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Seven things you didn’t know about Mary

A detail of a stained-glass window from St Edward’s Church in Seattle shows Jesus, Mary and Joseph on their flight into Egypt. The feast of the Holy Family is marked on 29 December. Photo: CNS, Crosiers

Throughout the month of May the Catholic Church has been celebrating Our Lady and Mother Mary. From the Pope’s Rosary Marathon to the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, May has been an opportunity for us to lean on our Mother for help and support.

To celebrate again the incredible gift to our lives that is Mary, here’s a list of seven interesting facts you may not have known about the Mother of God. Enjoy!

1. Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-not flowers are a symbol of the blue ‘Eyes of Mary’ (their other name). It’s believed when the child Jesus was sitting on Mary’s lap looking up into her eyes, He wished future generations could see Him and his mother together. He then touched the earth and Forget-me-not flowers sprang up in her memory.

Forget-me-nots, eyes of Mary
Forget-me-not flowers or “Eyes of Mary,” PHOTO: by Anna Rozwadowska on Unsplash

2. U2’s ‘Magnificent’

Irish rock band U2’s song Magnificent was inspired by Mary’s beautiful song of praise, commonly called the Magnificat, found in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:46-55).

3. Queen of Heaven

The colour blue became associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary in the early 5th century, after she was declared “Queen of Heaven, Spiritual Mother and Intercessor” by the Church in 431.

Blue became associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary in the early 5th century

4.  Hail, Mary!

The Hail Mary prayer first appeared in print in 1495 in Girolamo Savonarola’s “Esposizione sopra l’Ave Maria.”

– “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee” are the words of the angel Gabriel when he greets Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:28) and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth welcomes her with the words “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” during the Visitation (Luke 1:42).

The Hail Mary prayer. Graphic: Benjamin Conolly

5. The Rosary

Rosary is derived from ‘rosarium’, Latin for ‘crown of roses’.

– It is believed when you pray the rosary it is like you are taking a walk through Mary’s beautiful garden of roses.

6.  A Marian Devotion

The book Pope Francis and the Virgin Mary: A Marian Devotion, by Vincenzo Sansonetti, focuses on Pope Francis’s love for the Virgin Mary.

Pope Francis burns incense as he celebrates Pentecost Mass in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican 23 May 2021. PHOTO: CNS/Paul Haring

7. Mother of the Church

In 2018, Pope Francis decreed that a new feast day devoted to Mary as the “Mother of the Church” would be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.

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