Everybody loves Mary. If you’re a Catholic reading this on its original publication date, you have recently gone or will be going to Mass to honor her as the Immaculate Conception. (Otherwise, the next page you visit might be the closest parish’s confession times.) You probably heard the same homily reminder you get every year that the Immaculate Conception is Mary, not Jesus. Or maybe you heard something different. And if you’re not a Catholic, Mary is probably not particularly important to you on this specific day.
But she may well be important to you anyway. Even non-Catholics have a great affinity for the woman whom Maureen Orth, writing for National Geographic Magazine, recently declared “the world’s most powerful woman.” I know I wasn’t the only person pleasantly startled by that headline, so I dug in to the article to see how, from a journalistic perspective, the Blessed Mother has enraptured so many.