The Catholic Church gives the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, a special place in her prayers. Her presence is noticeable in the liturgical calendar and there are many feasts that immortalize her memory. On September 8, the Church celebrates the birthday of Mary.

The most ancient witnesses regarding the feast go back to the fifth century in Jerusalem and are connected to the Church of Saint Anne in the Old City of Jerusalem.


The birth of Mary and her life appear as an important subject in Christian literature after the New Testament period. One of the important sources for the life of Mary is the Proto-Gospel of Saint James, which was written in the middle of the second century and constitutes Christian midrashic literature, similar to Rabbinic midrash. The aim of midrashic literature is to fill in what is missing in Scripture and to add explanations and to compose narratives that provide the answers to questions that were asked about characters and events in the Biblical stories where not much detail is given.

In the book, it tells about the birth of Mary through miraculous intervention. Her parents, Anne and Joachim, were God fearing Jews without children. Following much prayer and supplication, Anne gave birth to her daughter, Mary. According to what is told, when Mary was three years old, her parents handed her over to the Temple so that she might grow in holiness and fear of God. When she entered the Temple, she danced like Miriam (Mary), the sister of Moses. At the age of 12, Joseph was chosen for her as a husband. According to the book, Mary was chosen to weave a new veil for the Temple and she began the work when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her in order to announce to her the birth of her son, Jesus.

The feast gives us yet another opportunity to pray that we might say a definitive "Yes" to God like Mary did and thus become like her, in whose womb the Word of God dwelt.

(Painting: Leonardo da Vinci, Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary and the Christ child)