Discover the ten virtues exemplified by the Virgin Mary and learn how to cultivate them in your own life. Seek her guidance for a virtuous path on our website.

The Ten Virtues Of Mary

The Virgin Mary is a shining example of virtue for us on earth. The following are the ten virtues she perfectly practiced throughout her earthly life. As her children, we should earnestly ask her to assist us in the cultivation of virtue in our own lives.

In his Marian literary masterpiece, True Devotion to Mary, Saint Louis de Montfort highlights ten of the most important virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “True devotion to our Lady is holy, that is, it leads us to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of Mary. Her ten principal virtues are: deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom.”

Let us humbly beg our Blessed Mother Mary for the grace to understand these ten virtues that she practiced always to a heroic degree of perfection, but also let us beg for the grace to be able to put these virtues into practice in our daily walk of life!

Deep Humility

A humble person recognizes that all the good they have done, and can do, is a result of the presence of God in their life. Mary was most humble, calling herself the servant or the handmaid of the Lord. Also, in her magnificent canticle of praise that we call the Magnificat (see Lk 1:46–55), Mary states that God has looked with favor upon the humility of His handmaid. Let us beg Mary for a meek and humble heart so that like her, we will attribute our successes to God and our failures to ourselves.

Lively Faith

Faith is one of the three theological virtues—faith, hope, and charity. At its core, faith is believing in God and His Word without seeing with our eyes. Jesus gently reproved the doubting Thomas with these words: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20:29). Mary is the woman of faith par excellence. Therefore, when we are tempted to doubt, let us turn to Mary, the woman of faith, and beg for her most powerful intercession.

Blind Obedience

By giving her consent in the annunciation—“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38)—Mary displayed an admirable attitude of obedience to the Word of God and trust in His holy will. When we are tempted to rebel and turn against God, let us, through Mary’s prayers and example, obey God like Mary, and like Jesus, who was “obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8).

Unceasing Prayer

Prayer can be defined as communication with God. There is no better example in the world, aside from Jesus, with respect to a life of constant prayer than that of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Scripture tells us, “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). Perpetually, she thought of God in her mind and loved Him with all her heart; she maintained constant communication with the Blessed Trinity. The devil of laziness can attack us all. May Our Lady inspire us to be constant, fervent, and faithful in prayer! Indeed, prayer is the key to our salvation. What air is to the lungs, prayer is to the soul!

Constant Self-Denial

Another way of wording this is mortification—the ascetical life which leads to the mystical life of union with God. Mary denied and sacrificed herself in all times and in all places. By doing so, she gave full reign for God to work in the entirety of her life. In Mary’s approved apparitions, both in Lourdes and in Fatima, she strongly encouraged the practice of prayer but also that of sacrifice. By making sacrifices, we are imitating Mary in the art of self-denial. Self-denial turns us towards God and away from self. Mary was always God-centered and never self-centered. May this be our style of life!

Surpassing Purity

One of the most sublime virtues that characterizes the Blessed Virgin Mary is that of her spotless purity. Mary is known as the Immaculate One. In Fatima, Our Lady sadly expressed that most souls are lost to the eternal fires of hell due to sins against the virtue of holy purity. Mary is the Perpetual Virgin. She was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. True devotion to Mary can help us maintain our purity, and if we have lost it, to seek restoration through sacramental confession. Contemplating a beautiful picture, painting, or statue of Our Lady can instill in us noble aspirations for purity.

Ardent Love

Of all the virtues that we are called to practice, ardent love, sometimes called charity, is the greatest. Read the beautiful hymn of love by Saint Paul: 1 Corinthians 13. Our Lady practiced love to a sublime degree and in two ways, for love or charity has two dimensions. Mary at all times and in all places loved God first and foremost. However, Mary expressed concretely her love for God by ardent love for her neighbor. Think of the Annunciation. Through her unconditional “yes,” Mary showed her total and unreserved love for God. Then, moving in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, Mary manifested great love for her neighbor. In imitation of Mary, may we say in the words of Saint Paul, “The love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor 5:14). May we learn this double commandment—love of God and love of neighbor—and strive to live it out on a daily basis. Saint John of the Cross states: “In the twilight of our existence, we will be judged on love.”

Heroic Patience

Not one of us can say that we are patient at all times, in all places, and in all circumstances. This is unlike Mary, who manifested remarkable patience. We must not think of patience just as waiting for something to take place; it is more trusting in God’s providence in all matters, that He has ordained events to unfold in our lives in a certain manner (and yes, at a certain time) according to His holy will. Consider her pregnancy, traveling the long trek to Bethlehem and then being rejected—what great patience! Losing the Child Jesus when He was twelve years of age for three long days before finding Him in the Temple—another manifestation of heroic patience! Most especially, in accompanying Jesus in His passion leading up to His brutal crucifixion and death, Mary manifested unequalled patience! She always trusted in God’s plan. When our patience is put to the test, let us call out to Mary for her assistance. She will never fail us!

Angelic Kindness

The opposite of kindness is rudeness. Just try to imagine the way and manner in which Mary must have treated her neighbor! A warm welcome, a kind and winning smile, courtesy to the maximum, and an attentive ear to listen are all clear manifestations of kindness, angelic kindness, in fact. Mary did all this to the highest degree! On this virtue, Saint Francis de Sales commented: “One can attract more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel full of vinegar.” In other words, kindness attracts others to Christ, while rude and drastic measures repel them. May Our Lady teach us what it means to be kind and may we put it into practice!

Heavenly Wisdom

One of the sublime titles given to Mary in her glorious litany is “Seat of Wisdom.” A wise person knows what is most important in life. Dynamic love for God and ardent desire for the salvation of immortal souls are hallmarks of true wisdom. Our Lady had a burning love for God and an ardent desire for the conversion of sinners and their eternal salvation. The Second Vatican Council document Lumen Gentium tells us, “The Blessed Virgin persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross . . . joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart.” King Solomon was once wise, but he gave into his weakness—that of lustful desires—and ended his life a fool. We beg for the intercession of Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, to attain for us not only wisdom now, but perseverance in this sublime virtue until the very end!

This article is taken from a chapter in Compendium of Marian Devotions by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV which is available from TAN Books



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