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Do you know whose birthday it is today?

In the little town of Nazareth in Galilee, a man named Joachim held his newborn daughter in his arms.

“Now I am ready to die,” he said. He would be happy to die now, because all his life’s joys had been realized in this radiant child.

He and his wife, Ann, had prayed for a child for so many years—and not only had their own prayers been answered, but the hope of all humanity would be fulfilled through their new daughter.

Who was she, this beautiful child, whose destiny was so exalted?

Our Chosen one shall be called Mary, and this name is to be powerful in grace.

The Holy Trinity spoke thus to the choirs of angels at the birth of Mary of Nazareth. Indeed, her coming into the world caused endless rejoicing in Heaven, and the angels sang in joy and wonder at the birth of this Immaculate Virgin.

How do we know about Our Lady’s nativity and childhood? Her appearances in Scripture don’t begin until the Annunciation and they end at the time of Our Lord’s death. Even these appearances are brief and her recorded words are few. Her early life is not mentioned at all.

Saint Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read by Murillo

While we do not read about Mary’s childhood in Scripture, God has given some privileged souls private revelations concerning her hidden life. While these revelations do not carry the weight of public revelation contained in the deposit of faith—nor do they constitute historical sources—and while we are not obliged to believe them, those that have met with the approbation of the Church are a wonderful way to illuminate our contemplation of these mysteries.

The revelations of some such souls—Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, St. Bridget of Sweden, Venerable Mother Mary of Agreda, and St. Elizabeth of Schoenau—form the basis for the first part of this article. The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics is a compilation of their visions concerning Our Lady’s hidden life, arranged into a chronological, easy-to-read narrative. Beginning with Our Lady’s holy parents and following her life up through the Assumption and Crowning, this compilation is sure to bring you closer to Our Blessed Mother and deepen your love for her. Available here at The Catholic Company!

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