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CAVALLINO, Bernardo The Blessed Virgin 1650 Oil on canvas, 167 x 118 cm Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Devotion to the blessed Virgin Mary


Compendium of the Catechism

196. In what sense is the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of the Church? 963-964 973 The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church in the order of grace because she gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, the Head of the body which is the Church. When he was dying on the cross Jesus gave his mother to his disciple with the words, “Behold your mother” (John 19:27).


The most important event in history is the incarnation of the Son of God in the most pure womb of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is Mother of God; but she is also our mother, the mother of all men, especially of Christians. At Calvary Jesus gave her to us as mother, just before dying:

“Woman, this is your son; … This is your mother” (John 19:26-27).
GRECO, El Pietà c. 1575 Oil on canvas, 66 x 48 cm The Hispanic Society of America, New York

Main ideas

1. The Virgin Mary is our mother

The Virgin Mary holds the first place among angels and saints in heaven because she is the mother of Jesus, our Redeemer. When Jesus was dying for us on the cross he gave her to us in the person of John: “This is your mother". After her assumption into heaven, she intercedes for all of us as a good mother.

ALTDORFER, Albrecht Christ on the Cross between Mary and St John c. 1512 Limewood, 102 x 116 cm Staatliche Museen, Kassel

2. Christians venerate Mary in a special way

As John cared for Mary after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, as good sons we have to love and venerate Mary. Many ways to honour her have emerged throughout the centuries. We should know and practise these devotions to show our affection for our heavenly mother.

GRECO, El The Coronation of the Virgin 1591 Oil on canvas, 105 x 80 cm Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo

3. Marian devotions
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Praying to Our Lady when getting up and going to bed. Venerating her images. The Angelus and the Regina Caeli. The Holy Rosary. The month of May. The scapular of Mount Carmel. Saturday, dedicated to Our Lady. Visits to a Marian shrine. Feasts of Our Lady.

MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban Virgin and Child with a Rosary 1650-55 Oil on canvas, 164 x 110 cm Museo del Prado, Madrid

4. To grow always in devotion to Our Lady

The life of a Christian is a way to God: from God we come and to God we go. Our Lady accompanies us, protecting and helping us. We increase our love for her by treating her with affection, practising the recommended devotions. Our love for Our Lady should be deep and constant, and continuously grow.
POUSSIN, Nicolas The Assumption of the Virgin 1649-50 Louvre, Paris France

Resolutions for Christian life

Resolutions to move forward

Take up one of the Marian devotions mentioned above and practise it with affection and perseverance. Go back over traditional prayers to Our Lady that you have learned or heard about.