While a number of cultural traditions link the month of May to Mary, the Mother of God, Roman Catholic parishes often celebrate by adding an ornamentation to a statue of Mary. Postulants of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity traditionally plan a ‘May Crowning’ ceremony for the Motherhouse community. Do Franciscans, especially women religious, have a special devotion to Mary?
The answer to this question is ‘yes’. Franciscans follow St. Francis’ call to hold Holy Mary, Lady and Queen in highest veneration since she is the virgin made Church. Here are just a few quick sources, but a more indepth study would reveal more solid evidence.
- Francis prayed this antiphon of the Office of the Passion 7 times a day:
Holy Virgin Mary,there is no one like you born in the world among women,Daughter and Handmaid of the most high,Sovereign King, the heavenly Father, Mother of our most holy Lord Jesus Christ, Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us with St. Michael the archangel and with all the powers of the heavens and with all the saints together with your most holy beloved Son, Lord and Teacher.
In 1422 Franciscans began praying a rosary of seven decades in honor of the Blessed Mother’s seven joys weaving a ‘crown’ more pleasing than flowers.
- Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity celebrate the final profession of our Sisters on a feast of Mary.
At one time Sisters professed our vows for the whole time of our lives on August 15, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today embracing our Franciscan heritage, we make final profession on August 2, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula.
- Our Constitutions of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, our own particular way of life accepted by the Church, refers often to the Blessed Virgin Mary as being an example and model. Handmaid and Spouse of the Holy Spirit are words specially chosen to reflect St. Francis way of referring to Mary.
Care to provide sources of your own?