Is Mary the incarnation of the Holy Spirit?


Thanks for your clarifications!


This sets the Catholics’ hair on fire too.
Only God is God. Mary is perhaps the most blessed of creations, but creation she is.

Mary is called the spouse of the Holy Spirit.


That is wrong. She is very close to the Holy Spirit, the spouse of the Holy Spirit.
She is not the Holy Spirit. That is heretical.


I read somewhere that Our Lady of Revelation is not an approved apparition.


Gradually over the years, the apparitions became well established. An attractive, simple shrine was built staffed by the Conventual Franciscans. Pope Pius XII blessed the statue of Our Lady of the Revelation in St. Peter’s Square. Due to the many miracles—–physical ones and conversions as well as the miracle of the sun—–the number of people who pray at the Grotto and make pilgrimages there steadily increases.

Seems strange to me that there would be a shrine and statues if it was not true. The way it is explained by a priest at Sensus Fidelium it is a continuation of Fatima.


Sensus Fidelium, eh? You wouldn’t be referring to Fr. Chad would you? In that case I’m highly inclined to believe in it. That guy doesn’t mess around, he’s extremely orthodox and if anyone at Sensus Fidelium said it’s true, it probably is.

Thanks for the info.


Yes, I believe that is normally what is meant of the triple jeweled crown of Mary.

But think: she described herself as so lowly, she was like a speck to God. Think of how much less we are compared to the LORD! Truly, God is great.


No. It’s not Fr. Ripperger…but another very holy priest who doesn’t like his name tossed around. He’s actually my favorite. You can check out his 7 part series called Our Lady of Revelation at SF.


It’s not an approved apparition, and the visionary’s info hasn’t been approved, either. People are not supposed to promulgate or discussed unapproved apparitions on these forums. C’mon, guys, this isn’t difficult.

Moving back to the original topic – The idea that Mary can be called “daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit” is not new info from some apparition; it’s old stuff.

Of course, the proper search term on or is “spouse of the Holy Ghost.” First result I saw was from 1881, and there are earlier ones. There’s a passage in St. Mary of Agreda’s “Mystical City of God” visions where she sees “Daughter of the eternal Father, spouse of the Holy Ghost, and mother of the True Light” written all over Mary’s clothes, for goodness’ sake. All three titles were included in several popular Marian litanies. You’ll also find tons of Protestant “Read until offended” exposes, where they get offended by these titles.

One of the nicer things I found in this quick search was a theology book that pointed out that all Catholics have bodies that are temples of the Holy Spirit, and souls that are espoused to the Holy Spirit (since the Holy Spirit dwells within our bodies as in a temple, and dwells within our souls to inspire us). So once again, Marian titles that seem very extravagant are often ones she just wears as a model Christian, and which we all share in some measure.

Here’s an old article by Dave Armstrong about the title, where he has quotes back to St. Augustine.

Here’s a nice Illustrated Litany of Loreto from the 1800’s, with info and meditations about various Marian titles, including this one.

So let’s not drag in the unneeded stuff.


Really? I didn’t know that. So then this:

Gradually over the years, the apparitions became well established. An attractive, simple shrine was built staffed by the Conventual Franciscans. Pope Pius XII blessed the statue of Our Lady of the Revelation in St. Peter’s Square. Due to the many miracles-----physical ones and conversions as well as the miracle of the sun-----the number of people who pray at the Grotto and make pilgrimages there steadily increases.

Pope John Paul II blessed three statues of Our Lady of the Revelation for Italy, Australia and the United States, according to Fr. Edward Kelty, a resident of Rome. Of these shrines, Our Lady said: “Wherever a Sanctuary of the Virgin of Revelation is erected, it will be for all an oasis of conversion during the purgation of the Church.”

can be ignored? How about Medjugorje? I know I’ve seen talk about that on these forums. Perhaps it’s not allowed in this new format? And I would point out that the new “unapproved” apparition is inline with the “old stuff” you referenced.


Was there a language issue? Perhaps the priest isn’t a native English speaker? Certainly I could see him referring to Our Lady as a living icon of the Holy Spirit…


Oh, no. He’s a native English speaker, born and raised in this country (USA). A couple of weeks ago, he published in the misalette/bulletin that he wants to “make” everyone in (our town), “Not just Catholic, but Marian.” So he’s raised a few eyebrows.


Re: partial approval of unapproved apparitions?

A bishop, or a pope, has a lot of leeway for how they deal with an apparition, a devotion, or an apparition site.

For example… let’s look at St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque. She experienced tons of apparitions and visions of Jesus, His Sacred Heart, Our Lady, etc. Those visions and apparitions were not approved until a fair number of years after she kicked the bucket. (Partly because there was so much material and it didn’t stop coming until she passed away, partly because the whole thing was being kept under wraps including her identity – her fellow nuns, best friends, and family mostly didn’t even know – and partly because the visions and apparitions didn’t seem as important as the goal they were urging her to get done.)

What did get approved before she passed away was the goal of encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart, in certain specific ways. There was nothing weird or even new about the devotion; it was just a more specific form of the old Five Wounds devotion. So after waiting around and thinking about it, her confessor started promoting it on his own hook. So did some of her superiors in the order of nuns. So did her brother, who was a parish priest. The push was supernatural, but people didn’t need to know about the supernatural part to get interested in the Sacred Heart. The same thing happened with certain designs of Sacred Heart picture that the saint pushed. The reasons were supernatural, but the interest in the picture was there for natural reasons. Eventually people started building shrines and altars dedicated to the Sacred Heart, which did need a little bishop approval, but again didn’t actually rule on the apparitions’ validity. (Especially since most people still had no idea this was included in the visions.)

This seems to be a similar situation. Devotion to a particular statue of Mary? Nothing weird there. Perfectly normal prayers and devotions? Okey dokey, no special approval needed. Use of a normal title of Mary? Go at it, folks!

This sort of thing is only cracked down on, if a bishop sees bad fruits and weirdness ensuing. It’s encouraging if everything is normal. OTOH, it doesn’t really prove anything besides local piety, if the fruits are good. Any normal parish with a program of devotion should have good fruits. So it’s all about wait and see.


That would mean the Trinity is a false doctrine. Though, we all know this is untrue. Mary is not God incarnate. That would make God a Quadrinity.


Well, there are certain ways in which Mary is like the Holy Spirit, because she was indwelled by the Holy Spirit in many ways (which is why some call her “Temple of the Holy Spirit,” and why she is Queen of Prophets and Queen of Poets).

St. Maximilian Kolbe does have a late piece of writing where he meditated on how the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son,” and therefore said that the Holy Spirit was sort of “the Uncreated Immaculate Conception.” Which is kinda fun. But yeah, he got arrested right after that, so it’s not something he got a chance to work out in a rigorous way. As it stands, that’s pretty much the theology version of writing a haiku. It’s pretty, but is it factually true?

Anyway, neither Kolbe’s earlier theology theory nor this one is really saying that Mary is exactly like the Holy Spirit. It’s saying that, given Mary’s humanity and the Holy Spirit’s divinity, they have a strong affinity to each other, such that Mary does a really good job understanding the Holy Spirit’s will.

And that’s really no different than the older imagery of Mary being the Holy Spirit’s loom or harp or handmaiden or spouse.


You do have a point. Unfortunatley, neither of us can confirm this, no matter how convincing it may be.


Well, yeah. And that’s why most of the time, it’s a good idea for priests to “keep away from the edge” when preaching. I mean, sure, it may sound like a great idea to talk about what is enthusing you, but if you’re not super-sure, it doesn’t really belong as being taught in church.

It’s also not fair. If you publish in a theology journal, the other theologians can argue with you. Your parishioners can’t really stand up and demand an explanation, or point out where you’re messing up. Preaching is supposed to be about handing on what the apostles handed down to us.


I think it is correct to see that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are an eternal family. the human family reflect them, with the husband, wife, and child. So I see no problem with understanding the Trinity also as Husband, Wife, and Child.

The Second Person (Jesus), in His Divinity, emphasizes femininity (receptivity), The Seond Person, as the Church teaches, receives His being from the First Person.

The Holy Spirit is more difficult for me to understand. But I know that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the concrete sign of the Holy Spirit, the Infinite Mercy poured forth from the Son of God.

Mary is not literally the Incarnation of the Holy Spirit. But St. Max. Kolbe said she is the “quasi-incarnation” to testify to the absolute union between Mary and the Holy Spirit which together conceived Jesus Christ


No, you’ve got that wrong way around. There isn’t any wife-like Person of the Holy Trinity.

Human masculinity and fatherhood derives from the Father and the Son, and in a different way from the Holy Spirit. Human femininity is something created and invented by God, as totally new, although also as a perfect counterpart to masculinity. (“You have left the good wine until now” - ha!)

Now obviously there are aspects of God’s care that could be called motherly, or more than motherly. (Jesus’ remark about gathering Jerusalem under his wings like a mother hen with her chicks, for example.)

But except in a sort of poetic and rare sense, it’s not a very useful area of comparison. Given the continual temptation for people to try to understand the Holy Spirit or Mary as goddess figures, and given the historic temptation for Jewish people to worship Ashtoreth and Elat and Ereshkigal and the rest of the pagan goddesses, it’s actually something worse than un-useful.


No, just no. Mary is a creature.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit