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What was Mary’s real name?

Mary is known by many different titles (Blessed Mother, Madonna, Our Lady), epithets (Star of the SeaQueen of Heaven, Cause of Our Joy), invocations (Theotokos, Panagia, Mother of Mercy), and other names (Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Guadalupe).

Most English speakers forget that all the people from the Scriptures we read were called something different than what we are used to. So when we have heard the name “Mary”, for decades we naturally assume this was her actual given name.

However, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “The Hebrew form of her name is miryam [or myriam].

Many saints have held that the original definition of the name has great symbolism and meaning. Some scholars have seen it in the Hebrew words mar (bitter) and yam (sea). Probably referring to Mary’s sorrows and sufferings at the cross.

This most holy, sweet and worthy name was eminently fitted to so holy, sweet and worthy a virgin. For Mary means a bitter sea, star of the sea, the illuminated or illuminatrix. Mary is interpreted [as] Lady. Mary is a bitter sea to the demons; to men she is the Star of the sea; to the Angels she is illuminatrix, and to all creatures she is Lady.

Hail Mary, full of Grace.