Five Faces of Mary by Fr. Robert P. Maloney, C.M.

I found this interesting article on Mary on the Vincentian website, Vinformation:  Here’s a link to it:

It was written by Fr. Robert Maloney, C.M.  Fr. Maloney has had a wide and varied career including two terms as Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians).

For those seeking more information on Fr. Maloney, here’s a link to his curriculum vitae:

For easier reading I have broken Fr.’s article into five easy pieces to be posted over the next few days.

Five Faces of Mary

Robert P. Maloney, C.M.


We know very little about the Virgin Mary, though the little we know is tantalizing. She played, of course, a crucial role in the story of Jesus and has had an enormous influence in the history of Christianity. The major creeds profess that Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.” Mary’s impact on Christian piety has been powerful. She is the first among the saints to whom we unite our voices in prayers of praise and petition. Is there any prayer that has been said more frequently than the Hail Mary?

On the affective side, Mary has come to symbolize maternal listening for countless people, becoming for them, as a modern writer puts it, “an icon of the tenderness of God.”[1] On the level of moral response, Christians, reflecting on the New Testament, regard Mary as the ideal disciple, the first among the saints.

Her influence has deeply affected art, music, and poetry. We need only to recall some of the striking paintings of the Virgin Mary, like the Madonnas of Botticelli, of Lippo Lippi, of Murillo. And of course we have all often heard wonderful Ave Marias like those of Schubert and Gounod, as well as countless other Marian hymns. Dante, Shakespeare, and many others all wrote beautiful poetic tributes to the Virgin Mary.

But perhaps nowhere has Mary flourished so much as in the popular imagination. A recent author speaks of the thousand faces of the Virgin Mary.[2] In this brief article I will present five of these faces. I encourage the reader not just to reflect on the few words that I write, but also to meditate with me on these faces. Paintings, icons, mosaics and images created within our own minds and hearts have a way of speaking that goes beyond words.




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