Mary

"Pietà" (detail) by Michelangelo located in St. Peter's Basilica

The Feast of Our Lady Which Our World Needs Most

Every year on September 15, the day following the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, when we call to mind the sufferings endured by Our Lady throughout her life, most importantly at the foot of the Cross. To someone unfamiliar with the feast, perhaps it seems like an odd one. […]

Our Lady of the Southern Cross

How — and why — do we celebrate Mary’s birthday?

The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8) is one of the most tender and natural feasts on the Church calendar. And although we date the liturgical feast to at least the sixth century, we can actually trace the celebration much farther back.  After all, don’t you think Jesus celebrated Mary’s birthday? Join Him in the […]

"The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity" (detail) by Velázquez

The Church’s Weighty Call to Women

It is an odd time to be a woman.  Never before have women had the freedom and opportunities that I have; at the same time, never before has the identity of woman been so confused.  It is no surprise, then, that Pope Francis has called for a “theology of woman.” The purpose of the Women’s March on Washington still remains […]

Four Helpful Tips for When You Find the Rosary Difficult

My guardian angel has prayed more rosaries than I have.  There’s a pious saying that if you fall asleep while praying your prayers, your guardian angel finishes them. Well, for many years, I knew I should be saying a daily rosary, but I thought if I started the Creed as my head hit the pillow at night, I could at […]

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Did Mary Ever Have Days Like This?

I didn’t have a good excuse. No sudden death, news of great tragedy, or personal fall-through. The clock just met 4:00, the kid of choice started with the customary late afternoon ranting, and it all unraveled from there. Somehow, the everyday things—the weight of my worries, the onslaught of my duties, the trial of just getting through the rest of […]

Our Lady of China

Finding Comfort in Our Lady of China

Whatever time it was, it was dark, pitch black, deep night.  The scream shattered the stillness and destroyed my sleep.  I was wide awake, completely alert, no daze to me, despite the lack of sleep. There was no intruder, no fire, no emergency.  There was, instead, a little girl, terrified by monsters assailing her in her dreams.  She had no […]

Mary, Virgin Mother of Grace, and the Lessons She Teaches Us

There’s more than one budding artist in my house.  Any one of my older kids will lose themselves, sometimes for hours at a time, working on “projects.”  They’ll get paper and markers and transform whatever is in front of them into a masterpiece. “Look, Mommy!” one of them will shout, and, of course, I have to look up from whatever I’m doing.  Without fail, I’m […]

"Immaculate Conception" (detail) by Murillo

Mary as “One of Us” in Our Lady of Lourdes

Over the years, I have wondered how much Mary and I have in common.  First I wondered, because I wasn’t a mother and we lived in such different times.  Now I wonder, because I am not so patient or flawless in my mothering as I imagine she was.  I asked myself if she could possibly understand the frustrations, the challenges, […]

Why I’m proud to be a woman of the Church

As a woman who is active in the Church on both the local and national level, I’ve had plenty of time to think about women’s role in the Church. I probably find myself talking about it more frequently than the average person, too.  The other day a friend brought it up, and he began parroting the notion that throughout history the Church […]

"Pietà" (detail) by Michelangelo located in St. Peter's Basilica

Mary as the Mother Who Cries With Us

I didn’t know what to say, and yet words of comfort seemed to come from my lips. We sat there, in the cozy Bob Evans down the street from the hospital, and I tried to keep myself from resorting to joking or bantering. As my mother-in-law ordered her salad and coffee, I realized I was not at a table in a […]