Mary the Perfect Contemplative: Carmelite Insights on the Interior Life of Our Lady

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Mary the Perfect Contemplative

Carmelite Insights on the Interior Life of Our Lady

Barbara Hughes

Mary the Perfect Contemplative is a fresh and beautiful portrait of the Mother of God. From her immaculate conception to her bodily assumption into heaven, Mary was set apart by God as the vessel of humanity’s redemption. Thrice favored as daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mary was endowed with supernatural gifts that enabled a contemplative life of grace. Unlike us, she was conceived without sin. Yet her reliance on faith, without the full vision of God’s plan of salvation during her earthly life, makes her for us the perfect model of faith. Pondering in her heart the mysteries she encountered throughout her life, she is the perfect contemplative.

Author Barbara Hughes, O.C.D.S., looks to Sacred Scripture as the primary and essential reference for her portrait of our Lady. For colorful detail she draws on two thousand years of Sacred Tradition, sourced in the writings of the church fathers, saints, and theologians. Finally, Hughes finds further depth and exquisite details of Mary’s interior life in the mystical writings of the Carmelite saints and Doctors of the Church.

The saints of Carmel—the canonized brothers and sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel—are invaluable guides that help us navigate the mystical waters of contemplation and union with God, which Mary exemplifies. Saints John of the Cross and Teresa of Jesus teach us the importance of living by faith, especially when God appears to be absent or when his plans are veiled to the eyes of even the holiest people such as Mary. This book is for all of Mary’s beloved children—to offer them an intimate portrait of their Blessed Mother.

  • ICS code: ICS-MPC
  • Format: paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • ISBN: 978-1-939272-58-4


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About the Author

Barbara Hughes, O.C.D.S., holds a master’s degree in formative spirituality. A Secular Discalced Carmelite for more than three decades, she helped found a Secular Order community in Savannah, Georgia. As a wife, mother, and grandmother, she combines insights gleaned from contemplative prayer with pastoral experience on the parish and national level. She is an experienced retreat facilitator and spiritual guide and has authored numerous articles on prayer and spirituality. A regular columnist for The Catholic Virginian since 2000, and Liguorian from 2018–2021, her book, Ministry and the Mystical Path: Formation Guide for Lay Ministers, was published by NCEA in 2009 and is based on the teachings of John of the Cross. In Mary the Perfect Contemplative, Barbara Hughes takes readers deep into the interior life of Mary, by artfully weaving Scripture with the teachings of Carmelite saints.