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Thrice Admirable: Why?

Thrice Admirable: Why?

Q: Why is Mary "thrice admirable"?

A: The title "Mater Ter Admirabilis" (Mother thrice blessed) is first of all the name given to the miraculous image of Our Lady at Ingolstadt, Germany. Fr. James Rem, Jesuit, (1546-1618) saw in the advocation "Mater admirabilis" in the Litany of Loreto something like a summary of all of Mary's privileges and of her whole being. He reached this conviction during a mystical experience while the students of the Colloquium Marianum (Marian congregation) were singing the Litanies of Loreto. He had them repeat the advocation "Mater admirabilis" three times in the form of a "trisagion" (each time with greater emphasis). A custom developed, and the image of mother and child in the school chapel was named "thrice blessed or wonderful" (ter admirabilis). The meaning or explanation of the title given by Fr. Rem is not known. Subsequent commentators, like F. Hattler, saw in the threefold invocation a reference to Mary as Mother of God, Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed.

This title was adopted in 1915 by future members of the Schoenstatt Movement and serves as name and customary advocation of the Schoenstatt Madonna. She is venerated as "Mother thrice admirable, Queen and victrix of Schoenstatt." The meaning of the title is multi-valent: Mother of God, Mother of Christ, Mother of all human beings; she is admirable in faith, hope and charity; she was virgin before, in and after the birth of Christ; Child of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, etc. The title has idiomatic meaning, expressing the unique character of Mary according to the words used by Anselm of Canterbury: "admirably unique and uniquely admirable." (Oratio 52, PL 158, 955) Maybe the best way to explain "thrice admirable" is to say that Mary escapes human understanding and explanation.

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