Our Lady of Fill-in-the-Blank

Blog Published: May 16, 2023
By Elisabeth Deffner
An icon of the Madonna and Child is on an easel inside a church

It just makes sense that my relationship with the Blessed Mother was brokered by my own mom. She has a great devotion to Mary, and that friendship made it easy for me to see Mary as a friend, too – someone I could turn to in times of trouble, someone I could talk to about whatever was weighing on my mind.

Early on, I learned about some of Mary’s appellations because – no surprise here – my mom taught me about them. She had a particular affinity for Our Lady of Lourdes, and we often turned to her in cases of illness in our family or among our circle of friends. I also got to know Our Lady of Guadalupe well – the patroness of my home diocese, and a very popular appellation in Southern California, where I live.

Then came the day when I encountered the dozens and dozens of appellations that belong to the Blessed Mother – countless names that I had never heard before. Names tying her to places that were unfamiliar to me. Names spotlighting gifts that I hadn’t connected with her.

I got to know Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and began to pray for her intercession – along with my go-to saint, St. Jude – for intentions that seemed beyond hope. That was a powerful step in growing my relationship with the Mother of God.

But the appellation that hit me the hardest was Our Lady Undoer of Knots.

What a practical and powerful title! It gets right to the heart of what typically challenges us the most: those tangles that we have created, or in which we’ve become ensnared – problems or situations that seem beyond resolution. And yet, with God all things are possible; and with Our Lady to intercede for us, we can feel confident that even the most trying circumstances will work together for good.

The dedication of the month of May to Mary is a beautiful tradition, but the fact is, we don’t need to wait for May to celebrate the Blessed Mother. She has a feast day nearly every day of the year – and anyway, no special occasion is needed to call on her for help or in thanksgiving. (Just like most moms! You don’t need a reason to pick up the phone and call.)

What is your favorite title for Mary? How does it shape your relationship with her?


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