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Brandon Hardy wrote:

Hi, guys —

First I wanted to thank you for this website — I stumbled upon it while looking for the answer to the question I am writing about and have enjoyed browsing through the various kind, patient, and informative answers. I'm on a crash course after a life time of being a Protestant and have found the information very helpful!

So I have a couple questions that fall under the same umbrella. For a long time, I have felt a pull to Mary not just as the Mother, but particularly as the Mother of the Dead who tends to our souls after we pass.

Recently I have been keeping an altar of small physical reminders of this as a focal point for prayer. Since I began keeping this altar, I have come across two sets of abandoned funeral supplies (one on the side of the road) and found prayer cards honoring the respective deceased, both of which have prayers to Saint Francis on them. Since then, Saint Francis has also been on this altar.

That leads to my questions:

  • Are there any traditions that specifically speak of Mary as a Mother to the dead?
  • Are there any particular ties between Saint Francis and the dead or is he just a saint who is commonly called upon at funerals?

Thank you for your time!


  { Are there any traditions related to Mary as a Mother to the Dead and are there ties to St. Francis? }

Bob replied:


Off the top of my head, I don't know of any particular tradition giving Mary that title but it makes sense. God is God of the living and the dead, (though those in Christ suffer a bodily death only, to be raised again), and since Jesus gave his Mother to the Church (and really everyone) she has a spiritual kinship with souls of both the living and the dead and therefore has a motherly care and concern for them.

I will look to see what I can find, but it could be an innovative devotion that the Holy Spirit has led you to bring forth.

St. Francis, likewise, would have a brotherly care and concern for souls, so he would be an excellent Saint to include in your devotions, though I know of no particular devotion in respect to the deceased.

Peace in Christ,

Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Hi Brandon,

Just to add to Bob's fine answer, there is also a tradition of referring o Mary as:

  • Mother of Purgatory
  • Queen of Purgatory, and
  • Mother of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

I would also like to clarify the title Mary, Mother of the Dead. It should be understood that this is solely from the view of those pilgrimaging their way on Earth.

It would be much better to refer to Mary as Mother of the Faithful Departed, because in reality, those that have passed from this life are not dead at all but alive . . . far more alive than either you or me.

If you are unsure of what Purgatory is from a Catholic view read this posting:

and check out my other site dedicated to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory:

Helpers of the Holy Souls (


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