Mary's incredible story begins in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, in the New Testament. A teenage Galilean Jewish virgin, Mary was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph when she miraculously conceived her son by the Holy Spirit. Luke begins his account of Mary's life with the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she had been chosen to bear the Messiah. When Joseph took note of her pregnancy, he intended to leave her, but another angel of the Lord told him that she was to bear the Son of God, and that he should marry her without hesitation.
When a decree of the Roman Emperor Augustus required that Joseph return to his hometown of Bethlehem to register for a Roman census, Mary went with him. Finding no room at a local inn, the Blessed Virgin gave birth to her son in a stable, wrapping him in swaddling clothes and laying him in a manger. Some time later, after a premonition that King Herod was planning to murder the baby Jesus, the Holy Family escaped, eventually settling in Nazareth.
Mary appears again in the only account of Jesus' adolescence, when she finds him at the Temple. Later, she suggested he perform his first miracle - turning water into wine. She appears again throughout Jesus' life until his Crucifixion, for which she was also present. As such, Mary is often depicted in art cradling her the body of her son, the Lamb of God.
After Christ's ascension, Mary is mentioned by name when returning from Mount Olive, but then never again. The Holy Mother's death was not recorded in the scriptures, but in Catholic, Orthodox and other churches, it is doctrine that she was directly assumed into Heaven.
Quick Facts about Holy Mary
Feast Days: January 1, January 8, February 2, February 11, March 25, May 13, May 31, June 27, August 15 (holy day of obligation,) August 22, September 8, September 12, September 15, October 7, November 21, December 8 (holy day of obligation,) and December 12.
Best known for: Being Mary Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin.
Born: September 8, c. 18 BC (traditional; celebrated as the Nativity of Mary)