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Our readers asked:

Why was Mary chosen as Jesus’ mother, and not some other woman?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:

Unfortunately, there’s no tidy answer to this.  The Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal text written around A.D. 150, tells an elaborate backstory of Mary’s childhood, portraying her as destined for holiness.  Of course, this text is not part of sacred Scripture, so it doesn’t offer a reliable answer.  It does, however, show that early Christians were interested in this very question.

Perhaps it’s best to focus on what we do know: first of all, that God made Mary free of original sin at the time of her own conception (the Immaculate Conception) in readiness for her role as Christ’s mother.  That said, we also believe that Mary was free to reject this role.   To quote the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium: “the holy Fathers see [Mary] as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience.”

Your question is a great one to ask ourselves, too:  “Why was I, myself, chosen to be [fill in the blank]?”  If God has a plan for each of us, then discerning and following that plan – as Mary did – is the best way to live a meaningful life.

Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. You can visit her blog at

The Author : Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
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  • Alan M

    Surely the role of Joseph must be considered. Matthew chapter 1 gives the genealogy of Joseph, to show that Jesus was descended from David. The connection seems tenuous as Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father, but regardless, unless God arranged the relationship, Mary’s selection had to be due to her romance with Joseph.

  • Bob S.

    I think there are some key conditions that might narrow down why Mary was chosen.

    1. She had to be a Jewish woman in the Abrahamic faith and her parents needed to be very faithful.
    2. The LORD needed to be born in just the right place, a humble village. His origin couldn’t be in a place that was too wealthy or too significant.
    3. She needed to be married to a man that was a descendant of King David.

    Given the need for humble origin perhaps many other women who had parents that were sufficiently righteous and whose husbands were in the Davidic line of succession were too prosperous or too renowned.

    I would say that she needed to be a virgin and without sin and all that but if I understand the teaching right then this was a result of the intervention of the Holy Spirit in her conception.

    I also love what Zeb posited – that she had to be someone willing to say Yes!

    ~ Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

  • Zeb

    I was just thinking about this today, and thought, what if God did not choose Mary, what if Mary chose God? The gospels may not tell us the stories of all the other Hebrew virgins Gabriel visited before he found one brave enough to say Yes.

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