Our Dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary live by the Rule of St Benedict and have close links with the worldwide Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation, which itself is part of the Benedictine family. But as well as being Benedictine in our spirituality, we are also Marian.
We have a special dedication which is immediately apparent from the community’s name: the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The first word of the Rule of our Holy Father St Benedict is, “Listen!” This is profoundly true of Our Lady as she listened, first of all, to the Angel, and then, to her Son, in all the circumstances of her life, and His.
Our dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary is reflected in our prayer life. Our timetable provides us with a daily opportunity to pray the rosary.
Our dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary also takes a visible expression. Unusually, for Benedictines, we wear a rosary as part of our Benedictine Habit.
Our Reverend Mother’s insignia of her office is a crucifix worn around her neck which portrays Mary as well as Jesus. This crucifix known as a “unity Crucifix” depicts Jesus on the cross with His mother Mary standing beside Him as she collects His blood from His side in a chalice. Both Mother and Son look at each other in a profound silent dialogue.
As the Bible records, “When Jesus saw his mother standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman . behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19: 26-27 RSV CE)
Theologians, saints and the tradition of the Catholic Church maintains that John represents all Jesus’ disciple and thus Jesus gave Mary to be the mother of His Mystical Body, His church. She is our mother and we love her as such.
There is no more perfect disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ than His Blessed Mother, Mary. Each sister seeks to live out her vocation in the Religious Life in the spirit of Mary’s fiat:
“Ecce ancilla domini fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum
Behold the handmaid of the Lord be it done unto me according to thy word”.
The following prayer, “Sub tuum Praesidium” was first found in a Greek papyrus, c.300, and is the oldest known prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is sung every day after Vespers during the month of May and on solemnities of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We turn to you for protection,
Holy Mother of God.
Listen to our prayers
and help us in our needs.
Save us from every danger,
Glorious and blessed Virgin.