Not much factual information about Mary’s birthday is known. We have been taught that she was conceived without sin as the Immaculate Conception. We know that her parents were Anne and Joachim whose feast we celebrate at the end of July.

How did families celebrate birthdays before the common era? In the Jewish tradition a child was a blessing, but to have one so special, even more so. Perhaps Anne would have invited the family to gather and she may have prepared Mary’s favourite foods. Joachim may have prepared a special blessing prayer for his daughter. I don’t think there would have been decorations, cards, cake, gifts or the singing of “Happy Birthday.”

I can imagine the celebration might have focussed more on the goodness of God. We know her destiny would be revealed through the message of an angel and her gracious response would allow the Son of God to be born among us. It is good for us to take a moment to celebrate Mary’s birth today in a simple way and with a prayer of thanksgiving for her example and generosity.

Let us pray:

Mary, we have been blessed by your presence in our lives.

Your fiat gives witness to your willingness to serve God’s invitation.

May we be willing to discern God’s desire for us and to

serve Jesus as you did as the first disciple.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

Blessed are you among women and 

blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners

now and at the hour of our death. 


Pat Carter, CSJ is a disciple, a teacher and an advocate for the poor. She has been a Sister of St. Joseph for more than half of her life and loves to use words to inspire faith and laughter. She is a cantor at her parish of St. Jerome’s in Sault Ste. Marie.

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