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Michelangelo's Pietà (Stanislav Traykov)

For some reason, Mary is often a stumbling block for those outside the Church.

Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of the St Mary Major's Basilica in Rome (AP)

‘Let us pass through the Holy Door of Mercy knowing the Virgin Mary is at our side,’ the Pope said

Pope Francis is flanked by Rome Commissioner Francesco Tronca as he looks up at a statue of the Virgin Mary before praying in front of it on Tuesday (AP)

The Pope led prayers in the Piazza di Spagna on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The statue of the Virgin Mary adorned with a wreath of flowers on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2013 (AP)

The Virgin Mary is the only woman in creation worthy of carrying Our Lord

Johann Schmidtner's work

Francis has a particular devotion to Mary as rescuer of marriages

Illness always places human existence in crisis and brings with it questions that dig deep, the Pope wrote in his message (CNS)

The Vatican has released Pope Francis’s message for the World Day of the Sick 2016

Statue of Mary at Medjugorje

Medjugorje reportedly sees a decline in pilgrims after the Pope says a ruling on the apparitions is imminent

The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes (Pic by @JMZavalaOficial)

The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes is said to have survived a blaze at the El Goloso base near Madrid last month

Jamestown, Virginia: crosses mark the burial places of four of the earliest settler leaders, including Captain Gabriel Archer (Photo: AP)

A reliquary found in Jamestown, Virginia, gives a Catholic foundation to a country so often thought of as Protestant

The statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Lady Chapel at Corpus Christi

The refurbished Lady Chapel at Corpus Christi, near Covent Garden, reminds us that devotion to the Blessed Virgin is a central part of English Catholicism