Madonna House

Mary As She Really Is

by Catherine Doherty

I have read many books about Our Lady praising her and many books by theologians telling me who she is and what she has done. Of course, she is to be glorified; she is the Mother of God, but there are many women like myself who feel that she is so high up that nobody can touch her. And this isn’t true.

It is true that she’s high up, but she’s also very ordinary. She washed and scrubbed and cleaned. So I would like to talk about her ordinary life.

What did she do all day? What were her days like?

I imagine her days to be very simple and ordinary. She was married to a carpenter, and Nazareth was a small town. Joseph wasn’t a big shot, and neither was she.

She tended to her husband and Son, especially when her Son was small. She cooked and scrubbed; she washed and wove and attended to the garden and did the laundry.

I revel in her normality, because she is ordinary and at the same time extraordinary.

Nobody knew that there was anything special about her. Well, some people might have known about her pregnancy, but that was past.

It was an ordinary household, and that is a most fantastic thing. Our Lord chose an ordinary housewife for his mother! An ordinary housewife!

Somehow or other, this stuns me. I marvel at all the things that happened to her without anything seeming to happen.

It is marvellous, the ordinariness of Our Lady. It is a miracle.

Our Lady is the first person who really knew how to do the will of God in its minute details.

Adapted from Bogoroditza, (2001), pp. 79-80, available from MH Publications