The Blessed Virgin Mary holds a special place in the hearts of Catholics. Venerated as the Mother of God, she is seen as a symbol of grace, purity, and maternal love. While many know her as Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, or simply as the Mother of God, there are numerous other titles and names attributed to Mary that many Catholics may not be familiar with. In this article, we’ll dive into 26 powerful names of Mary, exploring their significance and the richness they bring to Catholic devotion.
Before we begin, let’s clarify that the veneration of Mary is distinct from the worship owed only to God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship” and this devotion “differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 971).
Titles Rooted in Scripture
1. Woman of Genesis
Mary is often considered the “New Eve.” In Genesis, God says that He will put enmity between the serpent and the woman: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers” (Genesis 3:15). The early Church Fathers saw Mary as the woman who would play a key role in the defeat of evil.
2. The Ark of the New Covenant
In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant held the Ten Commandments, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod. Mary, carrying Jesus in her womb, is considered the Ark of the New Covenant. Luke’s Gospel draws parallels between King David dancing before the Ark and John the Baptist leaping in Elizabeth’s womb in the presence of Mary (Luke 1:41-44).
3. The Queen Mother
In the Davidic kingdom, the mother of the king held significant influence and was called the “Queen Mother” (Gebirah in Hebrew). Mary, as the Mother of Jesus, is seen as the Queen Mother in Heaven. This is reflected in Revelation 12 where a woman crowned with 12 stars is shown giving birth to the Messiah.
4. Our Lady of Sorrows
This title remembers Mary’s seven sorrows, or “dolors,” which include events like the flight to Egypt and Jesus’ crucifixion. It is a reminder of her enduring faithfulness even in times of immense suffering.
5. Seat of Wisdom
In many traditional Catholic prayers, Mary is referred to as the “Seat of Wisdom” (Sedes Sapientiae). The idea here is that Jesus, who is Wisdom incarnate, was nurtured and brought into the world through Mary.
6. Star of the Sea
Known as “Stella Maris” in Latin, this title represents Mary as a guiding star for Christians in the sea of life, leading them towards her Son, Jesus.
Titles from Apparitions and Miracles
7. Our Lady of Guadalupe
In 1531, Mary appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico. The miraculous image left on his tilma is venerated as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.
8. Our Lady of Knock
In 1879, a group of villagers in Knock, Ireland witnessed an apparition of Mary, St. Joseph, and St. John the Evangelist. She did not speak but the vision itself conveyed a powerful message of hope and comfort.
9. Our Lady of La Salette
Mary appeared in 1846 to two children in La Salette, France. She conveyed messages of warning and hope, specifically regarding the importance of keeping the Sabbath and using the Lord’s name respectfully.
Titles from Eastern Tradition
In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, Mary is often referred to as “Panagia,” meaning “All-Holy” in Greek.
The Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. declared Mary as Theotokos, which means “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.” This title asserts the divinity of Jesus and honors Mary as the Mother of God.
12. Our Lady of Perpetual Help
A revered icon in the Eastern Churches, this title refers to Mary’s eternal willingness to assist those who seek her intercession.
Titles of Local Importance
13. Our Lady of Aparecida
Venerated in Brazil, this title pays homage to a statue of Mary that was found by fishermen in the 18th century.
14. Our Lady of Lavang
Important to Vietnamese Catholics, Our Lady of Lavang commemorates apparitions of Mary that took place during a period of Christian persecution.
15. Our Lady of Montserrat
This title refers to a Black Madonna statue located in a monastery in Catalonia, Spain. It is a powerful symbol of national and regional identity.
Though not officially a dogma, some theologians consider Mary as Co-Redemptrix, acknowledging her unique cooperation in the plan of salvation.
17. Mediatrix of All Graces
Another theological opinion is that Mary serves as the mediator of all graces, a role emanating from her position as Mother of God.
18. Spouse of the Holy Spirit
This title is largely symbolic, emphasizing the unique relationship Mary had with the Holy Spirit, especially at the Annunciation.
Titles from Litanies and Prayers
19. Refuge of Sinners
This title, found in the Litany of Loreto, sees Mary as a safe haven for those who repent and seek forgiveness.
20. Gate of Heaven
Another title from the Litany of Loreto, this signifies Mary as the pathway to eternal life with her Son, Jesus.
21. Cause of Our Joy
This joyful title acknowledges Mary’s role in bringing Jesus, the source of all joy, into the world.
Titles Celebrated on Feast Days
22. Immaculate Heart of Mary
This title celebrates Mary’s heart as a model of virtue and devotion. The feast day is celebrated on the Saturday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost.
23. Our Lady of the Rosary
Celebrated on October 7, this feast day honors Mary and promotes the praying of the Rosary.
24. Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Early Church Was the Catholic Church
The Case for Catholicism - Answers to Classic and Contemporary Protestant Objections
Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs
Celebrated on July 16, this feast day acknowledges Mary’s appearance to St. Simon Stock and the giving of the Brown Scapular.
25. Our Lady of the Assumption
Celebrated on August 15, this feast commemorates Mary’s bodily assumption into Heaven.
26. Our Lady of Mercy
Celebrated on September 24, this feast honors Mary as the epitome of divine mercy and compassion.
The numerous names and titles of Mary reflect her multifaceted role in the story of salvation and the life of the Church. Each title unveils a different aspect of her character, mission, and the abundant graces that flow from her closeness to her Son, Jesus Christ. As Catholics, enriching our understanding of these titles can deepen our devotion and bring us closer to both Mary and, through her, to Jesus.
🙏 PayPal Donation Appreciated
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you.
Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.