Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Her name was Mary, a form of the name Miriam, the famous sister of Moses. The name was common among Jewish women in those days.
A well-known tradition says she was born in Jerusalem, the daughter of Joachim and Ann. Other early sources say Mary was born in Nazareth. There is even an ancient record that points to Sepphoris, a town a few miles from Nazareth, as her birthplace. Map (15 K gif)
Wherever she was born, Mary's life most likely unfolded in the staunch Jewish settlement of Nazareth in the hills of Galilee, not far from the important caravan routes linking Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The Jews there were a strong, robust people. The hill climate was dry and healthful. And though the land often lacked water and no one knew from one year to the next if enough rain would fall or if invading locusts or field mice would spoil the crops -- still, facing uncertainty only made the people of Galilee more hard-working and close-knit. Struggling for a living deepened their religious spirit. They learned you must depend on God always.