Powerful representations of a young woman as the Mother of Jesus Christ are widely evoked in literature, music and the visual arts throughout the Christian and Islamic worlds; the month of May is dedicated solely to her. The Virgin Mary, daughter of Saints Anne and Joachim, was born without the original sin as a pure vessel for the conception of the Son of God. The cult of the Virgin Mary started in the fourth century, but it was not until the thirteenth century that she became as popular as Jesus Christ. She is venerated as the Holy Mother, the rose without thorns, the Queen of Heaven. The doctrine dedicated to Virgin Mary was officially recognized as a dogma of faith by Pope Pius IX through the Papal Bull Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854. The Spanish monarch and the most powerful religious orders such as those of the Franciscans, Carmelites, Jesuits and Mercedarians pressured the Church to define the Virgin Mary’s dogma. 

The Soul of Mary / Alma de Maria / Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación

Feast day: March 25 – December 25

Patron Saint of all human beings

Other Names: Saint Mary, Virgin Mary

Essay by Alexxis M. Ortiz

Our Lady of Guadalupe/La Virgen de Guadalupe

Feast day: December 12

Patron Saint of Mexico and the Spanish America

Other Names: La Morenita, La Virgen Morena, La Reina de Mexico, La Madrecita, La Criolla

Essay by Yael Cano

The Immaculate Conception / La Inmaculada Concepción

Feast day: December 18

Patroness of Chaplains and Spanish Military

Essay by Paris Bowers

Our Lady Refuge (Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners)

Nuestra Señora del Refugio (Our Lady, Refugio de Pecadores)

Feast day: July 4

Protector or oneself and for others.

Essay by Jillian Franzen

Our Lady of Mount Carmel / Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo

Feast day: July 16

Patroness of the Carmelite Order, Chile in South America and protection from harm and dangerous situations.

Invoked through a series of prayers for special needs and associated with the Souls of Purgatory.

Essay by Carolyn Christensen

Our Lady of Light / Nuestra Señora de la Luz

Feast day: February 27

Patron Saint of: León, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Invoked for protection against storms, plagues, and other natural disasters.

Essay by Yael Cano

Pietà / La Piedad

Essay by Courtney Sisk

Sorrowful Mother or Our Lady of Sorrows /

Mother Dolorosa o Nuestra Señora de los Dolores

Feast day: September 15        

Essay by Jillian Franzen

Our Lady of Solitude / La Soledad

Feast Days: December 18 and Holy Saturday

Patroness of Oaxaca and Acapulco, Mexico; Badajos and Parla, Spain; Porto Covo, Portugal; and Cavite Province, the Philippines; patroness of mariners and sailors.

Invoked against loneliness, for consolation in bereavement, as a reminder of Christ’s wounds; invoked for a happy death and protection in general.

Essay by Karen S. Billings