Definitions of Hail Mary

Hail Mary is a traditional Catholic prayer dedicated to Mary as the mother of Jesus. The prayer is based on the Gospel according to Saint Luke. In Latin, ‘ave‘ was used by the Romans as a greeting (from the verb avēre, ‘be well’ with the sense that ‘you are well’). Later, it was introduced in the prayer of the Hail Mary.

Prayer of the Hail Mary

The Hail Mary is, together with the Our Father and the Creed, surely one of the most used prayers in Catholic Christianity. This prayer is part of the Rosary.

First part

‘God save you Mary,

full of grace,

the Lord is with you.’

Here the time of the Annunciation of the Birth of Jesus by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary is cited. It is extracted from the Gospel according to Saint Luke: ‘Rejoice! Full of grace, the Lord is with you. ‘ (Lk 1:28). The initial part of the sentence in Latin began with ‘ Ave Maria … ‘, which in Spanish was translated as ‘God save you Mary’.

‘You are blessed between all women

and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.’

This part refers to Isabel’s greeting (inspired by the Holy Spirit) to Mary when she goes to visit her. ‘You are blessed among all women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’ (Lk 1:42)

Second part

‘Holy Mary, mother of God,

pray for us sinners,

now and at the hour of our death.


This second part is not recognized in the Orthodox Church. It is a brief prayer of petition in which the intercession of Mary before God is requested.

Hail Mary of Schubert

There are several religious songs with this title. Perhaps the best known is the song composed in 1825 by Franz Schubert. Also known as Ellen’s third song , popularly known as the Ave Maria de Schubert.

‘The Virgin Mary’

The expression ‘Hail Mary pure’ and the continuation ‘conceived without sin’ refers to the figure of Mary, free from original sin and the Immaculate Conception. This formula is traditionally used at the beginning of the sacrament of Penance when the priest says ‘Hail Mary pure’ and the penitent continues: ‘without conceived sin’. It is part of a jaculatory that continues as follows:

Oh sweet Heart of Mary,

Be my salvation.

Mary, my mother,

Be my only guide.

Oh Mary, without conceived sin,

Pray for us that we turn to you.