First Saturday and the Spiritual Motherhood of Mary

Written by
Lawrence Maginot

Many of you have probably heard about the movement for a fifth Marian Dogma, specifically to declare the Blessed Virgin Mary as “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate,” and you wonder how this movement aligns with the message of Our Lady of Fatima.  We know that Sister Lucia never recorded Our Lady at Fatima ever saying anything about a fifth Marian dogma, but this does not mean there are not many significant parallels to the Fatima message.  Many of you might be surprised to hear that the movement for a fifth Marian dogma actually pre-dates the supernatural events at Fatima. According to the online lectures given by Dr. Mark Miravalle, it was Cardinal Mercier, the Primate of Belgium in 1915, who initiated an international Catholic petition drive. Bishops, clergy, and faithful asked that the Holy Father solemnly proclaim that Mary is the “Spiritual Mother of All Peoples” (such a proclamation required defining Mary as “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate.”).  With World War I already inflicting heavy affliction upon Europe and the world, the Cardinal reasoned that such a proclamation would lead to historic graces of peace and mercy for the world.  The Cardinal was highly respected by Pope Benedict XV, and though the Holy Father discerned that he could not immediately respond to the full request of the petition, as the War continued on for two more years the Pope led a public prayer to Our Lady on May 5, 1917, in which he asked:

Since all graces which the Author of all good deigns to grant to the poor children of Adam, by a loving design of His Divine Providence are dispensed through the hands of the most holy Virgin, we wish that the petition of Her most afflicted children, more than ever in this terrible hour, may turn with lively confidence to the august Mother of God.

To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth – from noble temples and tiniest chapels, . . .  Let it bear to Her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of innocent little ones, the sighs of every generous heart: that Her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask for be obtained for our agitated world.

Eight days later, Our Lady appeared at Fatima, as if anticipating a much greater fulfillment of the words expressed in that anguished prayer than anyone could have imagined. 

Though at Fatima Our Lady never mentioned a fifth Marian dogma, she did express a deep concern about everything that would be opposed to it.  She said that in order to save poor sinners from going to hell and to bring peace to the world, God wished to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart.   She showed the children her heart pierced with thorns and asked the children specifically to make reparation for the sins which afflict her.  Later she appeared to Lucia, again showing her afflicted heart, and asked Lucia to promote the Five First Saturdays of Communions of Reparation.  Later when Lucia was asked by her spiritual director about the reason for five first Saturdays, and not a different number, she took this question to prayer and felt our Lord respond:

Daughter, the motive is simple: There are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies spoken against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

1st: Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.

2nd: Against Her Virginity.

3rd: Against the Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time, to receive Her as the Mother of mankind.

4th: Those who seek publicly to implant, in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect, and even hate for this Immaculate Mother.

5th: Those who revile Her directly in Her Sacred Images.

Here, dear daughter, is the motive that led the Immaculate Heart of Mary to petition Me to ask for this small act of reparation.  And, out of regard for her, to move My mercy to pardon those souls who have had the misfortune to offend her.  As for you, seek endlessly, with your prayers and sacrifices, to move Me to mercy in regard to these poor souls.

(Notes of Fr. Gonzalves from questions posed to Sr. Lucia, Documents, 284.)

As Dr. Miravalle explains, all the other Marian dogmas define special privileges granted to Mary, but without a fifth Marian dogma defining her spiritual motherhood, the dogmatic teaching on Mary remains incomplete.  These privileges are not granted to Mary merely for her own sake, but for the salvation of the world and all her children.  Let us continue with great confidence to make ardent reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart in the World.


Lawrence Maginot is a co-custodian of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima, and author of The Marian Manifesto.

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