“But for someone who grew up seeing statues and paintings of Mary that were always of a blonde-haired, pale-skinned female (and who had internalized that white skin was the fairest color of them all), to see a brown-skinned woman cast as an accurate portrayal of what Mary could have looked like felt healing.” – Diahann Reyes

Stories From the Belly

I grew up feeling reverent toward the Virgin Mary. When my pregnant mom still hadn’t gone into labor a few days after my due date, she prayed to the Holy Mother for help so that the doctor wouldn’t have to induce her. My mom started having contractions just hours later.

My parents gave me Mary’s name twice—Marie is my middle name and Lourdes, which is a French form of the name Mary, is my baptismal name. Every night as a child with my mom sitting bedside, I would pray aloud: “Hail Mary, full of Grace…. Blessed is the fruit of diamond Jesus…”

I would say the word “diamond” with special emphasis because I thought it was so beautiful that there was such a thing as a diamond Jesus even though I didn’t know what that was. It wasn’t until I was 10 that I figured out that the words were…

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