Catholic Classroom: Titles of Mary

Question: What do the titles of Mary mean?

Stained glass image of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Through the years, the Church has come to call the Blessed Virgin Mary by many different titles. The titles do not indicate different people, but all represent Our Lady. When the Church gives Mary a title, the intent is not to diminish Jesus or to raise Mary in any way to Jesus’ level. Rather, the titles help us to better understand Jesus by understanding who Mary is. For example, when we call Mary “Ark of the covenant,” we are acknowledging Jesus as the New Covenant; Mary, as the Ark, bears the Incarnate Word of God. As with everything Our Lady does, Mary points to Jesus to guide us toward heaven through the revelation of her titles.

The titles of Mary have come from various sources. Some of them are declared by popes, such as the “Immaculate Conception.” Others come from scripture, such as “Queen of Heaven” (Revelation 12:1). Still others come from the locations of Our Lady’s apparitions or her messages during apparitions, such as “Our Lady of Fatima.” Perhaps the most important title of Mary is “Theotokos,” which is Greek for “God-bearer” or “Mother of God.” This title was declared by the Council of Ephesus in 431. Again, this title does not glorify Mary, but rather, helps us to understand Jesus as the Word made flesh, born of the Virgin as one man with two natures: human and divine.

Mary’s titles allow us to connect with our Blessed Mother in unique ways, and they provide a good means of meditation. We invite you to pray the Litany of Loreto to gain a better understanding of these titles:

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Saviour,
Mother of mercy,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower if ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comfort of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee,
O Lord God,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
may be delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
Through Christ our Lord.


Catholic Classroom: Titles of Mary