Written by Ekkehardt Mueller
Anyone who visits the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Washington, DC, would notice the variety of depictions and statues of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She comes in different forms and shapes—with a fair complexion or with different shades of skin color, slim and tender or as a robust figure. Different cultures have received her as their own, and although she was a Near Eastern youth, she has been made an African, Asian, Caucasian, or Hispanic lady, being incorporated into these respective settings. For some people Mary is simply the wonderful and extraordinary mother of Jesus. For others she is the mother of God, a resurrected and ascended heavenly queen who intercedes for human beings and at times seems to understand the human plight better than the Son of God Himself. For still others she is even a kind of female deity in the pantheon of gods—an idealized woman.