Something about Mary!

Today we celebrate a beautiful feastday: The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary or as it is also known: the Feast of Maria Bambina. Mary’s name, therefore, is really more than just a name. It’s a prayer in and of itself. As Disciples of the Divine Master, we receive the name ‘Mary’ when we make our First Profession and the 8th of September is our common nameday throughout the world as a Congregation. I feel very honoured to bear Mary’s name but sadly we don’t use it as much as we used to, unless there is something serious or for formalities! Kind of like your Mum calling you by all your all your names including your Baptism and Confirmation names. Then you know you’re in trouble! In Italy, we were more accustomed to calling each other by our Marian name, thus reminding us of our mission to be like Mary in the world.

When I was in Ottawa, my classmates used to talk about the famous 'Sister Mary Nun’! Indeed it does seems that every parish has a ‘Sister Mary’, especially in Ireland, where many women are called Mary anyway!  It got me thinking: what does it mean for me to bear the name of Mary? In my mission as a Disciple of the Divine Master?
We can look at our Rule of Life (or Constitutions as other Orders sometimes call them) and see the many times that Mary is mentioned in the Rule. The hermeneutical explanation offers this as a theological key of interpretation: “The Marian profile of our life as Disciples, like that of the Church, originates in its Christological nature, from being Mary before Christ and with him (Vita Consecrata 28). We venerate her as the Queen of Apostles (art. 7), as the disciple who hears the Word and puts it into practice (art. 8.14).  She is the Mother and Teacher of unconditional discipleship and diligent service. The new maternity conferred upon Mary at Calvary and the words of Jesus to the Disciple whom he loved (Jn 19:26), acquire special significance for our lives.Mary and the women of the Gospel are the first witnesses of the Resurrection (art. 132).

In the articles themselves we read:
  • At the school of Jesus Master, Mary, Queen of Apostles, teaches us how to love and proclaim him in our daily life (Article 7).
  •  Following Jesus Christ, we look to Mary, the first disciple, who conserves in her heart the Word and puts it into practice (Article 8).
  • Like Mary, Mother of God, we are called to “the charity of truth” through our ministries which flow from the Priesthood, from the Liturgy, and especially from the Eucharist so that “all may have life and have it in abundance” (article 9).
  • We look to Mary, the Mother of God and the first disciple always obedient to the Word.  We welcome the divine plan with the same attitude she had: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me.” We venerate her as the Queen of Apostles, who became the Mother of humanity at the foot of the Cross, Teacher of discipleship and of assiduous service (article 141).
  • We conform our “yes” to that of Mary, the image of the Church, Virgin and Spouse. Like her we remain open to the newness of Easter in order to collaborate in the construction of a redeemed humanity. From the virginal love arises a special fecundity which contributes toward the birth and the growth of divine life in hearts (article 26).
  • We preserve the treasure of chastity in vigilance of heart. In times of trial we trust in God’s fidelity and in the protection of the Virgin Mary. We fill our lamps with the oil of faith as we joyously await the arrival of the Bridegroom (article 31).
  • Mary, Queen of Apostles, and St. Paul the Apostle, Fr. J. Alberione and Mother Scholastica guide us along this itinerary of sanctification and of apostolate (article 43).
  • In the Pauline Family we exercise a Marian ministry consisting in presence and in charity. In the maturity of faith we generate new apostles of social communication.  Through our Eucharistic life we become a sign of hope and remind all people of the need for radical obedience to God alone, who is to be adored and thanked (article 61).
  • Like Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and the women who were the first witnesses of the Risen Lord, we follow and serve Jesus Master.  They are icons of our mission in the Church and in the Pauline Family (article 132).
  • We fulfill our mission like Mary who conceived, generated and gave Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life to the world.  We do this following Fr. J. Alberione’s methodology: create, produce, diffuse (article 144).
May Mary, our Mother, continue to watch over each one of us and lead us to her Son. Happy feastday to you all, especially to all the 'Marys', the 'Sister Marys' and especially my own religious sisters! I shall remember you in a special way today during the Rosary!