Mary’s Life Journey and Her Amazing Yes!

Author: Denise Mercado

Publisher: Books & Blogs, LLC. 2017

Age Range: Older teen


This is an amazing book. I learnt so much about the rosary, and about Mary, mother of Jesus, by reading through this book.  It is the type of book that can be used as a meditation aid when saying the rosary, or a book to read from cover to cover because it is packed full of interesting information and reflections on Mary, Saint Joseph and the mysteries of the rosary.

I loved reading through the first few chapters where Denise Mercado teases out information about how Our Lady lived and the sequence of events in her life. Starting with the Gospel stories, and then using a range of other sources, Mercado seeks out recurring patterns, themes and ideas about Mary and asks us to ponder what we learn about her and her special place in salvation history by considering what we find.  Were there perhaps midwives present when Mary gave birth?  And what more is written about Saint Joseph in other ancient sources?  These ideas are fleshed out and we are invited to ponder what we discover.

There is also a section that details the history of the rosary and the different forms of the rosary used throughout time by different Saints and religious orders.  It is interesting to contemplate how and why these different forms of the rosary have emerged and changed over time.

Denise Mercado brings two strengths to this book.  Firstly, the incredible scope and breadth of resource material that she draws on – from the Gospels to the Quran to writings from Father Donald Colloway, Bishop Robert Baron, Edith Stein, St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Louis de Montfort, the Catholic Catechism, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council to name just a few!  I was truly impressed by the broad range of sources used to introduce new ideas into the discussion.

Denise Mercado does not suggest that these other sources are to be believed as “Gospel truths”, rather, she peruses them to see if there is anything we can find that adds to our understanding of Mother Mary’s experiences and life.  It is an interesting exercise to read that Mary is the only woman referred to by name in the Quran.   It is also interesting to read that the Quran states that Mary and Jesus were the only two ever born who were “not pricked by Satan” which elevates them both above all others. Mercado continually brings our attention back to what is approved or not approved as she describes different sources, and I felt comfortable reading her material.

The second strength of this book is Mercado’s wonderful and insightful meditations and reflections.  Using prayer, deep reflection and a healthy dose of imagination, the gospel stories are brought to life in a way that reveals new perspectives and breathes life into stories that we have read hundreds of times before. Mercado observes, walks and talks with people in the Gospel stories from the marvelous viewpoint of her imagination. For this reason, I can see myself using this book time and again as an aid to saying the Rosary, helping to contemplate each mystery in a unique way. Mercado also inserts her own memories and stories from her own life as she reflects on the events of each of the mysteries.

The sorrowful mysteries are graphic and bloody.  Once again, Mercado cites other sources to describe the brutal Roman process of scourging and crucifixion.  She wonders how Mary could have stood by and witnessed such horror, other than to be full of Grace.

I recommend this book to you if you are a curious explorer of different ideas and traditions. The book is quite long, and sometimes the amount of information felt overwhelming and I had to put it down for a short time. The accounts of each mystery of the rosary and Mercado’s meditations might be read over time as you pray your rosaries. A warning that the sorrowful mysteries are graphic.  All in all an impressive book that does not, as far as I could see, in any way contradict Catholic doctrine or teaching.

You can purchase Mary’s Life Journey HERE.

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