The Passionists' Compassion

Mary, the Mother of Jesus


After the Death of Joseph

Joseph's death, some years before Jesus' public ministry, left Mary a widow, depending more than ever on her Son for support. Devoted to him, she knew he had a mysterious, divine role. Yet, in those long years at Nazareth she had no heavenly signs to go by. No angel spoke to her; no witnesses came forward to explain anything more of the child's destiny. At Nazareth Jesus was her faithful Son, working at his trade, following the seasons and the harvests, hardly noticed by his neighbors and relatives. And Mary was his mother.

Mary's Imprint on Jesus

It would be natural that Mary's imprint appear in Jesus' later teachings. The way he valued childhood and family life surely came from rich memories of homelife at Nazareth and its simplicity, trust and love. "Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."

Mary and the Infant Jesus - Tizian

His later parables and teachings show his esteem for the faith and patience of women and condemn the injustices done to them in the male-dominated society of his time. His advocacy and appreciation for women surely followed his love and respect for the woman who was his mother. He was sensitive to the plight of widows. Surely he was influenced by Mary's situation after the death of Joseph?

Can we go further? Was Jesus' love for his own religious tradition and his ability to be critical of that tradition fostered by the honest sense and devotion of a woman like Mary and a man like Joseph? One thing is certain: Nazareth left an imprint on his experience.


her son leaves home