Mary’s Queenship Hailed by Fulton Sheen and Friends

The feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a royal occasion to sing the praises of our Queen Mother

Peter Paul Rubens, “Coronation of the Virgin,” ca. 1625
Peter Paul Rubens, “Coronation of the Virgin,” ca. 1625 (photo: Public Domain)

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug. 22 is another monumental Marian feast on which we should sing the praises of our Queen and profusely thank her for all the help she gives and is constantly waiting to give us.

We celebrate Mary our Queen and her Queenship because Jesus her Son is King. We have known this for centuries and have celebrated this for centuries praying the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary — “The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.” But have we thought about what this really means?

Venerable Fulton Sheen certainly enlightens us about Mary our Queen and Mother. Queen of Mercy. Queen of Angels and Men. Queen of Heaven and Earth. Queen of the Universe.

The Litany of Loreto also calls upon her as Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of all Saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen assumed into Heaven, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, Queen of families, and Queen of peace to pray for us.

In The World’s First Love, Bishop Sheen spurs us on to greater love for and trust in our Heavenly Queen, our Queen of Mercy, our Queen and Mother. She is never a monarch only waving to her children-subjects from a balcony high above them. That monarch knows no names and few individual stories in her limited kingdom. But “It was the greatest of all honors to be the Mother of Christ; but it was also a great honor to be the Mother of Christians,” Sheen writes. “There was no room in the inn for that first birth; but Mary had the whole world for her second.”

Sheen emphasizes now that she is “Queen of Heaven, Our Lord comes back to us again through Mary, passing His Life and His blessing through her hands as the Mediatrix of all graces. He came through her in Bethlehem; through her, we go back to Him and through her He comes back again to us.”

So this is a Queen who always wants to bring us to her Son the King. One of her titles shows us how unmatchable she is this way — Queen of Mercy.

Important Title for a Queen

Sheen begins there “is something about motherhood which is synonymous with the maximum of clemency, and which prevents us from being conquered in advance through despair and remorse by giving us hope in the midst of sins.” A mother’s nature is “to be the intercessor for the child before the justice of the father, pleading for her little one, asking that the child be dismissed, or saying that he is not understood, or that he should be given another chance, or that, in the future, he will improve. A mother's heart is always full of pity for the erring and the sinner and the fallen. No child ever offended a father without offending a mother, but the father concentrates more on the crime, the mother on the person.”

He emphasizes that one word never associated with Mary is “justice,” and he explains, “She is only its mirror. As the Mother of the Judge, she can influence His Justice; as Mother of Mercy, she can obtain mercy. … When Our Lord gave us half His Kingdom in His Mother, He made it almost impossible for any soul to go to hell who ever pleads to her to intercede to her Divine Son.”

Sheen calls the popular “Memorare” from St. Bernard “the prayer to Mary as the Queen of Mercy. As Christ intercedes for us at the throne of His Father, so Mary intercedes for us to her Divine Son.” Pray it.

Turning to the 14th-century revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden, Sheen adds what Bridget revealed the Blessed Mother said: The people of earth have need of a triple mercy: sorrow for their sins, penance to atone for them, and strength to do good.

“Mary promised these mercies to all who would call upon her,” the holy bishop explains. “As the Son shows the Father the Wounds He received in saving man in the Battle of Calvary, so Mary shows the body pierced with seven swords in the same Siege against Sin. No sinner in the world is beyond the hope of redemption; no one is so cursed that he cannot obtain pardon if he but calls on Mary. It is necessary to be in the state of sanctifying grace to be saved, but it is not necessary to be in the state of grace to call on Mary. As she was the representative of sinful humanity who gave consent to the Redemption, so she is still the representative of those who are not yet in a state of friendship with God. It is easy for the brothers of Christ to call on the Father, but it is not easy for the strangers and the enemies. This role Mary plays. She is not only the Mother of those who are in the state of grace, but the Queen of those who are not…Mary asks pardon even for those who, as agents of Satan, would recrucify Her Son.”

Her name is the opposite of Satan. She is one who “dispenses” mercy.

He shares another revelation, this time from St. Gemma Galgani, who was interceding with Our Lord for the soul of a particular sinner.

“As Gemma pleaded for mercy, the Savior recounted one by one his frightful and abnormal sins. After the Savior had refused three times, St. Gemma Galgani said: ‘Then I shall ask your Mother.’ Our Lord answered: ‘In that case, I cannot refuse.’ An hour later the sinner in question came to the confessor of the saint and made his full confession.”

Official Celebration of our Queen’s Coronation

In 1954, four years after proclaiming the dogma of the Assumption, Venerable Pius XII wrote his encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam (On Proclaiming The Queenship Of Mary) during the Year of Mary in which he established the feast of her Queenship to be celebrated by the Universal Church every May 31, the month of Mary. In 1969, St. Paul VI restructured the liturgical calendar, moving the feast to Aug. 22, which would be the octave day of the Assumption. At a general audience on the feast in 2012, Benedict XVI said this new date emphasized the close link between Mary’s royal nature and her glorification in body and soul beside her Son.

Pius XII then went on: “From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church” Christian people “in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis” have addressed “prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.”

Even the most ancient Church documents speak of Mary’s “queenly dignity.” After all, she is the mother of “the Prince of Peace,” and the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Mary has the “supreme royal dignity” of being “the Mother of God.” Pius XII explained, “But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation.”

That’s why Pius XII urges all “to approach with greater trust the throne of grace and mercy of our Queen and Mother, and beg for strength in adversity, light in darkness, consolation in sorrow; above all let them strive to free themselves from the slavery of sin and offer an unceasing homage, filled with filial loyalty, to their Queenly Mother.”

He urges the faithful to jam-pack churches to honor her on this and her other feast days: “May the beads of the Rosary be in the hands of all; may Christians gather, in small numbers and large, to sing her praises in churches, in homes, in hospitals, in prisons. May Mary's name be held in highest reverence, a name sweeter than honey and more precious than jewels.”

Whatever our state in life, we “should strive to bring alive the wondrous virtues of our heavenly Queen and most loving Mother through constant effort of mind and manner. Thus will it come about that all Christians, in honoring and imitating their sublime Queen and Mother, will realize they are truly brothers, and with all envy and avarice thrust aside, will promote love among classes, respect the rights of the weak, cherish peace.”

He also ordered the renewal of the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the feast “cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion.”

Pius XII was “convinced” that the feast of the Queenship of Blessed Virgin Mary “will help to preserve, strengthen and prolong that peace among nations which daily is almost destroyed by recurring crises. Is she not a rainbow in the clouds reaching towards God, the pledge of a covenant of peace?” We need the help of our Queen today more than ever.

Therefore, let all approach with greater confidence now than before, to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother to beg help in difficultly, light in darkness and solace in trouble and sorrow,” the Pope implored.

Because Mary our Queen turns “her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human race. Constituted by the Lord Queen of Heaven and earth” and stands “at the right hand of Her only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ” where “she petitions most powerfully with Her maternal prayers, and she obtains what she seeks.”

She is the Queen always approachable. We are never turned away. “Let us think of the Lord; the royalty and kingship of Christ is interwoven with humility, service and love. It is above all serving, helping and loving,” Benedict XVI told the general audience. “The same is true of Mary. She is Queen in her service to God for humanity.”

She “is always with us in the daily events of our life,” he reminded, adding that “we know that the One who holds a part of the world’s destinies in her hand is good, that she loves us and helps us in our difficulties.”

For us, then “devotion to Our Lady is an important element of spiritual life. In our prayers let us not fail to address her with trust. Mary will not fail to intercede for us with her Son. Looking at her, let us imitate her faith, her full availability to God’s plan of love, her generous acceptance of Jesus. Let us learn how to live from Mary. Mary is the Queen of Heaven who is close to God but she is also the Mother who is close to each one of us, who loves us and listens to our voice.”

Queen Mary watches over us, “her children: the children who turn to her in prayer, to thank her or to ask her for her motherly protection and her heavenly help, perhaps after having lost our way, or when we are oppressed by suffering or anguish,” Benedict said. Always go to our Queen “entrusting ourselves to her continuous intercession so that she may obtain for us from the Son every grace and mercy we need for our pilgrimage on the highways of the world.”

Blessed Mother painted by artist Giovanni Battista Gaulli, Museu da Casa Brasileira.

Why the Queenship of Mary Matters

I would suggest that the feast of the Queenship of Mary has to do with this choice: Where do you stand in the great spiritual struggle?