Q: Was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, present at the Resurrection?
A: We do not know if Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was present at the Resurrection. Scripture is silent but mentions explicitly Mary Magdalene (Mk 16,9; Mt 28,9; Jn 20,11-18). Many of the Church fathers respect this silence: Ambrose, Jerome, Anselm, Bernard, Alphonsus of Liguori, where Bonaventure explicitly denies it: "quia in fide instrui non indiguit." (De Assumpt. sermo VI)
Probably the first of the fathers to teach Christ's appearance to his mother was Ephrem (Diatesseron V,5) and Gregory of Nyssa (In Christi resurrect. orat. II - PG 46, 632). However, both of these fathers took the wrong Mary for Jesus' mother (Ephrem: Mary Magdalene; Gregory of Nyssa: "the other Mary"). Nonetheless the conviction that Mary witnessed Christ's resurrection forms part of the Eastern (Greek) tradition about Mary's life (Anastasius Sinaita [died after 900], Gregory of Nicomedia [9c]). In the Western Church we have Sedulius as one of the first partisans of this opinion, followed by Rupert of Deutz, Eadmer and Albert (pseudo-Albert). The reasons invoked are no longer scriptural but of convenience: "non ut probaret resurrectionem, sed ut eam visu suo laetificaret." (In Ev. Marci 16,11) Spirituals and theologians who upheld this idea were, among others, Saint Bridget of Sweden (Revelations VI, 94), Ignatius of Loyola, (Spir. Ex, 4th week, med.1), Petrus Canisius (De Maria Virg. et D. Gen. 1577, IV/26), Fr. Suarez (S.T.III, 55, 4). There is no official Church teaching about this point. In summary, the positive opinion about Mary's witnessing of the Resurrection seems to be based primarily on the confusion made on behalf of the various Marys of the Bible developing eventually into an argument or reason of convenience.See also our features: