Q: Is there such a title as Mary "Reparatrix"?

A: The title "reparatrix" is not very common, but it exists.  The title is used, for example, in the name of the religious congregation of St. Mary Reparatrix, founded by Blessed Emily d'Oultremont, who died in 1978.  It is also related  to the La Salette spirituality where Mary is featured as the one who attempts to reconcile (Reparatrix is not explicitly used as the term!) the human race with God.  There is also the tradition and devotion of "OL who unties the Knots" in contrast to Eve who tied them.  An interesting image that goes with this devotion is discussed in YQ158.  The underlying idea is that of reparation, but again, the title "reparatrix" is not used.

Explicit examples of the use of this title are as follows:

  • Eadmer (1055-ca. 1141) attributes to Mary the title "reparatrix perditi orbis" (PL 159,572). Though Christologically grounded, the title highlights Mary's role not only in the restoration of human dignity before God, but also for the restoration of disfigured creation ("per eam reparatus mundus").
  • Hartmann of St. Gall (Gallen) (+924), even before Eadmer, used the expression in a litany-like hymn: "reparatrix inclita mundi." Before him, the term was used as an adjective only.
  • Other examples occur in hymns of a later period, e.g. as "vitae reparatrix," or "lapsorum reparatrix." (PL 158, 1037/1039 for these and Hartmann).
  • The index in Migne (PL 219, 516) mentions the following usages: "reparatrix innocentiae," "reparatrix ruinae caelestis."
  • Pius X, in his encyclical Ad Diem Illum, uses Eadmer's version of the title to illustrate Mary's role in the mediation of grace."
  • Pius XI uses "reparatrix," as such, in his Miserentissimus Redemptor (1928).
The idea, if not the exact title was already present in Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. 3,22,4), and again in Anselm, who called Mary "mundi reconciliatrix," and gave her the title, among others,  "mater rerum recreatarum, mater restitutionis omnium." (PL 158, 952, 956)
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