St. Francis of Assisi Honors Mary as Virgin made Church

Web Admin

May 05, 2020

St. Francis of Assisi certainly had a way with words. Speaking of Mary as ‘Virgin made Church’ is one of those inspired phrases found in The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Third Order Regular Rule of St. Francis which Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity live also gives honor to our Blessed Mother using this title. What does it mean?  Read the texts below. Ponder. Then, Sister Kathleen Murphy offers her own thoughts inviting your comments. Photo: Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Victoria Masil Virgin Made Church

Let the brothers and sisters keep the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever before their eyes. Let them do this according to the exhortation of St. Francis who held Holy Mary, Lady and Queen, in highest veneration since she is the virgin made church. Let them also remember that the immaculate Virgin Mary, whose example they are to follow, called herself the handmaid of the Lord. Third Order Regular Rule,  Chapter IV, #17

The Salutation of the Virgin Mary

Hail, O Lady,
Mary, holy Mother of God:
you are the Virgin made Church
and the one chosen by the
most holy Father in heaven
whom He consecrated
with His most holy beloved Son
and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
in whom there was and is
the fullness of grace and every good
Hail His Palace!
Hail His Tabernacle!
Hail His Home!
Hail His Robe!
Hail His Servant!
Hail His Mother!
And (hail) all you holy virtues which through the grace and light of the Holy Spirit are poured into the hearts of the faithful so that from their faithless state you may make them faithful to God.
AMEN

Reflection

What do the words “Virgin made Church” mean to me? Well, for starters, the capital letters are central to my understanding. These words speak to me of THE Virgin rather than just any virgin. That is the Virgin Mary! Also the word Church with its capital letter status speaks of the Body of Christ, the “people” church rather than the structure. Mary is the Virgin made Church of course because of her part in bringing forth the body of Christ in a physical way. More importantly though, she brought forth the Body of Christ the Church. How? By her faith in her Son and God’s from the very moment of his conception, by her faith on display at the wedding of Cana where we hear her voice commanding, “Do whatever He tells you” and by her nurturing the fledgling Church in the upper room in the waiting time for the coming of the Spirit. Our existence as Church from the past and on into eternity is truly accompanied by and given life by THE Virgin. -Sister Kathleen Murphy, OSF

Article Comments:

Sr. M. Ancilla 11/11/2020 @ 7:02 am

What also comes to mind is the Virgin Mother at the Foot of the Cross – where her Son gave her to us as Spiritual Mother, where she as Mother gave birth to the Church, the Body of Christ. The Mother and her children, represented in John the Beloved Disciple with her at the Foot of the Cross.
Mother, Mediatrix of all Graces, given to us in the Gifts of Holy Mother Church, the Sacraments.

Just an addition perhaps?

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webadmin 11/11/2020 @ 10:00 am

Indeed, this image of the Blessed Mother Mary at the Foot of the Cross with John is a strong Scriptural icon of Virgin made Church. John stands in for all of us, past, present and future children of God, the Church, entrusted to the Virgin Mary as our Mother. Thank you.

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Br Laurence Kettle OFM Cap 12/30/2020 @ 6:14 pm

Dear Sr Kathleen,
Peace to you. I am an Irish Capuchin missionary here in South Korea. The Titular Feast Day of our Custody is 1st January under the patronage of Mary, Virgin made Church. I was browsing the net the other day for an image of this title and was fortunate to find your website featuring a beautiful painting of same. I’d be obliged if you could take a moment to explain to me the symbolism contained therein. Many thanks.
Wishing you and all your Sisters a very Blessed New Year and the Lord’s protection from this deadly Corona Virus.
God bless.
Br Laurence OFM Cap

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Sister Kathleen 01/03/2021 @ 8:32 pm

Thank you for visiting our website and for asking about our beautiful painting of Mary, Virgin made Church. This was created by our beloved Sister Victoria. It shows a humble, watchful Mother Mary standing on the earth. Here, she is accessible to all who seek her help. Flooding up from all the corners of the world are God’s children of every color and race. The People of God, the Church are on the move to the Kingdom. Mary gathers each soul to her heart with her prayerful hands. Passing through her loving care, each one goes from “glory to glory” and rises up clothed in white robes. Each ascends to the Presence of God with haste forming that great cloud of witnesses.

I hope this will be of some help in appreciating this stirring image. We will keep you and your ministry in our prayers and we hope that you will do the same for us! Mary, Virgin made Church, pray for us!

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