Why is Mary Called the Mother of the Church?

Why is Mary Called the Mother of the Church?

Written by Jacqueline St. Clare, a Catholic writer and author at www.jacquelinestclare.com

There are many titles for Mary: Our Lady, Star of the Sea; Our Lady, Undoer of Knots; Our Lady of Guadalupe; Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal; Mother of God; Mother of Jesus; Help of Christians; Queen of Heaven; the Immaculate Heart.

There is another title that is not as commonly used: Mary, Mother of the Church. Why is this a title we find so hard to grasp and wrap our minds around? Perhaps it is the fact that we do not know the Church. If we do not know the Church, then how can we know the Church’s Mother?

A Scriptural Foundation

To learn about the Church, we can first look to Saint Paul’s Letters to the Romans and Ephesians.

In his writings, Saint Paul gives a basic understanding that the Church is both the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ (Romans 12, Ephesians 5). What does this say about Mary’s motherhood?

At the Annunciation, Mary received the physical Body of Christ and became his mother. Since the Church is the mystical Body of Christ, Mary likewise receives us and becomes our spiritual mother, taking our needs and petitions directly to her Son.

The same concept applies to the wedding imagery. Christ is the Bridegroom—which naturally makes Mary the Mother of the Bridegroom. When the Church (the bride) meets Christ (the bridegroom), the Church then inherits Mary as Her Mother as well. The Mother of the Bridegroom becomes the Mother of the Bride, extending to us the graces that come with her maternal care.

With this foundation in mind, we can now look to the Nicene Creed which states we are “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” to better understand Mary's role as our mother.


The Church is one. Mary is at once loved by the Trinity, the three in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So too, Mary is at once daughter, mother, and bride.

As described with the Trinity, there are no divisions in what God has established with Jesus, King of the Universe. It is He who lets Mary play a part in that “oneness” as she watches over the Church.

Surely, she who is at once the daughter of the Father, the Mother of Jesus, and spouse of the Holy Spirit is a perfect protector and keeper of the Church her own Son established.


The Church is holy. Only an all-holy Mother of God could be the keeper of the Church, which is made holy in Christ.

Mary is the Immaculate Conception, conceived without sin. That is why we pray “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”


The Church is catholic. The word “catholic” means “universal.” It is for everyone around the world! Of course, we want to evangelize the world to know Jesus Christ.

Keeping the Church catholic is how we can understand what is happening during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, even if it is not in our own language. This is telling of how universal the Church really is. Truly, Mary is the Mother of the Catholic Church.


The Church is apostolic. That does not mean we are all ordained priests. The very word “apostle” comes from the Greek word “to send.” Mary was sent on a mission when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived and bore a son. We know Him! Jesus.

Growing up with Mary and St. Joseph, Jesus went forth on a mission to proclaim the Gospel and save the world from sin. We, too, are called to go out and proclaim the kingdom of heaven that is at hand and to believe in the Gospel.

Let us say “yes” to this mission just as Mary said “yes” to God’s will. There could be no greater mother for our Church than the actively apostolic Mary herself.

Mary, Mother of the Church, Jesus entrusted the Church to your care as a child is entrusted to the care of a mother. In imitation of Jesus, I also entrust the Church, the Body of Christ to your care. Keep the Church one in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that dwells most clearly in you. Keep the Church Holy, Mary, Mother of God, and pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. May we remain catholic and universal. May we go out with your example of apostolic service. We fervently trust in Jesus when we say, Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us. Amen.

1 comment

  • N j Villagran

    Very well done. Lovely concept to use with leaving a meditation on this day.
    Stella & Tide replied:
    Thank you so much for your kind words! We’re glad to hear you enjoyed this reflection. God bless!

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