Attending the School of Mary
Saint Louis de Montfort highlights ten imitation-worthy virtues of Our Blessed Mother in his writing, True Devotion to Mary. Some virtues we may recognize in ourselves, others offer an opportunity to grow in not only awareness but also holiness.
Let us take a moment to examine each virtue, contemplating how to integrate these vital principles into our lives.
- Deep Humility. Could there be a more humble creature than the Mother of God? Faithful in prayer and the practice of her faith, Mary said, “Let it be done to me according to thy Word,” offering an example of every Christian’s aim to respond to God’s will humbly.
- Lively Faith. Mary’s faith, evident in her Magnificat, exemplifies how to abandon ourselves to a trustworthy and loving God.
- Blind Obedience. Mary’s “yes” came not from a place of fear but of astounding love. She could blindly obey because she knew the promises and faithfulness of God. She prayed, remained close, and avoided anything that would separate her from Him.
- Unceasing Prayer. St. Paul speaks of every Christian’s call to a life of unceasing prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Not that we spend from morning to night on our knees reciting the Lord’s Prayer, but that Jesus, His salvific work on the Cross and great love for us, is always in our hearts. Our behavior in each moment draws on remembering who we are in Him, with His name ever on our lips.
- Constant Self-Denial. During Mary’s Apparitions in both Lourdes and Fatima, she encourages not only the practice of prayer but also that of sacrifice. Self-denial turns our thoughts outward and upward, toward God and away from ourselves.
- Surpassing Purity. Mary models both purity in body and of intention. Nothing defiled her thoughts or actions because she united each with God. Hearts tarnished by sin can be made whole again through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
- Ardent Love. Who could accept the appointment to be the mother of all God’s children, other than someone abounding in ardent love? Unwavering in her devotion to Our Lord, she comes the assistance to all who reach out, especially those connected to Mary through the Rosary.
- Heroic Patience. Patience is the ability to suffer, without complaint or losing one’s hope or joy, for the sake of perfection or holiness. The Scriptures demonstrate how Mary’s life offered many opportunities to practice heroic patience—awaiting Joseph’s response to the news of the Incarnation, traveling to Bethlehem, fleeing to Egypt, and awaiting the sword that would pierce her heart, just to name a few. Yet, we never see her falter in love or fidelity to God’s plan of sheer goodness for her.
- Angelic Kindness. No one exemplifies the command to love your neighbor as yourself more than Mary, this virtue a fruit of living a humble, pure, and faithful life. Angelic Kindness challenges us to be tenacious in our living out the Catholic faith, no matter how many (or how significant) the obstacles.
- Heavenly Wisdom. Mary’s words at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5), demonstrate not only her profound wisdom but also how each of us can possess it as well. Mary knew, better than anyone, from where she came and where she wished to go. She allowed her faith and trust in God to guide all her actions and never, for a moment, veered from being heavenly-minded.
How can we obtain such fruits of faith? The Rosary provides the faithful a way to grow in virtue, as Pope Saint John Paul II wrote in Rosarium Virginis Mariae,
“With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary ... This school of Mary is all the more effective if we consider that she teaches by obtaining for us in abundance the gifts of the Holy Spirit, even as she offers us the incomparable example of her own 'pilgrimage of faith.'”
In this month of Mary, may you find time to contemplate and grow in virtue attending the school of Mary, with the beloved Rosary in hand, as you learn to integrate each virtue into your life.
About Allison Gingras
Allison Gingras works for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom, and the Diocese of Fall River as a new media specialist. She is the author of Encountering Signs of Faith (Fall 2022, Ave Maria Press). Allison developed the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series including her volumes—The Gift of Invitation and Seeking Peace (OSV). She hosts A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras and co-hosts the Catholic Momcast podcast.