Mary with baby Jesus in the manger comes to mind first. According
to a survey by the Marian Library-International Marian Research
Institute at the University of Dayton, most people think of the
Nativity when they think of Mary.
"If we look at the best-known and most popular events in the
year, one that sticks out is Christmas," says the Rev. Johann
Roten, S.M., who directed the 1993 survey and was not surprised
by the results. He says even those unfamiliar with the histories
of Jesus and Mary and religious teachings related to the birth of
Jesus recognize the familiar Christmas scene.
In the theme section of the survey, adults felt the most emotional impact from the Pieta, which shows a suffering Mary holding the body of her dead son after his crucifixion. Roten says that most adults have experienced loss and grief and therefore relate to Mary's sorrow. Teens, on the other hand, chose the comforting and protective image of Mary in Our Lady of the Mantle, where she shelters people with her cloak.
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