Q: Why are there images of Mary without Jesus?

A: Statues of Mary without Jesus are numerous and have been so for centuries. However, they became popular especially thanks to the major apparitions of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries. Think of Lourdes and Fatima, but also Guadalupe, Pontmain, La Salette, Banneux, Beauraing, and most recently Medjugorje. Most of the representations of apparitions show Mary without Jesus not because she was dissociated from him but because she comes in his name with his message. There are other traditions of autonomous images of Mary. When Mary's youth and virginity is stressed (for example, Virgin in the Temple), she is represented without the child, also as Immaculate Conception since this characteristic or privilege prepared her to become Christ's mother. The Assumpta or Assumption is represented with Mary's hands folded in prayer and thus without the child in her arms; the same is true for the Annunciation at Pentecost and for other themes of her life, for example, where she is pregnant (Visitation, Guadalupe, shelter seeking). Many events show her without the child in her arms but with the boy or adult Christ nearby (finding in the temple, Cana, at the foot of the Cross).


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