A few years ago, a close friend introduced me to the 10 virtues of Mary. Although I had completed St. Louis de Montfort’s total consecration to Mary, I didn’t know anything about the 10 virtues formally associated with Our Lady. I was fascinated when I learned about the Blessed Mother’s virtues and before long, they were something that had become near and dear to my heart.
What are her 10 virtues? They are:
- Angelic sweetness
- Ardent charity
- Blind obedience
- Constant mental prayer
- Divine wisdom
- Heroic patience
- Lively faith
- Profound humility
- Surpassing purity
- Universal mortification
Wow. Mary’s virtues may seem overwhelming to us, but don’t worry. They’re not as daunting as they may seem. In this article, I will unpack each of Mary’s virtues and list practical ways in which we can practice them in our daily lives.
- Meaning: Angelic – like or befitting an angel. Sweetness – beloved, kind, gracious, precious.
- How Mary demonstrated Angelic Sweetness: Mary radiated joy and peace to everyone she encountered.
- How we can live out this virtue: We can open our hearts to the grace that is available to us, show gratitude for God’s blessings. We can smile, and be kind, friendly, and sensitive towards others needs–putting their needs before our own.
- Meaning: Ardent – characterized by warmth of feeling or passion. Charity – the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His sake.
- How Mary demonstrated Ardent Charity: Every action that Mary performed for those around her was done out of love for the Lord.
- How we can live out this virtue: Be like the Blessed Mother and take on the disposition of love for those around you by bringing Jesus to them, the true and perfect Lover.
- Meaning: Blind — Fully trusting in God’s plan for our lives, even when we don't fully understand it, knowing that He is Truth itself. Obedience — Obeying His commands as given through Holy Mother Church.
- How Mary demonstrated Blind Obedience: Mary was able to confidently give her fiat at the moment of the Annunciation, and also in every circumstance after that.
- How we can live out this virtue: We can believe and trust that God’s plan for us is good and loving. This is really hard, especially at times when life is uncertain, but you are not alone in the chaos. He is right there with you.
Constant Mental Prayer
- Meaning: In the words of Saint Mother Teresa: “Mental prayer is the breath of life for our soul and holiness is impossible without it.” It doesn’t mean praying in the chapel all day, but simply loving God and others in every little act we perform.
- How Mary demonstrated Constant Mental Prayer: Mary’s entire life was a prayer, due to her constantly placing herself in the presence of the Lord, every moment of her life.
- How we can live out this virtue: Praise God. Make time for silence, for thanking Him, and for asking help to do His Will. Bring Christ into every little thing, offering up all your thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sorrows.
- Meaning: Divine – Proceeding from God. Wisdom: Knowledge of what is true and right, and having good judgment.
- How Mary demonstrated Divine Wisdom: Mary was able to see the beauty of God’s will in every moment. She didn’t run to others first; she always conversed with the Lord first, so that she could embrace His Will.
- How we can live out this virtue: Ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom to see things through the eyes of Christ and not your own. Ask Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, to pray for you!
- Meaning: Heroic — Knowing that God is Lord, no matter what challenges are faced. Patience — Quiet perseverance and peaceful waiting, as you abide in His love and wait for Him to reveal His will when the time is right.
- How Mary demonstrated Heroic Patience: Mary gave her fiat, her “yes” to Christ. Mary’s patience culminated at the foot of her Son’s cross, where she truly became a martyr through her patient and complete suffering in union with Christ.
- How we can live out this virtue: Unite your sufferings with the sufferings of Our Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows. Pray for the gift of perseverance and cultivate silence in your life and in your heart.
- Meaning: Lively – Full of life and spirited. Faith – When man completely submits his whole being to God, including his intellect and his will.
- How Mary demonstrated Lively Faith: Mary completely submitted herself to God in an energetic way. She joyfully surrendered herself to the Lord.
- How we can live out this virtue: Faith is a gift from God! To receive a gift, we must be in communion with the Giver. Choose to trust Him and practice receiving His gifts with humble, open palms.
- Meaning: Profound – Penetrating or entering deeply into subjects of thought or knowledge. Humility – Free from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind.
- How Mary demonstrated Profound Humility: Mary perfectly conformed herself to God’s Will. She saw herself as God saw her: nothing more, nothing less.
- How we can live out this virtue: See yourself as God sees you! Pray the Litany of Humility, accept compliments gracefully and quietly, and don’t be embarrassed to have made mistakes in front of others.
- Meaning: Surpassing – Beyond or exceeding what is typical in magnitude or degree. Purity – The state of being free from sin; oneness of heart and mind in seeking God.
- How Mary demonstrated Surpassing Purity: Everything in Mary was of God. Her mind and heart were pure. She lived her life with unity of purpose, seeking only to love and honor with all her heart, all her mind, and all her soul.
- How we can live out this virtue: Live a life full of prayer and frequent the Sacraments. Strive to keep your mind pure and focused on heavenly things instead of things of this world.
- Meaning: Universal – All-encompassing, applicable everywhere. Mortification – Dying to yourself and your own will.
- How Mary demonstrated Universal Mortification: Mary died to herself from the moment she said, “Not my will but Yours be done.” She continued this throughout her entire life, continually dying to herself and totally uniting herself to her Son.
- How we can live out this virtue: Make sacrifices and offer them up for the greater good of someone else. Mortify yourself in little daily events, such as getting up right away when the alarm goes off and not hitting the snooze button!
Mary’s 10 virtues are impressive to reflect on but don’t be discouraged. The key to conquering any task is to start small. Try picking one virtue each week, month, or year to intentionally focus on and practice emulating.
And remember: the Blessed Mother is right there with you every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to love her and to call upon her, asking for her guidance and assistance.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to allow her to love you. As St. Maximilian Kolbe said,
Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.