Mary Mother of Mercy

The full name of our congregation is: Brothers of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy. What does she mean to us?

Our Lady, Mother of Mercy. Our Founder, Bishop Zwijsen chose that name for his congregations, since the work of both the sisters and brothers would be in the field of mercy. One of the ancient names for Mary is Mater Misericordiae, Mother of Mercy. For the works of mercy it would only be good if Mary herself could be the protectress. Hence, from the very beginning of the congregations of the Sisters SCMM and Brothers CMM, Mary has an important place in our life of faith: she is for us a trusted person to whom we address ourselves with full confidence.

Mother of all Christians

Mary was the mother of Jesus and is therefore also perceived as the mother of all Christians. In the history of Christian faith and of the Church she has a unique position, close to God, and as well close to all people. As mother of Jesus, Mary had an important role in passing on God’s grace: we believe that still now, through her intercession and protection, she fulfils this role. The name Mother of Mercy expresses the very trust in that caring and overwhelming love which we may experience and which originates from God himself.

Loved by God

There is still something else. We can find in the Gospel of Luke Mary’s hymn of thanksgiving, the Magnificat. With words taken from old biblical traditions, Mary sings that God is merciful and cares about poor and little people. According to the Gospel, Jesus was surrounded by many of those poor and simple people: tradition also calls them the ‘little people of the Lord’ (anawim). The mercy and justice Jesus proclaimed were especially meant for them. Mary herself was one of these anawim, a simple woman, friendly and humble of heart, a ‘maidservant’ as the hymn of thanks of Mary herself puts it. She had a common and in that time frequently used name, Mirjam, with a beautiful meaning: ‘loved by God’.

The title Mother of Mercy is just another way of saying ‘Mirjam’: ‘loved by God’. Mary was a woman in whom God’s love became tangible and active. As one of the ‘poor of the Lord’ she experienced and proclaimed the wonder of God’s mercy.


Mother of Mercy: it is a name with many different meanings. For us, at any rate, it expresses the special presence, simplicity, humanness and love of Mary; her being moved and being available. We see her as a mirror of the merciful love of God and as an invitation to open up ourselves to that love.