The Most Holy Name of Mary honors Mary’s name because it belongs to the Mother of God. Where did the devotion come from and how does the Church celebrate today?

Why is Mary’s Name Important?

Mary’s name is important because it is an important part of our relationship with her. Whenever we ask for her intercession or pray to her, we invoke her name.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux writes:

May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err. If she holds you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you need not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is gracious to you, you will surely reach your destination.

St. Alphonsus Liguori also writes:

After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness.

When we call upon Mary by her precious name, we call to the one who will always come to our aid and love us like a mother. We also honor her for the greatness she has through God as Christ’s mother and the queen of the universe.
Coronation of the Virgin by Diego Velázquez (c. 1635-1636)
Coronation of the Virgin by Diego Velázquez (c. 1635-1636)

The Church continues to honor her by bowing at her name during the Mass. We also honor her name in the Divine Praises:

Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.

What does Mary’s name mean?

The early Church attributed many meanings to Mary’s name, thought to be “Maryãm” in Aramaic. Some of these names included:
  • Bitter Sea
  • Myrrh of the Sea
  • The Enlightened One
  • The Light Giver
  • Star of the Sea
These meanings fit Mary well. But, Hebraic studies suggest Mary’s name was likely “Miryãm” meaning “lady” or “sovereign.”
Image of Our Lady Of Guadalupe
Image of Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Where did the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary come from?

The feast originated in Spain in the 1500s and 1600s. After the infamous victory at the Battle of Vienna, Pope Innocent XI added the feast to the General Roman Calendar in 1683.

Pope St. Paul VI removed the feast in 1969 simplification of the feast days. He kept the Nativity of Mary, celebrated a few days earlier on September 8th.

In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II restored the Mary’s feast, along with the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.