Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Mary ~ Blessed Virgin and Mother of God
Feast day: September 8
Mary, the Mother, of God, Mother of Jesus, wife of St. Joseph, and the
greatest of all Christian saints. The Virgin Mother “was, after her Son,
exalted by divine grace above all angels and men”. She is the highest of
The principal events of her life are celebrated as liturgical feasts of
the universal Church. Mary’s life and role in the history of salvation
is prefigured in the Old Testament, while the events of her life are
recorded in the New Testament.
Traditionally, she was declared the daughter of Sts. Joachim and Anne.
Born in Jerusalem, Mary was presented in the Temple and took a vow of
virginity. Living in Nazareth, Mary was visited by the archangel
Gabriel, who announced to her that she would become the Mother of Jesus,
by the Holy Spirit. She became betrothed to St. Joseph and went to visit
her cousin, Elizabeth, who was bearing St. John the Baptist.
Acknowledged by Elizabeth as the Mother of God, Mary intoned the
When Emperor Augustus declared a census throughout the vast Roman
Empire, Mary and St. Joseph went to Bethlehem, his city of lineage, as
he belonged to the House of David. There Mary gave birth to Jesus and
was visited by the Three Kings.
Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, where St. Simeon rejoiced
and Mary received word of sorrows to come later. Warned to flee, St.
Joseph and Mary went to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. They
remained in Egypt until King Herod died and then returned to Nazareth.
Nothing is known of Mary’s life during the next years except for a visit
to the Temple of Jerusalem, at which time Mary and Joseph sought the
young Jesus, who was in the Temple with the learned elders.
The first recorded miracle of Jesus was performed at a wedding in Cana,
and Mary was instrumental in calling Christ’s attention to the need.
Mary was present at the Crucifixion in Jerusalem, and there she was
given into John’s care. She was also with the disciples in the days
before the Pentecost, and it is believed that she was present at the
resurrection and Ascension.
No scriptural reference concerns Mary’s last years on earth. According
to tradition, she went to Ephesus, where she experienced her “dormition.”
Another tradition states that she remained in Jerusalem.
The belief that Mary’s body was assumed into heaven is one of the oldest
traditions of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII declared this belief
Catholic dogma in 1950. The feast of the Assumption is celebrated on
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception - that Mary, as the Mother of the
Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was free of original sin at the
moment of her conception was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854 . The
feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8. The birthday of Mary is an old feast in the Church, celebrated on
September 8 since the seventh century. There are other feasts that commemorate events in the life of the
Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII dedicated the entire human race to Mary in 1944. The
Church has long taught that Mary is truly the Mother of God .
St. Paul observed that “God sent His Son, born of a woman," expressing
the union of the human and the divine in Christ. As Christ possesses two
natures, human and divine, Mary was the Mother of God in his human
nature. This special role of Mary in salvation history is clearly
depicted in the Gospel in which she is seen constantly at her son’s side
during his mission. Because of this role exemplified by her acceptance
of Christ into her womb, her offering of him to God at the Temple, her
urging him to perform his first miracle, and her standing at the foot of
the Cross at Calvary Mary was joined fully in the sacrifice by Christ of
Pope Benedict XV wrote in 1918: “To such an extent did Mary suffer and
almost die with her suffering and dying Son; to such extent did she
surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man’s salvation, that we
might rightly say she redeemed the human race together with Christ”.
Mary is entitled to the title of Queen because, as Pope Pius XII
expressed it in a 1946 radio speech, “Jesus is King throughout all
eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through him, with him, and
subordinate to him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by
right of conquest, and by singular election.” Mary possesses a unique
relationship with all three Persons of the Trinity, thereby giving her a
claim to the title of Queenship.
She was chosen by God the Father to be the Mother of his Son; God the
Holy Spirit chose her to be his virginal spouse for the Incarnation of
the Son; and God the Son chose her to be his mother, the means of
incarnating into the world for the purposes of the redemption of
This Queen is also our Mother. While she is not our Mother in the
physical sense, she is called a spiritual mother, for she conceives,
gives birth, and nurtures the spiritual lives of grace for each person.
As Mediatrix of All Graces, she is ever present at the side of each
person, giving nourishment and hope, from the moment of spiritual birth
at Baptism to the moment of death.
The confidence that each person should have in Mary was expressed by
Pope Pius IX in the encyclical Ubipriinum : “The foundation of all our
confidence. . . is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For God has
committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that
everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace,
and all salvation. For this is his will, that we obtain everything