Pope Pius XII established Aug. 22 as the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary in 1954; but Mary’s role as queen over the universal Church finds its roots in the Scriptures.
- At the Annunciation, the archangel Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would rule forever on the throne of David.
- At the Visitation, Elizabeth called Mary the “mother of my Lord.”
The Old Testament foreshadows this queenship of Mary, by teaching us about the honor accorded to the Queen Mother in Israelite society. In his book Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, theologian Dr. Scott Hahn writes and speaks about the “Queen Mother,” called the “gebirah” in Hebrew. In traditional Jewish life, the “gebirah” occupied a unique and powerful position throughout the history of ancient Israel’s monarchy. When the Queen Mother, or gebirah, entered the room, the king would rise to his feet as a sign of respect; and the king always acceded to his mother’s wishes.
For example, Solomon crowned his mother Bathsheba, the “Queen Mother” who sat at his right side. In all, through Israelite history there are 16 “Queen Mothers.” It is this Queen Mother, who typically ascends to the throne after menopause, who exerts the greatest influence on the king.