There is no woman in the history of the world who has left a more powerful presence in the most positive ways than the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed, Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Mystical Rose, and the Gate of Heaven. These are just a few of the countless titles attributed to Mary.
Mary’s person, influence, life, and her powerful presence in Heaven have left an indelible mark and seal on all of humanity that will endure until the end of time and extend from time into eternity.
Indeed, what an extraordinary blessing to be aware of the holy and omnipotent presence of Mary, the Full of Grace, upon the universe at large. We are truly blanketed, covered, and protected under the powerful mantle of Mary’s presence!
Therefore, this being said, let us highlight the many indelible marks that Mary has engraved on the world, on humanity, as well as the History of the entire world. After Jesus, the Son of Mary, it is Mary herself who has the most profound impact on the whole of humanity and it is precisely for that reason: Mary’s relationship and love for Jesus Himself!
We humbly invite all to open their eyes to the wonderful world that envelops us and to become more cognizant and aware of Mary’s far-extending, powerful and sanctifying influence. Mary teaches us: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Lk. 1:46-47)
The following is a list of the many and various ways that Mary has marked the world and will continue to influence the world until the very end of the ages, all the way into eternity!
1. Names Given to Children at Birth and Baptism
Parents have the moral obligation to choose the name of their child and the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlights that the name should have a Christian meaning. Thanks be to God that in the History of the world over the last two millennia huge numbers of parents have willfully chosen to name their child after Mary. Among the Marian names are: Mary/Maria, Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe, Conception, Assumption, Rosa, Nativity, Rosary/Rosario, Carmen, Milagros, Maryanne, and many others.
Parents who have blessed their child with a Marian name have, in reality, given their child with a real blessing because, by this Marian name, Our Lady will bless them all the more.
2. Places Named after Mary
It is impossible to express the vast extent of the geographical presence of Mary. We cannot deny the countless cities, towns, villages, counties, countries who have chosen the Name of Mary as their geographical identity! To name just a few. Los Angeles, California — “Santa Maria, de los Angeles—Our Lady Queen of Angels; Paraguay has as its Capital City, “Asuncion”—The Assumption of Mary into Heaven. One of the fifty states in the USA— “Maryland”—the land of Mary! One of the provinces of Argentina is Rosario—Our Lady of the Rosary. How many cities and towns throughout the world have chosen Carmel (Our Lady of Mount Carmel), including California? Chile has a city with the name Concepcion—the Immaculate Conception.
Obviously, we are just scraping the surface of the almost universal geographical presence of Mary throughout the entire world.
It is almost impossible to mention the universal presence and significance of Mary in the realm of literature, specifically that of poetry. Just to mention a few! Dante in The Divine Comedy, once he reaches heaven, depicts with beautiful word-images Mary as the enchanting Rosa-Mistica, the Mystical Rose. Beyond the heights of the Mystical Rose, Dante presents us with the Beatific Vision of the Blessed Trinity.
Of course, one of the most renowned writers and poets who proclaimed the glories of Mary is the Mellifluous Doctor, Saint Bernard, in his poetic-mystical masterpiece: Maria, Stella Maris—Mary, the Star of the Sea. In the midst of the trials, storms and tempests in our lives, like sailors tossed and turned by the tumultuous waves, we must lift our gaze to Mary. She is the Star of the Sea that will lead us safely and surely to the Port of salvation—Heaven.
4. She Also Inspired Authors of Prose
Not only does the presence of Mary abound in an abundance of poetic excellence, but also in prose—books on Mary. The number is limitless. Therefore, we will mention only one, possibly the most renowned of all: The Glories of Mary! Of all the writings of one of the most prolific writers in the history of the world—Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori—the same author considers his greatest work precisely that, The Glories of Mary. This spiritual masterpiece is a Marian compendium of Biblical passages, and sayings from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and other saints, writers and poets expressing their love and confidence in Mary, in her infinite mercy towards all of humanity. This classic explains in minute detail every word from the prayer Hail Holy Queen.
5. Mary in Music and Song
Saint Augustine has correctly commented: “He who sings, prays twice!” Song, harmony, melody, chant, and music are integral parts of the life of humanity and can indeed enrich our emotional life, moral life, and spiritual life as a whole.
Countless Marian songs and hymns have been composed over the past two millennia and in a wide variety of languages. What cannot be fully expressed in prose can be better expressed in poetry, and at times even better in song! It is beyond possibility that can we name and express all the Marian hymns, but with great simplicity and humility we will list a mere few: The Hail Holy Queen, Salve Regina, Immaculate Mary, Sing of Mary, Ave, Ave Maria (To Our Lady of Fatima), Regina Caeli (Easter Season hymn), Hail Mary (Gentle woman), the Ave Maria (In Latin)—often sung in weddings, Ave Stella Maris—Mary, star of the Sea! By song and chant we joyfully lift our hearts, emotions, minds and souls to pay tribute and homage to our Heavenly Queen and loving Mother.
6. Churches Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary
Of course, one of the most famous Churches in the world built and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary is in Paris, Notre Dame. Sad to say that this masterpiece has undergone severe damage due to a fire, but is in the process of being restored. Millions of pilgrims have traveled to Paris to place their lives, families and problems at the feet and in the Heart of Mary—Our loving Mother.
In Rome, the oldest Basilica built and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary is Santa Maria Maggiore—Saint Mary Major. Before traveling on important Apostolic missions, Popes will kneel in front of an image of Mary in this Basilica and beg for special graces and blessings. Mary indeed blesses them!
7. USA Pilgrimage: The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
In the Capital of the USA, you will encounter the most majestic, beautiful, enchanting and enthralling Architectural Masterpiece of spiritual beauty—The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. This basilica is among the most beautiful and majestic. As well, the Immaculate Conception has been named the Patroness of the USA.
Throughout the centuries, countless artists have spent long hours, often preceded by prayer and fasting, so as to depict to the best of their abilities the Majesty, the Beauty, the Splendor, and the sublime Glory of Mary who is indeed the Queen of the angels and the saints. One of the most noteworthy is the renowned Dominican, Blessed Fra Angelico, with many magnificent depictions from the lives of Jesus and Mary.
Many movies over the past decades have been presented on the Blessed Virgin Mary, some better than others. A few can be mentioned: The Song of Bernadette (Our Lady of Lourdes), Our Lady of Fatima, Cartoon version of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Full of Grace (Our Lady after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven). These are a few.
However, it must be said that one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces beyond a shadow of doubt must be attributed to the famous Rosary-priest, Venerable Father Patrick Peyton. Family Theater from Hollywood, with the support of many excellent Catholic actors, helped this humble priest to compose The Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary (1958). Father Peyton offers the life of Jesus and Mary from the crib to the cross, to the empty tomb. In our love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the most Holy Rosary, this movie is a must on our list.
EWTN has presented these mysteries, one at a time, with each Mystery lasting close to 25 minutes. Viewing this cinematic masterpiece will enhance our love for praying the most Holy Rosary. Remember the immortal sayings of Venerable Patrick Peyton. “The family that prays together stays together.” And, “A world at prayer is a world at peace.”
10. Mary’s Visits to Suffering and Sinful Humanity
God is so good that He has sent His loving Mother to suffering and sinful humanity. This has been carried out by what may be termed approved Marian apparitions. There are many in the course of 2000 years of history. For sake of brevity, we will highlight three and invite all to strive to get to know these approved Marian apparitions better.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
She appeared in 1531 four times to Saint Juan Diego in Mexico, and as a result the massive conversion of 8 million to Catholicism in 30 years!
OUR LADY OF LOURDES
She appeared in 1858 to Saint Bernadette in Lourdes, France, 18 times over four years. It was after the dogmatic proclamation of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854, that Our Lady identified herself to Bernadette in these words: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Bernadette had no idea what that meant, but the Catholic hierarchy examining the authenticity of the apparitions knew very well.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA.
She appeared in Fatima, Portugal to three shepherd children, Lucia de los Santos, and her cousins, Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Her apparitions took place during the First World War, 1917, 6 Apparitions in total, from May 13th to October 13th, concluding with the great miracle of the twirling and spinning sun, seen by 70,000 people!
These approved Marian Apparitions have left a profound and indelible mark of influence on the whole world. In fact, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico is the second most visited pilgrimage site in the world, second only to the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome.
In conclusion, as we have briefly traveled with our pen and ink in this short essay, we can perceive the profound and universal influence that the Blessed Virgin Mary has left on all of humanity. She has left a universal and profound down-pouring of graces and blessings on the whole world. The blue sky symbolizes her loving mantle and her loving Heart in which she so desires to embrace and enfold us now and forever.
Therefore, let us pray for purity of vision, purity of sight, the eyes of true mystics so that we can perceive God working at all times and in all places in the fabric of our daily lives and existence.
Furthermore, let us beg for the unique grace to perceive Mary present behind the scenes, always at work with the purpose of glorifying God in all times, places and circumstances. In these words: “My soul does magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” (Lk. 1:46-47)