelium in Roman Catholic teachings can be implicitly traced back to the early Fathers of the Church...

among Catholics at large, and consecrations to the Immaculata began to take form. Early in the 20th century, the Saint Maximilian Kolbe
Maximilian Kolbe
Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe OFM Conv was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.He was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and...

, called the Apostle of Consecration to Mary, began a vigorous program of promoting consecration to the Immaculata and published Miles Immaculatae which reached a circulation of 750,000 copies a month.

In modern times, Pope John Paul II clarified consecration to Mary in his 1987 encyclical, Mother of the Redeemer
Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater is the name for certain Roman Catholic seminaries which operate under the auspices of the Neocatechumenal Way and claim as their mission the formation of priests for the "New Evangelization". These seminaries are distributed worldwide, with nearly 1,500 seminarians currently in...

, in which he stated, "Mary's motherhood...is a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual." John Paul II suggested Christians could best "entrust" themselves to Mary by becoming her spiritual sons and daughters.

Theologian Garrigou-Lagrange
Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. was a Catholic theologian and, among Thomists of the scholastic tradition, is generally thought to be the greatest Catholic Thomist of the 20th century. Outside the ranks of Thomists of that sort, his reputation is somewhat more mixed. He taught at the...

 designated personal consecration to Mary as the highest level among Marian devotions.
His student, Pope John Paul II made Marian devotions and consecrations a hallmark of his papacy, often referring to , and heavily relying on the spirituality of Saint Louis de Montfort
Louis de Montfort
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was canonized in 1947. He was a French priest and known in his time as a preacher and author, whose books, still widely read, have influenced a number of popes....

. He also consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Mary's role in salvation and redemption


One of the components of the Catholic veneration of Mary is the focus on her participation in the processes of salvation and redemption. Entire books have been devoted to the exploration of the Catholic perspectives on Mary's role in salvation and redemption.

The underlying theological issues have been discussed as far back as St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 in the 13th century and were intertwined with the discussions of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

. One of the first scholars to offer theological foundations in this area was the Franciscan Duns Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

 who developed the notion that Mary was preserved from sin by the redemptive virtue of Jesus. Devotions to and the veneration of the Virgin Mary continued to spread, as she came to be seen as the helpful mother of Christians, and by the 15th century these practices had oriented all the Catholic devotions.

As of the 17th century, a common thread in the writings of saints and theologians alike is the role of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary as joint symbols of redemption and coredemption. Saint Veronica Giuliani
Veronica Giuliani
Saint Veronica Giuliani, O.S.C. Cap., was an Italian Capuchin nun and mystic. She was canonized by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.-Early life:...

 expressed how Mary's suffering in Calvary united her heart with that of Jesus as she suffered each torment along with him. The joint devotion to the hearts was formalised by Saint Jean Eudes who organised the scriptural and theological foundations and developed its liturgical themes. John Eudes wrote that: "The Virgin Mary began to cooperate in the plan of salvation, from the moment she gave her consent to the Incarnation of the Son of God". The venerative aspects of the united nature of the two hearts continued through the centuries and in 1985 Pope John Paul II coined the term Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary refers to the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary...

, and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal
Fátima, Portugal
Fátima is a city in Portugal famous for the Marian apparitions, recognized by the Catholic Church, that took place there in 1917. The town itself has a population of 7,756 and is located in the municipality of Ourém, in the Centro Region and Médio Tejo Subregion...

.

By the 18th century, the continued growth of Marian veneration had emphasised the role of the Virgin Mary in salvation. In his classic book The Glories of Mary
The Glories of Mary
The Glories of Mary is a classic book in the field of Roman Catholic Mariology, written during the 18th century by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church....

, Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Alphonsus Liguori
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, scholastic philosopher and theologian, and founder of the Redemptorists, an influential religious congregation...

 explained how God gave Mary to mankind as the "Gate of Heaven", and he quoted Saint Bonaventure, namely "No one can enter Heaven unless by Mary, as though through a door." And he wrote:

Thou art the gate through which all find Jesus; through thee I also hope to find Him."


Saint Louis de Montfort
Louis de Montfort
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was canonized in 1947. He was a French priest and known in his time as a preacher and author, whose books, still widely read, have influenced a number of popes....

, whose writings later influenced popes, was an ardent supporter of the Virgin Mary's role in salvation. The Catholic focus on the role of Mary in salvation and redemption continued into the 20th century, e.g. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

's 1987 encyclical Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater
Redemptoris Mater is the name for certain Roman Catholic seminaries which operate under the auspices of the Neocatechumenal Way and claim as their mission the formation of priests for the "New Evangelization". These seminaries are distributed worldwide, with nearly 1,500 seminarians currently in...

began with the sentence: "The Mother of the Redeemer has a precise place in the plan of salvation."

Catholic saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary


The Roman Catholic perspective on the Virgin Mary has not simply been shaped by the theological studies by a few scholars, but also by devotional concepts embraced by millions of Catholics who venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. These devotions have relied on the writings of numerous saints throughout history who have attested to the central role of Mary in God's plan of salvation.

Early saints included Saint Irenaeus of Lyons in the 2nd century who was perhaps the earliest of the Church Fathers to write systematically about the Virgin Mary, and he set out a forthright account of her role in the economy of salvation. Saint Ambrose of Milan (339–397) based the veneration of Mary not only on her virginity but also on her extraordinary courage.

In the Middle Ages, Saint Bernhard of Clairvaux, a Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church is a title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.-Catholic Church:In the Catholic Church, this name is given to a saint from whose...

, was a fervent supporter of Mary. He highlighted her virginity and humility as the basis for her veneration. A particularly significant contribution to Mariology came from John Duns Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

 who in the 13th century defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

. Scotus identified the key theological foundations which led to the declaration of the dogma of Immaculate Conception centuries later.

In the 16th century, Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish knight from a Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus and was its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation...

 promulgated an ardent love to the Virgin Mary. Ignatius admired images of the Virgin Mary and before his death his death instructed the Jesuits to preserve Madonna della Strada
Madonna Della Strada
Madonna Della Strada or Santa Maria Della Strada — the Italian for Our Lady of the Way, or Our Lady of the Road — is the name of a late 15th or 16th century image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, enshrined at the Church of the Gesu in Rome, motherchurch of the Society of Jesus religious...

, was later enshrined in the Church of the Gesu
Church of the Gesu
The Church of the Gesù is the mother church of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order also known as the Jesuits. Officially named , its facade is "the first truly baroque façade", introducing the baroque style into architecture ,. The church served as model for innumerable Jesuit...

 in Rome. Filippo Neri, a contemporary of Ignatius, called Mary "mother and advocate" and is credited with the innovation of daily Marian devotions during the month of May. Saint Peter Canisius is credited with adding the Hail Mary to his catechism of 1555.

In the 18th century, Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Alphonsus Liguori
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, scholastic philosopher and theologian, and founder of the Redemptorists, an influential religious congregation...

 wrote the classic book The Glories of Mary
The Glories of Mary
The Glories of Mary is a classic book in the field of Roman Catholic Mariology, written during the 18th century by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church....

in which he called Mary the "Gate of Heaven". Saint Louis de Montfort
Louis de Montfort
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort was canonized in 1947. He was a French priest and known in his time as a preacher and author, whose books, still widely read, have influenced a number of popes....

's book True Devotion to Mary
True Devotion to Mary
True Devotion to Mary is a book by Saint Louis de Montfort on the Roman Catholic theme of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.The book is published by Montfort Publications , Baronius Press, TAN Publishing and Aventine Press but is also available online...

synthesized many of the earlier saints' writings and teachings on Mary. His approach of "total consecration to Jesus Christ through Mary" had a strong impact on Marian devotion both in popular piety and in the spirituality of religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

s. One of his well-known followers was Pope John Paul II who said that reading Montfort's book was a "decisive turning point" in his life.

Mary in Roman Catholic liturgy


The Roman Catholic liturgy is one of the most important elements of Marian devotions
Marian devotions
A Marian devotion is a gift of oneself, or one's activities to the Virgin Mary. It is a willingness and desire to dedicate oneself to, or venerate her; either in terms of prayers or in terms of a set of pious acts...

. Marian feasts are superior to the feast days of the saints. The liturgical texts of the Marian feast days all link Mary to Jesus Christ and keep Marian awareness awake within the Church.

Catholic Marian feast days


The earliest Christian feasts that relate to Mary grew out of the cycle of feasts that celebrated the Nativity of Jesus
Nativity of Jesus
The Nativity of Jesus, or simply The Nativity, refers to the accounts of the birth of Jesus in two of the Canonical gospels and in various apocryphal texts....

. By the 7th century a feast dedicated to Mary was celebrated just before Christmas in the Churches of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 and Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 in Italy. Over time, the number of feasts (and the associated Titles of Mary
Titles of Mary
Mary is known by many titles , epithets , invocations and other names ....

) and the venerative practices that accompany them increased and today Roman Catholics have more Marian feasts, titles and venerative practices than any other Christians. Marian feasts have continued to be developed in the Catholic Church, e.g. the feast of the Queenship of Mary was declared in the 1954 in the papal encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam
Ad Caeli Reginam
Ad caeli reginam is an encyclical of Pope Pius XII, given at Rome, from St. Peter's, on the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the eleventh day of October, 1954, in the sixteenth year of his Pontificate. The encyclical is an important element of the Mariology of Pope Pius XII...

by pope Pius XII.
Some Marian feasts relate to specific events, e.g. the Feast of Our Lady of Victory (later renamed Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary) was based on the 1571 victory of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 against the Muslims in the Battle of Lepanto
Battle of Lepanto (1571)
The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece...

. It is now celebrated on the 7th of October. The month of October was then established as the "month of the Rosary" by Pope Leo XIII, who recommended daily Rosary devotions in October.

During the month of May, May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary
May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary refers to special Marian devotions held in the Catholic Church during the month of May honoring the Virgin Mary as "the Queen of May". These services may take place inside or outside...

 take place in many Catholic regions. These include the singing of Marian anthems, readings from scriptures, a sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

, and or presentation by local choirs. The month is also associated with reflection on the Virgin Mary's role as the ideal disciple who sheds light on the Christian way of life, and theologian Karl Rahner
Karl Rahner
Karl Rahner, SJ was a German Jesuit and theologian who, alongside Bernard Lonergan and Hans Urs von Balthasar, is considered one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century...

 stated:


When we are involved in our May Devotions, we are engaged in a Christian understanding of the human situation.


The Roman Catholic Church celebrates three Marian solemnities
Solemnity
A Solemnity of the Roman Catholic Church is a principal holy day in the liturgical calendar, usually commemorating an event in the life of Jesus, his mother Mary, or other important saints. The observance begins with the vigil on the evening before the actual date of the feast...

 which are also holy days of obligation during the liturgical year (in liturgical order):
  • December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception
    Immaculate Conception
    The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

  • January 1 Mary, Mother of God
    Theotokos
    Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

  • August 15 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    Assumption of Mary
    According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...


Among the other prominent Marian feast days and memorials in the General Roman Calendar of the Catholic Church are:
  • December 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe
    Our Lady of Guadalupe
    Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

  • February 11 Our Lady of Lourdes
    Our Lady of Lourdes
    Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

  • May 13 Our Lady of Fátima
    Our Lady of Fatima
    Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

  • May 31 Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary
    Immaculate Heart of Mary
    The Immaculate Heart of Mary originally The Sacred Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God, her maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and her compassionate love for...

     (Saturday after Sacred Heart of Jesus)
  • August 22 Queenship of Mary
  • September 8 Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary


A large number of titles to honour Mary or ask for her intercession are used by Roman Catholics. While Mater Dei (i.e. "Mother of God" as confirmed by the First Council of Ephesus, 431) is common in Latin, a large number of other titles have been used by Roman Catholics – far more than any other Christians.

Titles used to refer to the Virgin Mary throughout history, at times reflect the changing attitudes towards her. Domina
Dominus (title)
Dominus is the Latin word for master or owner. As a title of sovereignty the term under the Roman Republic had all the associations of the Greek Tyrannos; refused during the early principate, it finally became an official title of the Roman Emperors under Diocletian...

(lady), Regina (queen) and Stella Maris
Our Lady, Star of the Sea
Our Lady, Star of the Sea is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title Stella Maris, first reliably used with relation to the Virgin Mary in the ninth century...

(star of the sea) are some of the early titles of Mary, of which Regina is the earliest. Domina and Sella Maris are found in Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 who perhaps originated the etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 of Mary as Stella Maris in the 5th century. While the early emphasis in Stella Maris was on Mary as the Star that bore Christ, by the 9th century, the attention had focused on Mary herself, as indicated in the hymn Ave Maris Stella
Ave Maris Stella
Ave Maris Stella is a plainsong Vespers hymn to Mary. It is of uncertain origin and can be dated back at least as far as the eighth century. It was especially popular in the Middle Ages and has been used by many composers as the basis of other compositions...

. By the 11th century, Mary herself had emerged as the star that acted as a guiding light. By the 13th century, as Mariology
Mariology
Roman Catholic Mariology is theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ as developed by the Catholic Church. Roman Catholic teachings on the subject have been based on the belief that "The Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of God, is believed to hold a certain...

 was growing, Saint Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

 had composed Mary Our Queen
Mary Our Queen
Mary Our Queen is a Roman Catholic Marian prayer.It is attributed to Saint Anthony of Padua in the 13th century.-Words of the prayer:Mary Our Queen is a Roman Catholic Marian prayer.It is attributed to Saint Anthony of Padua in the 13th century....

. Titles continue to be interpreted, e.g. Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians, mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in the Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches, to whom the title is a consequence of the Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, where the Virgin...

 was further elaborated in 1954 in the papal encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam
Ad Caeli Reginam
Ad caeli reginam is an encyclical of Pope Pius XII, given at Rome, from St. Peter's, on the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the eleventh day of October, 1954, in the sixteenth year of his Pontificate. The encyclical is an important element of the Mariology of Pope Pius XII...

 by pope Pius XII.

Among the most prominent Roman Catholic Marian titles are:
  • Mary, Mother of God
  • Mary, the Immaculate Conception
    Immaculate Conception
    The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

  • Mary, Queen of Heaven
  • Queen of the Angels
  • Queen of Peace
  • Star of the Sea
    Our Lady, Star of the Sea
    Our Lady, Star of the Sea is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title Stella Maris, first reliably used with relation to the Virgin Mary in the ninth century...

     (Stella Maris)
  • Mother of All Sorrows
    Our Lady of Sorrows
    Our Lady of Sorrows , the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows , and Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life...


Marian Music


One of the earliest Marian compositions is the popular Salve Regina
Salve Regina
The "Salve Regina", also known as the Hail Holy Queen, is a Marian hymn and one of four Marian antiphons sung at different seasons within the Christian liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. The Salve Regina is traditionally sung at Compline in the time from the Saturday before Trinity...

 in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 from a Benedictine monk, which exists in several Gregorian versions. The liturgy of the hour includes several offices to be sung. At the close of the Office, one of four Marian antiphons is sung. These songs, Alma Redemptoris Mater
Alma Redemptoris Mater
Alma Redemptoris Mater is a Marian hymn and one of four liturgical Marian antiphons , and sung at the end of the office of Compline. Hermannus Contractus is said to have authored the hymn based on the writings of Ss. Fulgentius, Epiphanius, and Irenaeus of Lyon...

 Ave Regina caelorum, Regina caeli, and Salve Regina
Salve Regina
The "Salve Regina", also known as the Hail Holy Queen, is a Marian hymn and one of four Marian antiphons sung at different seasons within the Christian liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. The Salve Regina is traditionally sung at Compline in the time from the Saturday before Trinity...

, have been described as "among the most beautiful creations of the late Middle Ages."

It is difficult to trace the beginning of non-Gregorian
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

 Marian liturgical music. In 1277 Pope Nicholas III
Pope Nicholas III
Pope Nicholas III , born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, Pope from November 25, 1277 to his death in 1280, was a Roman nobleman who had served under eight Popes, been made cardinal-deacon of St...

 prescribed rules for liturgy in Roman churches. In the Graduale Romanum, Kyriale
Kyriale
The Kyriale is a collection of Gregorian chant settings for the Ordinary of the Mass. It contains eighteen Masses , six Credos, and several ad libitum chants...

 IX and X are both for Marian feasts. Over the centuries, Marian master pieces have continued to appear, e.g. Mozart's Coronation Mass. The list of compositions by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina includes numerous Marian masses: Salve Regina, Alma Redemptoris, Assumpta est Maria, Regina coeli, de beata Virgine, Ave Regina coelorum, Descendit Angelus Domini, and O Virgo simul et Mater. Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 wrote several Marian compositions
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 including two famous Marian Masses.

Marian prayers, poems and hymns

See also Hymns to Mary
Hymns to Mary
Marian Hymns are Christian songs focused on the Virgin Mary. They are used in both devotional and liturgical services, particularly by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. They are often used in the month of May devotions. Some have also been adopted as Christmas...

 and Marian litanies


Throughout the centuries the veneration of the Virgin Mary has given rise to a number of poems and hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s, as well as prayers. Author Emily Shapcote lists 150 Marian poems and hymns in her book Mary the Perfect Woman. Such prayers and poems go as far back as the 3rd century, but enjoyed a rapid growth during the 11th and 12th centuries. Some of the best poetry written in honor of the Blessed virgin comes from this period of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 (item 2679) emphasizes the importance of Marian prayers and states:

Mary is the perfect prayer, a figure of the Church.... We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.


The earliest known Marian prayer is the Sub tuum praesidium
Sub tuum praesidium
Beneath thy protection is the oldest extant hymn to the Theotokos .-History:The earliest text of this hymn was found in a Coptic Orthodox Christmas liturgy of the third century. It is written in Greek and dates to approximately 250. It is used in the Coptic liturgy to this day, as well as in the...

, or Beneath Thy Protection, a text for which was rediscovered in 1917 on a papyrus in Egypt dated to c. 250. The papyrus contains the prayer in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and is the earliest known reference to the title Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 (confirmed by the Council of Ephesus in 431):


Beneath your compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God: do not despise our petitions in time of trouble: but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one.


While the Regina Coelorum
Ave Regina Coelorum
Ave Regina Caelorum is one of four Marian antiphons, with following versicles and prayers, traditionally said or sung after each of the canonical hours of the Liturgy of the Hours. The prayer is used especially after Compline, the final canonical hour of prayer before going to sleep. It is said...

 goes back to the 4th century, the Regina Coeli
Regina Coeli
The Regina Caeli or Regina Coeli , an ancient Latin Marian Hymn of the Christian Church, is one of the four seasonal Marian antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary, prescribed to be sung or recited in the Liturgy of the Hours at the conclusion of the last of the hours to be prayed in common that day,...

 was composed towards the end of the 11th century. The first part of the Hail Mary, based on the salutation of angle Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 in the Visitation was introduced in the 11tth century, although its current form can be traced to the 16th century.

During the 11th century, as the number of monasteries grew, so did Marian prayers.
In this period the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary was introduced and was modeled after the Divine office
Divine Office
Divine Office may refer to:* Liturgy of the Hours, the recitation of certain Christian prayers at fixed hours according to the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church* Canonical hours, the recitation of such prayers in Christianity more generally...

 but was much shorter. It was adopted not only by monks but by pious people who could read. And the growth of the Tertiary orders helped spread its use. During the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

, Pope Urban II ordered it to be said for the success of the Christians. In this period, Hermannus Contractus
Hermannus Contractus
Hermann of Reichenau , also called Hermannus Contractus or Hermannus Augiensis or Herman the Cripple, was an 11th century scholar, composer, music theorist, mathematician, and astronomer. He composed the Marian prayer Alma Redemptoris Mater...

 (Herman the Cripple) at the abbey of Reichenau
Reichenau Island
Reichenau Island lies in Lake Constance in southern Germany, at approximately . It lies between Gnadensee and Untersee, two parts of Lake Constance, almost due west of the city of Konstanz. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that was completed in 1838...

 composed the Alma Redemptoris Mater
Alma Redemptoris Mater
Alma Redemptoris Mater is a Marian hymn and one of four liturgical Marian antiphons , and sung at the end of the office of Compline. Hermannus Contractus is said to have authored the hymn based on the writings of Ss. Fulgentius, Epiphanius, and Irenaeus of Lyon...

 and hymns to Mary became part of daily life at monasteries such as the Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 Abbey of Cluny in France.

In the 12th century Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val...

 gave sermons (De duodecim stellis), from which an extract has been taken by the Roman Catholic Church and used in the Offices of the Compassion and of the Seven Dolours. Saint Bernard wrote:


Take away Mary, this star of the sea, the sea truly great and wide: what is left but enveloping darkness and the shadow of death and the densest blackness?


Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria
Hail Mary
The Angelic Salutation, Hail Mary, or Ave Maria is a traditional biblical Catholic prayer asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Hail Mary is used within the Catholic Church, and it forms the basis of the Rosary...

and the Salve Regina
Salve Regina
The "Salve Regina", also known as the Hail Holy Queen, is a Marian hymn and one of four Marian antiphons sung at different seasons within the Christian liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. The Salve Regina is traditionally sung at Compline in the time from the Saturday before Trinity...

, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca
Anselm of Lucca
Saint Anselm of Lucca , called the Younger or Anselm II to distinguish him from his uncle, was an Italian bishop, a prominent figure in the Investiture Controversy and in the fighting in Central Italy between the forces of Countess Matilda of Tuscany, the papal champion, and those of Henry IV,...

 (d. 1080) or St. Bernard
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val...

; and also in the large book "De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent.

Other famous Marian prayers include the Magnificat
Magnificat
The Magnificat — also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary — is a canticle frequently sung liturgically in Christian church services. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn...

, the Angelus
Angelus
The Angelus is a Christian devotion in memory of the Incarnation. The name Angelus is derived from the opening words: Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ The Angelus (Latin for "angel") is a Christian devotion in memory of the Incarnation. The name Angelus is derived from the opening words: Angelus...

 and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Marian litany originally approved in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V. It is also known as the Litany of Loreto, for its first-known place of origin, the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto , where its usage was recorded as early as 1558.The litany contains many of the...

. Marian hymns
Hymns to Mary
Marian Hymns are Christian songs focused on the Virgin Mary. They are used in both devotional and liturgical services, particularly by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. They are often used in the month of May devotions. Some have also been adopted as Christmas...

 include O Mary, we Crown Thee With Blossoms Today, Hail Queen of Heaven
Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star
"Hail, Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star" is a Marian hymn written by Father John Lingard , a Catholic priest and historian who, through the works of William Cobbett, helped to smooth the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act in England...

, the Regina Coeli
Queen of Heaven
Queen of Heaven is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians, mainly of the Roman Catholic Church, and also, to some extent, in the Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches, to whom the title is a consequence of the Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, where the Virgin...

, and the Ave Maria
Ave Maria
Ave Maria may refer to:*Ave Maria , the "Hail Mary", a traditional Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox prayer calling for the intercession of Mary, the mother of Jesus-Music:...

.

Marian devotions



A Catholic devotion is a willingness and desire for pious dedication and service but is an "external practice" which is not part of the official liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 of the Catholic Church. A wide range of Marian devotions are followed by Catholics ranging from simple Rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

 recitations to formalized, multi-day Novenas to activities which do not involve any prayers, such the wearing of scapulars or maintaining a Mary garden
Mary garden
A Mary Garden is a small sacred garden enclosing a statute or shrine of the Virgin Mary, who is known to many Christians as the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady, or the Mother of God. In Christian tradition, Mary is the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, also known as Jesus Christ...

.

Two well known Marian devotions are the Rosary recitation and the wearing of the Brown Scapular. Following their joint growth in the 18th and 19th centuries, by the early 20th century the Rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

 and the devotional Scapular
Scapular
The term scapular as used today refers to two specific, yet related, Christian Sacramentals, namely the monastic and devotional scapulars, although both forms may simply be referred to as "scapular"....

 had gained such a strong following among Catholics worldwide that the Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

 of 1914 stated: "Like the Rosary, the Brown Scapular has become the badge of the devout Catholic." In his encyclical Rosarium Virginis Mariae
Rosarium Virginis Mariae
Rosarium Virginis Mariae is the title of an Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II, issued on October 16, 2002. This Apostlic Letter deals with the Holy Rosary and views it as compendium of the Gospel message:...

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 emphasized the importance of the Rosary. The Mariological basis of the Scapular devotion is effectively the same as Marian consecration, as discussed in the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium
Lumen Gentium
Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. This dogmatic constitution was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,151 to 5...

of Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

, namely the role of the Virgin Mary as "the mother to us in the order of grace" which allows her to intercede for "the gift of eternal salvation".

Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary
Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary
Roman Catholic tradition and Mariology include specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for insults and blasphemies against the Blessed Virgin Mary...

for insults that she suffers. The Raccolta
Raccolta
The Raccolta is a book, published from 1807 to 1950, that listed Roman Catholic prayers and other acts of piety, such as novenas, for which specific indulgences were granted by Popes...

 Roman Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and published by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 in 1898) includes a number of such prayers. These prayers do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins
Acts of reparation
In the Roman Catholic tradition, an Act of Reparation is a prayer or devotion with the intent to repair the "sins of others", e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary...

 of others
against the Virgin Mary.

Catholic view of Marian apparitions


The term Marian apparition is usually used in cases where visions of the Virgin Mary are reported, either with or without a conversation. There are, however, cases (e.g. Saint Padre Pio or Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli
Maria Pierina
Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli was a Roman Catholic religious Sister who was born near Milan in Italy. She is best known for her association with the Holy Face of Jesus and for introducing a medal bearing an image from the Shroud of Turin as part of this devotion.In April 2009 Pope Benedict XVI...

) where visions of Jesus and Mary
Visions of Jesus and Mary
Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary until today, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited...

 and conversations with both are reported. Well-known apparitions include Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around Lourdes, France...

, Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

 and Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

.

The official position of the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 is that while the Holy Office has approved a few apparitions of the Virgin Mary, Roman Catholics at large are not required to believe them. However, many Catholics express belief in Marian apparitions. This has included popes, e.g. four popes, i.e. Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

, Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

, Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 and Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 have supported the Our Lady of Fátima
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

 messages as supernatural. Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 was particularly attached to Fátima and credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life after he was shot in Rome on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fátima in May 1981. He donated the bullet that wounded him on that day to the Roman Catholic sanctuary at Fátima
Fatima
-People:* Fatima , a female given name of Arabic origin* Fatima bint Muhammad, daughter of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad* Fatima Jinnah, the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah...

 Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

.

As a historical pattern, Vatican approval seems to have followed general acceptance of a vision by well over a century in most cases. According to Father Salvatore M. Perrella of the Mariunum Pontifical Institute
Marianum
The Marianum is both the name of a Pontifical institute for the study of Mariology and the name of the prestigious journal of Marian theology. The school and the journal share the same name since their formation was based on the work of Father Gabriel Roschini, who founded both the journal and the...

 in Rome, of the 295 reported apparitions studied by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 through the centuries only 12 have been approved, the latest being in May 2008.

Veneration through Marian art



The tradition of honouring Mary by venerating images of her goes back to 3rd century Christianity. Following the period of iconoclasm
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

, the position of the Church with respect to the veneration of images was formalized at the Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

 in 787. A summary of the doctrine is included in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honour rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." The honour paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone: Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God Incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends towards that whose image it is.


No image (in either the Western or the Eastern Church) permeates Christian art as the image of Madonna and Child. The images of the Virgin Mary have become central icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

s of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 where Mary remains a central artistic topic. The Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Christian Art
Christian art
Christian art is sacred art produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the principles of Christianity, though other definitions are possible. Most Christian groups use or have used art to some extent, although some have had strong objections to some forms of...

, Catholic Art
Art in Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholic art consists of all visual works produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the teachings of the Catholic Church. This includes sculpture, painting, mosaics, metalwork, embroidery and even architecture. Catholic art has played a leading role in the...

 and Western Art since Early Christian art and she has been very widely portrayed in iconic "portraits", often known as Madonnas
Madonna (art)
Images of the Madonna and the Madonna and Child or Virgin and Child are pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus, either alone, or more frequently, with the infant Jesus. These images are central icons of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity where Mary remains...

, with the infant Jesus in the Madonna and Child, and in a number of narrative scenes from her life known as the Life of the Virgin
Life of the Virgin
The Life of the Virgin, showing narrative scenes from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a common subject for pictorial cycles in Christian art, often complementing, or forming part of, a cycle on the Life of Christ. In both cases the number of scenes shown varies greatly with the space...

, as well as scenes illustrating particular doctrines or beliefs: from masters such as Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, Murillo
Bartolomé Estéban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children...

 and Botticelli to folk art
Folk art
Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic....

.

Some Marian art subjects include:
  • Annunciation
    Annunciation
    The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

  • Adoration of the Magi
    Adoration of the Magi in Art
    The Adoration of the Magi is the name traditionally given to the Christian subject in the Nativity of Jesus in art in which the three Magi, represented as kings, especially in the West, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worship him...

  • Adoration of the shepherds
    Adoration of the shepherds
    The Adoration of the shepherds, in the Nativity of Jesus in art, is a scene in which shepherds are near witnesses to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It is often combined with the Adoration of the Magi, in which case it is typically just referred to by the latter title...

  • The Assumption in Art
  • Coronation of the Virgin
    Coronation of the Virgin
    The Coronation of the Virgin or Coronation of Mary is a subject in Christian art, especially popular in Italy in the 13th to 15th centuries, but continuing in popularity until the 18th century and beyond. Christ, sometimes accompanied by God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove,...

  • Christ taking leave of his mother
    Christ taking leave of his Mother
    Christ taking leave of his Mother is a subject in Christian art, most commonly found in Northern art of the 15th and 16th centuries. Christ says farewell to his mother Mary, often blessing her, before leaving for his final journey to Jerusalem, which he knows will lead to his Passion and death;...

  • Immaculate Conception
  • Pietà
    Pietà
    The Pietà is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ, a scene from the Passion of Christ found in cycles of the Life of Christ...



Marian art
Roman Catholic Marian art
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Christian Art, Catholic Art and Western Art for many centuries. Literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of...

 enjoys a significant level of diversity, e.g. with distinct styles of statues of the Virgin Mary present on different continents (as depicted in the galleries in Roman Catholic Marian art
Roman Catholic Marian art
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been one of the major subjects of Christian Art, Catholic Art and Western Art for many centuries. Literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of...

). These depictions are not restricted to European art, and also appear in South American paintings. The South American tradition of Marian veneration through art dates back to the 16th century, with the Virgin of Copacabana gaining fame in 1582.

Marian movements and societies


Throughout the centuries the devotion to and the veneration of the Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics has both lead to, and been influenced by a number of Roman Catholic Marian Movements and Societies
Roman Catholic Marian Movements and Societies
Throughout the centuries the devotion to and the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics has both led to, and been influenced by a number of...

. These societies, form part of the fabric of Roman Catholic Mariology since they contribute to the sensus fidelium
Sensus fidelium
The concept of sensus fidelium in Roman Catholic teachings can be implicitly traced back to the early Fathers of the Church...

, a century-old sense of the faithful, shared by the Magisterium
Magisterium
In the Catholic Church the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. This authority is understood to be embodied in the episcopacy, which is the aggregation of the current bishops of the Church in union with the Pope, led by the Bishop of Rome , who has authority over the bishops,...

. As early as the 16th century, the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 endorsed the Sodality of Our Lady
Sodality of Our Lady
The Sodality of Our Lady The Sodality of Our Lady The Sodality of Our Lady (also known as the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in Latin, Congregationes seu sodalitates B. Mariæ Virginis) is a Roman Catholic Marian Society founded in 1563 by young Belgian Jesuit, Jean Leunis (or Jan), at the...

 and Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII
Pope Gregory XIII , born Ugo Boncompagni, was Pope from 1572 to 1585. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally-accepted civil calendar to this date.-Youth:He was born the son of Cristoforo Boncompagni and wife Angela...

 issued a Papal Bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 commending it and granting it indulgences and establishing it as the mother sodality, and other sodalities were formed thereafter.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw a number of missionary Marian organisations such as Company of Mary
Company of Mary
The Missionaries of the Company of Mary is a missionary religious congregation within the Latin Church one of the 23 sui iuris churches which compose the universal Catholic Church. The community was founded by Saint Louis de Montfort in 1705 with the recruitment of his first missionary disciple,...

, the Marianists, Marist Fathers and Marist Brothers
Marist Brothers
The Marist Brothers, or Little Brothers of Mary, are a Catholic religious order of brothers and affiliated lay people. The order was founded in France, at La Valla-en-Gier near Lyon in 1817 by Saint Marcellin Champagnat, a young French priest of the Society of Mary...

. Some of these missionaries, e.g. Saint Peter Chanel
Peter Chanel
Pierre Louis Marie Chanel, known in English as Saint Peter Chanel was a Catholic priest, missionary, and martyr.-Early years:Chanel was born in La Potière near Cuet in the area of Belley, Ain département, France....

 and Saint Marcellin Champagnat
Marcellin Champagnat
Saint Marcellin Joseph Benedict Champagnat was born in Rozet, village of Marlhes, near St. Etienne , France...

 were martyred as they travelled to new lands. The 20th century witnessed the formation of Marian organisations with millions of members, e.g. the Legion of Mary
Legion of Mary
The Legion of Mary is an association of Catholic laity who serve the Church on a voluntary basis. It was founded in Dublin, Ireland, as a Roman Catholic Marian Movement by layman Frank Duff. Today between active and auxiliary members there are in excess of 10 million members worldwide making it...

 and Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima
Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima is a public international association of the Christian faithful that has as its general purpose "the promotion of the authentic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and the strict adherence to the tenets of the Gospel; the personal sanctification of adherents...

.

Marian shrines and patronages


In the Roman Catholic Church a shrine
Shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

 is a church or sacred place
which receives many faithful pilgrims for a specific pious reason. The local ordinary
Ordinary
In those hierarchically organised churches of Western Christianity which have an ecclesiastical law system, an ordinary is an officer of the church who by reason of office has ordinary power to execute the church's laws...

 must approve the shrine.

Marian shrines account for major veneration centers and pilgrimage sites for Roman Catholics. According to Bishop Francesco Giogia, at the end of the 20th century, the most visited Catholic shrine in the world was that of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City. In third place was Our Lady of Aparecida
Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
The town of Aparecida, in the SE region of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, houses two basilicas dedicated to Brazil's Patroness Saint, Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida, or "Our Lady of the Conception who Appeared," a reference to the appearance of the head, then the body of a statue of Mary in...

 in Brazil, with the non-Marian shrine of San Giovanni Rotondo
San Giovanni Rotondo
San Giovanni Rotondo is the name of a city and comune in the province of Foggia, Puglia region, southern Italy. As of 2006 it had a population of 26,442....

 in second place. The visual effect of Marian pilgrimages can be dramatic, e.g. on May 13 and October 13 of each year close to one million Catholic pilgrims walk the country road that leads to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is a Roman Catholic Marian basilica in Fátima, Portugal...

. Around 2 million pilgrim journey up Tepeyac hill on December 12 each year to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic church, minor basilica and National Shrine of Mexico in the north of Mexico City. The shrine was built nearby the place where Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin...

. While in 1968 Aparecida had about four million pilgrims, the number has since reached eight million pilgrims per year.

Major Marian shrines include:
  • The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
    Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
    The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain is an area of ground surrounding the shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France...

     in Lourdes
    Lourdes
    Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

    , France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • The Basilica of Guadalupe
    Our Lady of Guadalupe
    Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

     in Mexico City
    Mexico City
    Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

    , Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

  • Our Lady of Fátima
    Our Lady of Fatima
    Our Lady of Fátima is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13...

     in Fátima, Portugal
    Fátima, Portugal
    Fátima is a city in Portugal famous for the Marian apparitions, recognized by the Catholic Church, that took place there in 1917. The town itself has a population of 7,756 and is located in the municipality of Ourém, in the Centro Region and Médio Tejo Subregion...

  • Loreto, Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

  • Black Madonna of Częstochowa
    Black Madonna of Czestochowa
    The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is a revered icon of the Virgin Mary housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland.-The icon:The origins of the icon and the date of its composition are still hotly contested among scholars...

     in Częstochowa
    Czestochowa
    Częstochowa is a city in south Poland on the Warta River with 240,027 inhabitants . It has been situated in the Silesian Voivodeship since 1999, and was previously the capital of Częstochowa Voivodeship...

    , Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

  • The Basilica of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland in Knock, Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...



There are other doubtful Marian pilgrimage sites such as Međjugorje, which is not considered a shrine by the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, but yet receives a large number of pilgrims every year. The number of pilgrims who visit some of the approved shrines every year can be significant. E.g. Lourdes
Lourdes
Lourdes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in south-western France.Lourdes is a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous...

 with a population of around 15,000 people, receives about 5,000,000 pilgrims every year. In 1881 a French priest, Julien Gouyet
Julien Gouyet
Julien Gouyet was a French priest, credited with discovering the House of the Virgin Mary. In 1881, led by the visions of Jesus of the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich he discovered a a house discovered near Ephesus in Turkey, said to be the House of the Virgin Mary. Pope Leo XIII visited in 1896, ...

, led by the visions of Jesus and Mary
Visions of Jesus and Mary
Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary until today, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited...

 of the Blessed
Beatification
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

 Anne Catherine Emmerich
Anne Catherine Emmerich
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was a Roman Catholic Augustinian nun, stigmatic, mystic, visionary and ecstatic....

 (Klemens Brentano, 1852) discovered the House of the Virgin Mary
House of the Virgin Mary
The House of the Virgin Mary is a Christian and Muslim shrine located on Mt...

 near Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

 in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.

A number of countries, cities and professions consider the Blessed Virgin their patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

. For a list, see Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary
A list of Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary by occupations and activities, dioceses, and other places:- Occupations and activities :The Blessed Virgin Mary may be taken as a patroness of any good activity; indeed, she is cited as the patroness of all humanity...

.

See also


  • Mariology (Roman Catholic)
  • Marian doctrines of the Catholic Church
  • Protestant views on Mary
  • Mariology of Petrus Canisius
  • Ecumenical views of Mary

Sources

  • Remigius Bäumer, Leo Scheffczyk (Hrsg.) Marienlexikon Gesamtausgabe, Institutum Marianum Regensburg, 1994, ISBN 3-88096-891-8 (cit. Bäumer)

External links