Mary: Woman of Hope and One of Us

Last February, I gave a talk on Mary at St. Ladislas Parish in Westlake, Ohio. The talk was part of their Lenten Mission. The title of the talk was “Mary: Woman of Hope and One of Us.” The parish taped the presentation and sent it to me. Since the month of May is traditionally devoted to Mary, I am featuring the talk for my blog today. I am also including below a short version of the handout I used. It is essentially an outline of my presentation. Here is that outline:

Mary: Woman of Hope and One of Us
by Sister Melannie Svoboda, SND

Mary’s life from scripture and tradition:

  1. Annunciation: the angel Gabriel appears to Mary (Lk. 1:26-38)
  2. Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth (Lk. 1:39-56)
  3. Joseph’s dilemma: 2 options: have her stoned, divorce her (Mt. 1:18-25) Joseph chooses the third option: Marries Mary and raises the child as his own
  4. Birth in Bethlehem: Mary at the mercy of political forces beyond her control
  5. Flight into Egypt: (Mt. 2: 13-23) Holy Family becomes refugees, immigrants in a foreign land
  6. Finding Jesus in the Temple: (Lk. 2: 41-52): the anguish of a missing child
  7. Jesus’ ministry begins at a wedding reception: Mary’s “They have no wine.”
  8. Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, death: Mary stands at the foot of the cross
  9. Jesus’ Resurrection: Is Mary the first one to see him alive again?
  10. Pentecost: Mary is with the disciples when the Hoy Spirit comes

How is Mary “one of us”?

  • She was a real woman living in a real time and a real place—just as we are.
  • She experienced times of joy and times of pain and struggle—as we do.
  • She spoke to God in prayer every day—as we also try to do.
  • She was a woman of hope. Her hope carried her faith and love into the future—just as our hope can do for us.

Here is the video of my talk on Mary. The talk is 50 minutes long, but the video also includes an opening Lenten prayer service and a closing prayer service. If you want to view just my talk, fast forward the video to 21 minutes. My talk ends 50 minutes later at 1 hr. and 8 min. Click below to start the video:

I welcome you comments below.


  1. John E Hopkins on May 22, 2023 at 11:08 am

    Good morning, Melannie…

    I just listened to your talk about Mary. I loved every word. Your presence exudes gentleness, kindness, and tenderness. So nice to hear your voice again. Your concluding your talk with a quote from Caryl Houselander is meaningful to me. In 2013, my wife Kerry was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was just discovering Caryl’s writings, and I also found out that she had died of breast cancer. I immediately asked for intercession. I am so happy to report the Kerry has been cancer free for ten years! My favorite Mary quote are her last recorded words of scripture: “Do whatever he tells you to do.” Words to live by! Thank you!

  2. June Lawniczak on May 24, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Thank you for sharing your video. It’s great to actually see you! I continue to be an avid reader of your blog. You are such an inspiration. God bless!

  3. MaryJane on May 27, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    Oh Sister, what a gift your video is! Listening to you made me feel like you share many of our Blessed Mother’s traits – kindness, gentleness, patience. Thank you for time spent getting to know Mary better. Thank you, too, for Sunflowers and always inspiring me each week with your beautiful words. You are a treasure!

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