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A Crown of Twelve Stars?

Q. Why is Mary sometimes portrayed with a crown of twelve stars?

A. The crown she was given as Queen of Heaven is sometimes depicted with twelve stars because the book of Revelation speaks of how “a great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1).

Since the woman is identified as giving birth to “a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (v. 6), Scripture interpreters have long taken this as a reference to Mary, because this description of her Son clearly identifies Him as Jesus (see Revelation 2:26–27; Psalm 2:8–9).

Mary herself can also be seen as a personification of ancient Israel and of the Church. The twelve stars thus symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles of the Church.

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