She has appeared on the cover of Time magazine more than any other woman. She is the subject of an international research library in Dayton, Ohio, that holds more than 90,000 books and pamphlets; 55,000 magazine and newspaper articles; 4,000 slides; and 20,000 art pieces. She is called upon every day by millions of people worldwide. Her name is Mary. Her fame lies in the simple fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of a woman, this woman. 
Down through the ages, the mother of Jesus has received the prayerful attention of popes and bishops, theologians and mystics, poets and artists. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the centrality of Mary in our faith when it tells us that our belief in Mary is based on belief in Christ. What our faith teaches about Mary elucidates our faith in Christ (see Catechism #487). In light of two thousand years of words and images accumulated about Mary, Catholics today may have markedly different reactions upon hearing her name. Most Catholics find Mary to be a warm, welcoming mother and friend in everyday life who always leads us to Jesus. Some are confused, however, and some may suffer overload. A few Catholics may even be totally unacquainted with Mary.
Through brief reflections on scriptural references to Mary, Marian doctrines, and approved devotions to Mary, we can discern a portrait of Mary for our lives. We can deepen or revitalize our relationship with Mary so that she becomes a true companion for our faith journey.