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Why Do We Call Her the Mother of Mercy


Every once in a while someone sends me a question that I file away because I know it is so big and so important that I cannot tackle it right away. Well, a few months ago, a fellow named Ted sent me the following question that I just knew I would have to deal with eventually. After all, this website is an apostolate of the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, and the Marians have a special calling, as part of their charism, to spread the message of the merciful love of God. It was only a matter of time, therefore, before one of my readers “put two and two together,” as the saying goes, and asked me this question:

Some of my friends are really into Divine Mercy, but others prefer to focus on devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I know there is no conflict between Mary and Divine Mercy; I’m sure she is in favor of it just as much as her Son. But does the connection run deeper than that? I mean, we do call her “Mother of Mercy” for some reason, right? Could you explain that to me?

Well, Ted, I will certainly try. But there is so much to say here precisely because the connection between Mary and Divine Mercy runs so deep that you will have to pardon me if I take about four instalments to say it all!

When you say that we call her “Mother of Mercy,” I presume you are referring to the traditional prayer:

Hail Holy Queen,
Mother of Mercy,
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope …

For centuries, Christians all over the world have cried out to the Blessed Virgin Mary with these words, placing themselves under her tender care as “Mother of Mercy.” We hear a clear echo of this cry in the life of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, especially in that beautiful and tender passage in her diary where Mary encourages us all to approach her as a merciful mother:

Once, the confessor told me to pray for his intention, and I began a novena to the Mother of God. This novena consisted in the prayer “Hail, Holy Queen” recited nine times. Toward the end of the novena I saw the Mother of God with the Infant Jesus in her arms. … I could not stop wondering at His beauty. … I heard a few of the words that the Mother of God spoke. … The words were: “I am not only the Queen of Heaven, but also the Mother of Mercy, and your Mother” (Diary of St. Faustina, 330).

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