Oh, those troublesome Marys in the Bible: Mary, mother of Jesus. Later, two of his female friends, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Martha and Mary fame. Of course, the names have been anglicized, but they were trouble makers in their own culture.

When I find myself in times of trouble

Their reputations have existed for over two thousand years. Theologians, scholars, clergy, and the common Bible reading person of today all have differing views regarding the message intended, surviving the oral tradition and the papyrus scrolls of the time period.

Mother Mary, come to me

Artists have painted them. Sculptors have made statues. Stonemasons have chiseled many a Mary to grace a tombstone. The Marys have been set into stained glass windows, carved into wooden Stations of the Cross, in millions of churches and cathedrals. Secular and religious jewelry, rosary beads, prayers, songs, sports, books for both children and adults, even movies, all about the girls named Mary.

Speaking words of wisdom

And yet, lately I find some comfort in reciting the Hail Mary as I fall asleep, sometimes lapsing into the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. In this old neighborhood, once referred to as Little Italy, if you walk, looking for them, you will see small shrines on front lawns with a Mary or two. She can be seen in various states of fading blue robes or tilted sideways, missing a hand, holding a baby. There is only one who wears black, but the paint is peeling. Trouble makers.

Let it be...


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen. 300 days each time. plenary once a month. Pius IX., December 11, 1846

(prayer found in pocket-sized Manual of the Purgatorian Society, containing spiritual readings and prayers for every day of the month. Also the ordinary prayers of a pious Catholic. Published by the Redemptionist Fathers, from the CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP, 526 Fifty-Ninth Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.) This was once my grandmother's, a bit of a trouble maker in her own right, also named Mary.

lyrics by Paul McCartney, John Lennon