St Werburgh's Roman Catholic Parish, Chester

St Mary and the Infant Jesus

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, stands holding her son in this statue, which, paired with the statue of her husband, Joseph the Carpenter, places the Holy Family in a central position in St Werburgh's Church, standing either side of the sanctuary and altar.

For Catholics, Mary is significant in many ways. As the person who would give birth to the Messiah, she was from the beginning untainted by the the original sin of Adam and Eve that overshadows all humanity (this quality is celebrated in the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December). She learned that she would be the mother of God through an angelic visitation (the Feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on 25 March). She gave birth to Jesus in the undignified surroundings of a stable (the Feast of the Nativity of Christ - Christmas - is celebrated on 25 December). Upon her own death she is taken up, body and soul, into Heaven (the Feast of the Assumption on 15 August) where she reigns as Queen. She is the patron and icon of many causes and qualities - Immaculate Mary, Mother of the Church, Mother of Mercy, Mother of Sorrows, Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Morning Star, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Mother of Perpetual Succour, the New Eve, Our Lady of Victory, Comfort of the Afflicted, Help of Christians. Some of these titles are reflected in the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary, in the left aisle of the Church.

But in this central location is placed the representation of a mother with her child, both looking out towards the people, Jesus with his arms wide in a gesture of embrace encompassing the whole world.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.