It is time to free Mary and let God have her own maternal face

by Christine Schenk

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It is May, and like every good Catholic girl of a certain age, I remember this as the month we celebrate Mary, the mother of Jesus.

A lot of terrific recent scholarship is helping my generation recover from earlier interpretations of Mary as a revered (if impossible to imitate) virgin-mother role model often portrayed as silent, passive, and obedient.

I recently listened to a podcast by Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, a Sister of St. Joseph, who spoke eloquently about "arguably the most celebrated woman in the Christian tradition." Mary is commemorated the world over in famous, paintings, icons, prayers, and sacred music. Countless schools, hospitals, and churches are named for her.

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