The Spiritual Motherhood of Mary

‘The spirit of the Legion of Mary is that of Mary herself.‘

‘Thus, the symbolism which the Scriptures have put before us, to aid to better understanding of the relation between Christ and the His Church, is that of the Mystical Body. We have likewise seen that by virtue of her motherhood of Christ, Mary is the true Mother of the Christian soul, a motherhood which Our Lord Himself proclaimed at the moment when it acquired its full dominion, that is, when it was consummated by Redemption. If we seek to supplement that image by another which will help us to appreciate the intimacy of the relations of Mary with her children, we have an expressive, though still inadequate one, in the life of the unborn babe. That babe is the soul, and its mother is Mary.

But why should we specify the unborn babe, rather than the infant carried in the mother’s arms and nourished with the natural milk? It is for this reason, that the closeness of the relation between the soul and Mary, which De Montfort – with the Church – depicts, would not at all be sufficiently shown by the babe in arms. The latter is dependant on the mother to a very large extent, but not entirely. It can and does live a little life of its own apart from its mother. It does not draw from her the air it breathes; and portions of its nourishment – all perhaps, in certain circumstances – may be gained otherwise than from its mother. And that mother may go away, or that mother may die; and yet the baby life goes on – in complete independence of her, an conceivably it may fare better without than with that mother.

But how different is the case with regard to the soul. From the day when the soul is born again in Baptism, on to lifetime’s end – perhaps a hundred years later -no single grace will have reached that soul without Mary.


Devotedly, she carries on her mother’s work of sanctification. She receives the divine graces and life life’s blood, she gives them to the soul. Of that blood, not the very least drop, that is to say not the smallest grace, comes to us of the Mystical Body otherwise than through the heart of Mary. What a picture of all-embracing dependence! The babe owes everything – absolutely everything under God – to the good offices of that Mother. Thus the babe unborn must be the image with which we help our minds to understand the role of the Mother of Divine Grace. But even that image only feebly indicates the true position. We grown up people, moving at will, living our lives as we think fit, are nevertheless in a state of dependence on her so close, so intimate, that the confinement of the natural womb is in comparison widest liberty’.

Frank Duff