Skip to main content

Documented Devotion

Marian Devotion during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since its founding in 1943 by the Society of Mary, the Marian Library has collected materials that document popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Very common in these materials are appeals to Mary for intercession in healing and protection from danger. Primary and secondary sources in the Marian Library — photographs, pamphlets and artifacts depict Mary’s role in medical cures and miracles at the shrine in Lourdes, France. This material has supported UD undergraduate classes such as English 497, Narrative and Medicine.

As people worldwide have contended with the coronavirus pandemic, many turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary. To document this activity, the Marian Library is encouraging contributions of stories and photos that have been shared and using Archive-It, a web archiving tool, to collect material on the Internet that documents Mary’s ongoing role in the world and in the global Church.

Global examples of Mary’s presence being documented:

Photograph with church in background and man with hands together in prayer standing at statue
Image from archived web page

Visionary Mirjana reported that apparitions allegedly occurring on the 2nd of each month at Medjugorje have stopped. A shrine, once filled with pilgrims, now sits empty.

Photograph of priests holding statue standing beside a helicopterImage from archived website

Priests from Chile flew a statue of the Virgin Mary over their country for protection after one of the organizers had witnessed the same thing occur in Italy.

In England, the re-dedication of England as Mary’s dowry, included a live-streamed event that crashed the website as half a million people tuned in.

Archived article from Zenit website

Archived article from Catholic News Agency website

With cultural heritage institutions and holy sites closed to the public, Egypt began a process to disinfect and sterilize these sites, such as the legendary tree of the Virgin Mary in Matariya in northeast Cairo. This tree is a site of pilgrimage for many Coptic Christians as according to local beliefs it is where the holy family stopped during their flight to Egypt.

While the Lourdes Baths and Shrine closed for the first time in history, they encouraged visitors worldwide to pray a novena together. 

Photograph of helicopter with open door. Inside is Mary statue in wood and glass case.Image from archived website

The Italian Air Force brought a statue of the Virgin of Loreto, the Patron Saint of the Italian Air Force, aboard an aircraft to fly it over the country for protection.

Photograph of money printed with image of Blessed Virgin MaryImage from archived website

One small Italian town started printing their own currency featuring images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a way to help their local economy.

Photograph of the statue during the processionPhotograph of priest looking on to Blessed Sacrament on display with statue of Mary on the left
Images from archived website

At the end of March, a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament with Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal took place in Manila, praying the end of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Dungaw" in Filipino means 'looking out the window'. This practice was done not only because people cannot go out of the house to engage in religious activities but this also is an invocation of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints whose images are put near the window in a manner that they are looking out as an act of request/appeal for God to help us. – Mia B. Eballo

The President of Poland visited and prayed at the shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa.

Turki Bin Talal, a governor of the province of Asīr in Saudia Arabia, and a Muslim, calls on people to look to the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus

street art of Mary wearing face maskImage from archived website

Street art in Madrid depicts the Virgin Mary with a face mask and a representation of the coronavirus.

On May 1st the US Conference of Catholic Bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and renew their consecrations of the two nations to the Virgin Mary. In a letter sent to all U.S. Bishops, Archbishop Gomez said, “Every year, the Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May. This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic. This will give the Church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell, and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus.”


An Ohio family gave a TV interview about the impact of the virus on their family while holding an icon of the Virgin Mary.


“A few years ago, a colorful remnant of fabric in the dollar bin at Walmart caught my eye. It featured Our Lady of Guadalupe and her immaculate heart surrounded by vibrant  flowers and patterns. I bought the fabric with the intention of saving it for something special. When the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia put out a call for masks, my mother (Melissa Lehr) and sister (Lynsey Lehr) asked if they could use the fabric. They realized this was the "special project" I was waiting for. Along with my aunt (Donna Eiser), they sewed and donated 70 masks to the hospital. We hope the image of Our Lady will bring comfort to the medical professionals and their patients at this difficult time.” - Danielle Lehr

Photograph of several face masks made with Our Lady of Guadalupe material

Pope Francis standing in front of Salus Populi Romani at the Basilica of St. Mary MajorImage from archived website

Pope Francis has prayed to the Virgin Mary on multiple occasions to call for an end to the pandemic, and is depicted in front of Salus Populi Romani at the Basilica of St. Mary Major. 

man wearing protective clothing and face mask disinfecting the area near the PietaImage from archived website

Workers sanitize St. Peter's Basilica, seen in front of The Pieta, in preparation for re-opening to the public on May 18th. 

Your Assistance Needed
Faith/Mission 03.30.20

Since its founding, the Marian Library has documented diverse expressions of popular devotion to Mary. By sharing your appeals to the Blessed Mother, you’re creating a valuable resource for future generations researching the present pandemic.

Read more

Marian Library

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1390