Mary in Christian Tradition
Catholic Devotion to Mary from the Reformation to Today
Within the Catholic world of Europe and America, devotion to Mary flourished from the 17th century until the time of the Second Vatican Council in the 20th century. Devotion to Mary during this time strongly influenced every aspect of Roman Catholic culture and piety. Among Eastern and Orthodox Christians also, devotion to Mary continued to be strong.
In the Western church, numerous religious communities and societies, such as the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Marists, the Sisters of Notre Dame, the Legion of Mary, were founded under her patronage. They sought to imitate Mary's motherly concern to bring the message of her Son to all peoples through their mission work in schools, hospitals and missions throughout the world.
The Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), summed up the church's belief about Mary and devotion to her:
"We turn our eyes to Mary who shines forth on the whole community of believers as a model of virtues. Faithfully meditating on her and contemplating her in light of the Word made man, the church enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation.