The Passionists - Compassion

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.

"For Mary unites in herself the great teachings of faith, and so she calls believers to her Son and his sacrifice and to the love of the Father.

"Seeking the glory of Christ, the church becomes more like her and progresses in faith, hope and love, seeking and doing the will of God in all things . . .

"Just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, in the image and beginning of the church as it is to be perfected in the world to come, so, too, does she shine forth on earth, until the day the Lord comes, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the People of God during its sojourn on earth." (Lumen Gentium 65, 68)

Feasts of Mary