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Virtues of Mary

The Evangelical Virtues of Mary

– Answered by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Q: What are the ten evangelical virtues of Mary?

A: Marian devotion and spirituality has many facets, many expressions, and many traditions. The "Ten Evangelical Virtues" is one of them. This devotion comes in the form of a chaplet, and belongs to the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. These ten evangelical virtues are not only object of prayer. More important, they present us with a program of virtuous life, which is that of Mary as she appears to us in the Bible.

The "Ten Evangelical Virtues" are as follows:

Most Pure (Mt 1:18, 20, 23; Lk 1:24,34)
Most Prudent (Lk 2:19; 51)
Most Humble (Lk 1:48)
Most Faithful ( Lk 1:45; Jn 2:5)
Most Devout (Lk 1:46-47; Acts 1:14)
Most Obedient (Lk 1:38; 2:21-22; 27)
Most Poor (Lk 2:7)
Most Patient (Jn 19:25)
Most Merciful (Lk 1:39, 56)
Most Sorrowful (Lk 2:35)

On the ceiling of the eighteenth-century Marian Church of Gozlin, Poland, there is a ten-pointed star symbolizing Mary's evangelical virtues dear to the Marians. Mary's virtues are like the rays of a star enlightening our path and inspiring our behavior. The Marians made the "Ten Evangelical Virtues" their Rule of Life (1699). However, the origin of this spiritual tradition antedates the foundation of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. It goes back to the foundation of another order, the sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1501). This religious order was co-founded by Jeanne of Valois (canonized 1950) and the Franciscan Blessed Gilbert Nicolas (1463-1532). He wrote the sisters' rule and based it on the ten Marian virtues, while Jeanne of Valois (1464-1505) is considered the author of the chaplet. The chaplet was to be a constant reminder of the rule of life and its Marian foundation. It later became the Marians' everyday prayer up until the reform of the order in 1910.

The chaplet is recited like the rosary. After each Hail Mary / "Holy Mary ... Mother of God," one virtue is offered in prayer following the order in which they are listed above (Most Pure to Most Sorrowful). The Ave is then concluded with "pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

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