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Images of Mary: Most Popular

Most Popular Images of Mary

– Answered by Fr. Johann Roten, S.M.

Q: What image of Mary is the most popular?

A: Mary with baby Jesus in the manger comes to mind first. According to a survey by the Marian Library-International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, most people think of the Nativity when they think of Mary.

"If we look at the best-known and most popular events in the year, one that sticks out is Christmas," says the Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., who directed the 1993 survey and was not surprised by the results. He says even those unfamiliar with the histories of Jesus and Mary and religious teachings related to the birth of Jesus recognize the familiar Christmas scene.

In the theme section of the survey, adults felt the most emotional impact from the Pieta, which shows a suffering Mary holding the body of her dead son after his crucifixion. Roten says that most adults have experienced loss and grief and therefore relate to Mary's sorrow. Teens, on the other hand, chose the comforting and protective image of Mary in Our Lady of the Mantle, where she shelters people with her cloak.

All About Mary includes a variety of content, much of which reflects the expertise, interpretations and opinions of the individual authors and not necessarily of the Marian Library or the University of Dayton. Please share feedback or suggestions with


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