Starting the Year with Mary


This beautiful statue of Our Lady is located in the crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Emily Thomas, Social Media Coordinator

2020 was a year of unexpected difficulties that hit close to home, but through these challenges we have all grown in some capacity. As we near the end of this year, it is tempting to focus on the gloom of so many pandemics that came to light in 2020, both literal and figurative. However, I challenge each reader to reflect on the joyful moments this year as well. Maybe spending more time with your family helped everyone to grow closer, or perhaps you discovered a creative hobby that you enjoy. Our Blessed Mother faced many painful and surprising periods in her life, yet she never lost sight of the ways in which God was working in her life and in the lives of those around her.

Jan. 1 is the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and such a fitting way to start the new year. As we celebrate Mary under the title of Theotokos (Greek for “God-bearer”), she teaches us how to “bear God” in our own hearts. In what ways can we allow the light of hope and joy that comes only from God to shine through us into the lives of those who feel the weight of despair? Remember that the smallest sign of love can brighten someone’s day almost instantly. If you know someone who is not very optimistic about the upcoming year, maybe a thoughtful text or an e-gift card as a random act of kindness would remind them that they are loved.

The first day of the new year also recognizes Mary as “Queen of Peace,” and the day is known as the “World Day of Peace.” Looking at the news, it may be difficult to see how we can achieve true peace in such a divided nation. Our Lady, Queen of Peace, wraps us in her mantle and helps us to experience peace of the heart, which we share with members of our family and those around us.

The pain of this past year may bring up some hard-to-swallow memories, and it is perfectly okay to feel that way. May we also remember that Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, wants to lead us to true freedom of peace, joy, and hope in 2021. No matter what comes our way, Our Lady, Queen of Peace, helps us to crush the clouds of anxiety and see the blue sky and bright yellow sunshine of God’s faithfulness and generosity. To my sisters of the Class of 2021, do not be afraid to ask Our Lady, Notre Dame, for her motherly care in these last few months together and especially as we navigate a new and exciting journey ahead.