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  • Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

The 12 Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Crown of Twelve Stars (Aleteia)

Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Woman of Genesis, the Woman of the Apocalypse, the Queen of the Apostles and Angels, the Co-Redemptrix, the Mediatrix of all Graces, and the Mother of God is crowned with twelve stars that represent the virtues which shine so brightly in her soul.

In the Twelfth Century the great St. Bernard, expounding the symbolism of the twelve stars in the crown of the woman envisioned in the Apocalypse, exclaimed that they represent the mysteries and virtues of her life, while the twelfth star signifies the "martyrdom of her Heart."

In addition to the celestial quantity representing the twelve apostles and tribes of Israel, St. Bernard identified the virtues of Mary's Heart as her faith, hope, love of God, charity towards her neighbor, religion, humility, purity, obedience, patience, mercy, hatred of sin, love of the cross.

Here are twelve principal characteristics that impart a marvelous luster to the sublime love of Mary's Heart. Her love is most holy, most wise, most prudent, most strong, most ardent, most zealous, most constant, most vigilant, most patient, most faithful, most joyful and most pure.

Additionally St. John Eudes, in his work, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God, illustrated the ’12 Principal Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary are the following –

1. Innocence: The most perfect after Jesus Christ, Mary’s innocence is rooted in the fact that she was free from all sin, both original and actual. She is the Immaculate Conception.

2. Simplicity: Curiosity and duplicity were foreign to her. Mary had one simple will in mind for her life and that was to please God and align her will with His will.

3. Humility: Because she was so humble, she treated herself least among all creatures.

4. Obedience: Because she was free from all sin, she obeyed God, her parents, and all superiors with perfect obedience.

5. Patience: Since she knew that her Son would endure great pains of suffering, she learned to practice patience from her childhood which would prepare her to endure patiently the agonies of Jesus Christ.

6. Love for God: She loved God so much that she would have rather been “annihilated” than give any other creature the love that God Himself deserved. All that she did was for Him alone. Her will was His will – this is the supreme test of divine love.

7. Charity towards her neighbor: Mary had so much love for her neighbor. Even in the cruel and merciless actions of the soldiers that tortured Jesus, Mary petitioned for mercy and love. As His Mother, she offered up his innocent blood, which was being shed for them as well.

8. Contempt of and disengagement from the world and from herself: From the beginning of her life, Mary died to her self in all things, her will was the Will of God, all material things were forsaken for the love of God – He is who she would love above all.

9. Virginal Purity: The Early Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church – St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augustine of Hippo believed that Mary made a vow of virginity early in her life. They also tell us if Mary had been given a choice to choose whether to be a mother or remain a virgin, she would have chosen virginity.

10. Silence: Mary’s silencing was deafening that nowhere in the Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, or any other author records a word from her at home with her parents, in the Temple, or any time after.

11. Gentleness and Meekness: Mary is the only human being to exemplify and perfect gentleness and meekness. The sweetness that Mary evokes is not something just of our childhood, but she retains it and shares it with sinners, even the most horrific of sinners. She is always there to bring them back to Jesus Christ.

12. Modesty: Mary’s modesty was so great that some may have mistaken her to be an Angel incarnate.

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