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The Top 10 Names of Mary

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By Dan Valenti (Aug 8, 2008)
As befitting the Mother of God and Queen on Heaven, Mary has numerous titles and names. I find it engrossing that one person can have so many appellations, but how else could we encapsulate all of the aspects of Our Lady merely by her given name?

The Gospel of John doesn't even name her, only referring to her as the mother of Jesus. We need more. And so, after surveying her many titles, we present the admittedly subjective Top Ten Names of Mary.

10. Co-redemptrix — This title does not mean that Mary had an equal share with Jesus in salvation. Instead, it refers to the role she played in facilitating our redemption salvation, mainly by agreeing to become the mother of God.

9. Our Lady of Czestochowa, or The Black Madonna — Poland's national shrine to Mary. Legend has it that St. Luke painted this icon on a table that Jesus built. Popes and pilgrims alike have recognized the miraculous nature of the icon.

8. Mother of Perpetual Help — This painting shows the Madonna and Child, attended by the archangels Michael and Gabriel, who hold instruments central to the Passion. The painting is heart breaking. The Christ Child, having glimpsed the instruments of torture, runs to his mother. His right foot is bare, indicating he was so frightened that he ran out of his sandal.

7. Our Lady of Guadalupe — This is the image Mary left on the cloak of Juan Diego. Our Lady called herself coatlaxopeuh, which means "the one who crushes the serpent." The word is pronounced "quat-la-supe," from which is derived the English version of Guadalupe.

6. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel — This is Mary of the brown scapular. The scapular comes to us through the vision of St. Simon Stock. Many miracles have been attributed to the scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

5. Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal — Mary's appearances to Catherine Laboure in 1830 marked the beginning of modern Marian apparitions. Mary gave Sr. Catherine the design for this medal. The words on the medal prompted clarification on the Immaculate Conception, which became dogma in 1854.

4. Mother of Mercy — Saint Odo, a 10th century abbot, is believed to be the first to call Mary by this title. In the 11th century, this title was incorporated into the prayer Salve Regina.

3. Mediatrix — This describes the central role of Mary as the "go-between" between Jesus, and us as expressed in the saying "To Jesus through Mary."

2. Blessed Mother — This seminal title derives from Gabriel's greeting to Mary at the Annunciation, where she is called "blessed" among all other women.

And now, the No. 1 title of Mary:

1. Immaculate Conception — The 1854 dogma issued by Pope Pius IX refers to Mary's sinless nature at the moment of being conceived by her parents. The Immaculate Conception was the first time a pope claimed a dogma to be infallible, even though the idea of papal infallibility would not be officially proclaimed for another 16 years. This is the definitive title of the Blessed Mother.

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