Note to my fellow Catholics: please don't call a statue of Mary "her"!


I am prepared to be assailed by not a few well-meaning Catholics, but here goes:

I am a devout, orthodox Catholic who gives honor to our Blessed Mother. We have a statue of her in our garden. (Note: this sentence, in which I call Mary “her” is not what I’m referring to in this thread! :wink: )

However, I am calling on all Catholics to be cautious when talking about statues/icons/devotionals. Please do not talk about the statue as if it were Our Lady herself. I cringe when I hear my dear fellow Catholics saying about a statue, “Please put her right here.” The statue is NOT Mary. It is a reminder. An image.

Just like if I had a photo of my dad I would not say, 'Please put my dad on the wall".

Lest our dear Protestant brethren hear our innocent comment and interpret it, mistakenly, as idol worship, we ought to be cautious about our language when talking about our Blessed Mother!


oddly enough, just got done unpacking family photos, putting updated ones in the frames, and hanging them, and I told my husband the whole time, put Suzy here and Ben there etc.


Perhaps we say “her” instead of “it”…as in…I have a statue of St Rita.I put"it" on my dresser…To me that doesn’t sound very nice…so I would say…I put “her” on the dresser.

Many of us speak in a conversational manner rather than strictly perfect English grammar…in my case it’s probably because I’m a country gal who ain’t well ed-ju-ma-cated:)


its not our problem if protestants interpret it wrongly. they are going to take offense when we have statues anyway.


I also would also refer to a photograph by name - “Let’s put Kim over here…” and I refer to statues the same way. Catholics aren’t the only ones who do it, though - I recently bought an old yard statue of Mary at an estate sale of a couple who were lifelong Church of Christ members. (They also had a St. Francis and a huge angel) Their daughter-in- law and daughter both referred fondly to the statues as “him” and “her”, which really tickled me.

If Protestants misunderstand and object, it’s a good opportunity to correct misperceptions about Catholic devotion to Mary and the saints.


“Where do you want me to hang this picture of your mom?” my husband asked.
"Oh just put _____ over by the rest of the family"
Possible choices…




Any choice is correct.We are discussing a picture.A picture can be referred to as “it”


Oh, I don’t know. I do that, and so do many other people.


good point ! :thumbsup:

Also, lets stop chasing after claims of visions and other phenomena, like the Blessed Mother appearing in the windows on the side of a building, or in piece of pastry.



Quoted for truth.

There are just some things people are not going to understand unless they practice it. I speak casually of the saints and images of them because of the personal intimate relationship I have developed with them. They are my brothers and sisters, and the Holy Virgin, my Mother. We don’t have to water down our behavior; let’s just answer any objections with how Christ would.


I too refer to inanimate objects, especially images of human beings, by ‘their’ name.

I won a staring contest with George Washington that way once. We were staring each other down, me a living being and him a poster in a classroom, and suddenly the tape holding him up at the top broke, and so he ‘blinked’. I won. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am not going to call a picture of a loved one, saint or family member or saintly family member, ‘it’. We were actually instructed never to do that in my family now that I think about it.


Honestly, and with no intent to assail the OP, I got over self-censoring myself to meet with other’s approval years ago.

I would like to think that the wisdom of my years has offered me some discretion and prudence in speech, but I’m honestly not going to specifically tailor my particular expression of devotion to Our Lady for Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, et. all.

I’m going to go renew my Consecration to Our Lady now- I wonder if that’ll fly with the Protestant crowd? :hmmm:


Normally when it comes to conversing with mom who is a Pentecostal Holiness or whoever else I’m around that isn’t Catholic… I normally tend to try to find the middle ground.

I’m definitely not ashamed to remind myself that Mary is my Mother by denoting the statue of Her by saying “her” or “it” or “the statue”…

What’s the big deal… people pleasing gets you no where…


This is something only an American Catholic would even fathom.

Enough said.

At least if you know anything about Catholicism and cultures out side of here.


Pro Domina,
Would you mind explaining how American Catholics differ from the rest of Catholicism with regard to our statues? Are we really that weird? (and I mean that in the very nicest way…)


I’m not certain what you mean. I’m the OP and I was not born in the US.


Today we refer to many things as her or him.

Such as a Hurrican. They even give names to the Hurricans and refer to them as “her”. ( many years ago a Hurrican would have never been named after a man.)

We call Ships and Airplanes “her”. Yet truely they are only a ship or airplane.

Our Semi Truck, when we are talking about it is always called “her, or she”.

Very often in todays world we refer to many things as “her or him”.

If we can do this with all sorts of things, when talking about a Statue of Mary as “her”. Shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.


Personally, I would not want to call a statue which is the image of the Blessed Mother “it”. I do not care what anyone else thinks or if they get the wrong idea. I do not need to explain myself to them. I love my statues for what they represent and I definitely would refer to them as “she” or “her”. I feel too close to the Blessed Mother to call the statue “it”.



Perhaps it all comes down to love and respect.

What irks me is when parents refer to a newborn as “it”…
“The baby is crying,please take care of it”

Then as the bonding process continues… referring to the child by name.

So I call my statues by name or at least him/her…because they are so dear to me…And after all,we are indeed family.


Our parish has a traveling statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our family decided we would “host” the statue in our home for two weeks. I took my 4 year old to the parish office to pick up the statue which was all wrapped up for safe transport. Her crown was wrapped seperately in a small tupperware container. I said to my daugher, “I’ll carry Mary, you can carry the tupperware.” To which she said, “Is this her food?”



Ok. Just to play the devil’s advocate here…

What about creating scandal? Many in this thread have said it’s not their problem what others think of their practises, but isn’t that part of why we are vigilant about not creating scandal?

We should be conscious of what we are portraying to others, lest we create the image that we’re sinning in someone else’s mind. That’s why, for example, we should not sleep at our boyfriend’s apartment, even if we’re planning to be chaste, lest it create scandal. Of course, we could say, “I don’t give a hoot what others think of my sleeping at his apartment. I know I’m being chaste, and God know that, so that’s all that matters.”

So, even if we know we’re not idolizing Mary, perhaps by calling the statue “her” we’re creating scandal??

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