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Blessed Virgin Mary

The University of Dayton's Marian Library is dedicated to making the Virgin Mary better known, loved and served. In honor of the library's 75th anniversary, here are seven things to know about the mother of Jesus.

  1. 1. Mary was a real person. She was Jewish, like her son Jesus. Little is known about her childhood and old age, but the Gospels — and in particular the Gospel of Luke — talk about about her motherhood, including her visit with Elizabeth while pregnant (Luke 1:39-56), escaping a murderous King Herod with her husband and young child (Matthew 2:13-23), and her concern as a mother when Jesus was left behind in Jerusalem at age 12 (Luke 2:41-52).
  2. Mary holy card
  1. 2. Mary’s motherhood of God was proclaimed as dogma — unquestionably true — by the Church at the Council of Ephesus in 431 CE. She is called Mother of God because she gave birth to Jesus, who is in the Trinity along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
  1. 3. Catholics pray to Mary, but not because she is a goddess. They pray to ask her, as the Mother of Christ, to pray with them to God.
  1. 4. Mary isn’t just for Catholics. She is present in the Christian Bible at significant points in Jesus’s ministry, from the first prophecy of the Savior’s mother (Gen 3:15); to the first miracle performed by Jesus when he turned water into wine (John 2:1-11); at the foot of the cross (John 19:25); and Christ’s crowning in heaven (Rev. 12:1, 5). Devotion to Mary can bring Christians together.
  1. 5. Mary is important in Islam as well, in which Jesus is known as the prophet ‘Isa. She is mentioned dozens of times in the Qur’an. Recently, a mosque in Abu Dhabi was named for “Mary, the mother of Jesus” as a gesture to “consolidate bonds of humanity between followers of different religions.” Our Lady of Fatima
  1. 6. Mary has inspired many of the world’s greatest works of art, including sculpture such as Michelangelo’s Pietà and music such as Franz Schubert’s setting of the prayer “Ave Maria.” 
  1. 7. There have been Marian apparitions (appearances) all over the world, including well known occurrences at Guadalupe, Mexico;  Lourdes, France; and Fatima, Portugal. Her first apparition was to St. James the Greater at Saragossa, Spain, in 40 CE. Apparitions are considered private revelations, and belief in their veracity is not required by the Catholic Church. 
  3. The Marian Library holds the world’s largest dedicated collection of printed materials on Mary. In collaboration with colleagues in the International Marian Research Institute, it also helps to bring together centuries of information on the Virgin Mother through the All About Mary website. Read more on the library and its 75th anniversary here


News and Communications Staff