Star of David

The Magen David, or its other names: Shield of David or Solomon, and the Star of David has captured the imagination of many for centuries. The hexagram with two equilateral triangles is used in religious symbolism. Having its origin in Judaism, it is common in synagogues and other Jewish religious iconography.  Catholicism has also used the symbol in decorative motifs. 

The first Christians were Jews, so this makes sense. However, the origin of this star as a shield is virtually unknown. We read in Scripture that shields were used by both Solomon (1 Kings 10:16-17) and David (Psalm 3:3-4;5, Psalm 5:12, Psalm 119:114). In most cases, this "shield" was actually a metaphor for God as protector. Jesus calls Himself the "morning star" in Revelation 22:16 as well, so God is linked to a "star."   

There is no description in Scripture for this shield or Star of David. We get the six-pointed star from archaeological sites, such as, in northern Israel where synagogues dating six centuries before Jesus have the Star engraved on them. In fact, the synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus prayed and preached has the Star of David as well.  So clearly, this symbol is significant in Judaism and was never condemned by Jesus. It is safe to suggest that perhaps this star is what was etched onto the shields used by David and Solomon.  The Lenigrad Codex of AD 1000 and Hebrew Scriptures also depict the Star of David. Jewish Kabbalah tests mention the Star of David:

“The [book]  “Eshkol ha-Kofer” of the Karaite Judah Hadassi (middle of the 12th cent.), says, in ch. 242: ‘Seven names of angels precede the mezuzah: Michael, Gabriel, etc. . . . Tetragrammato [YHVH] protect thee! And likewise the sign called ‘David’s shield’ is placed beside the name of each angel.’ It was, therefore, at this time a sign on amulets.”  (Magen David, Jewish Encyclopedia online)

Centuries later, the Star of David was used to mark Jewish people, particularly during the time of Nazism when Jews were forced to use yellow cloth Stars of David on their clothing as a badge of identification.  

Many have asked why the image of Our Lady of the Universe has the Star of David on her chest.  Well, to my knowledge, Joseph Vitolo never explained or no record of his explanation exists. He simply described her to a painter who painted the image we know as Our Lady of the Universe or Our Lady of the Concourse.   Here is what some asked on Instagram: 

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The #BlessedVirginMary is Jewish. Jesus, her son is a descendant of David. She has been depicted with the Magen David or Star of David before. This is reflective of her Jewish ethnicity and religion. The blue as well. The apparitions of #OurLadyoftheUniverse have not been condemned by the archdiocese of New York. Archbishop Sheen even met with the visionary and never doubted his claims. Our Lady appeared in The Bronx with the star and this is how she is depicted. Sr. Lucia even said that #OurLadyofFatima had a yellow Star of David on her robe. @crescentcitycatholic #Catholic #catholicchurch #catholicism #catholics #instagram #instacatholic #Jesus #RomanCatholic #romancatholics #catholicmemes #TheBronx #attnyy #rosaryathon #rosarybeads #rosary #bluearmy

A post shared by Our Lady of the Universe (@ourladyoftheuniverse) on

Unfortunately, some alleged Catholics who call themselves sede vacantists or traditionalists have attacked the image of Our Lady of the Universe as being false. This is due to their deeply rooted antisemitism.  It is not news that the Catholic Church has stated some things that were very harsh against the Jews. In fact, the Good Friday Liturgy of the Extraordinary Form pre-Vatican II called the Jews "Perfidious" and pretty much treated them like pariahs. Thankfully, this was updated and a better perspective has been given to our elders in the Abrahamic faith. 

It is mind-boggling why these individuals would hate the Star of David or anything related to the Jews. Jesus and Mary, as well as the disciples were Jews!  Mary is even called the "Star of the Sea."  The six-point star has also been used from early on with depictions of Mary.  Here are some images showing the Star of David on our Lady or near her:

Madonna and Child Icon – 9th century:  Star of David on right shoulder

 Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome AD 150, 2nd Century: Mary nursing Jesus and a yellowish glowing star on her chest.

A more modern depiction. 

Mary the Stella Maris or Star of the Sea with Star of David on her chest. 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help with Star of David on the top head. This painting is said to have been painted by Luke himself.  
Yellow Star of David on Mary's right shoulder

Yellow Star of David on Mary's left shoulder
Yellow Star of David on Mary's left shoulder with Jesus holding the Hebrew Scriptures.

Iconography of Our Lady of Guadalupe with Star of David encircling her. 
Our Lady of Guadalupe original 1531 image with Stars of David on her tunic.
Our Lady of Fatima with Star of David near her feet.

So as you can see, Mary has been depicted with the Star of David for centuries. The star is significant to her Jewish identity and Jesus as the morning star.  This is not a betrayal of Catholicism, but a recollection and deference of our Jewish history.  

Some quotes from other sources: 

Another classic title for the Virgin Mary is Stella Maris, or Star of the Sea...A Six-Pointed star is a reminder that Mary is from the line of David (as the Star of David has six points).

- Star of the Sea, by Jenny Schroedel and Reverend John Schroedel

The feast of the Holy Name of Mary...originated in Spain and was approved by the Holy See in 1513; Innocent XI extended its observance to the whole Church in 1683...Symbols: Star of David, or Six-Pointed Star appropriate for this feast.

- Memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary,

The connection with Mary and the Star of David is indeed strong. As stated before, she was a Jew and a direct descendant of King David. Why would Mary deny her ethnicity and religion?  However, why would she appear with the Star of David and not a Cross?  There are some ideas. One devotee of Our Lady of the Universe and who visited the shrine wrote to me this:

"First, about the Star of David on Our Lady's chest.  I assumed when I first read about the apparition and saw the statue at the Shrine, that it was because 1945 saw the end of World War II in Europe.  September 1, 1939 Hitler and his German army invaded Poland.  Jews were required to wear a yellow cloth in the shape of a Star of David on their clothing, on their chests.  All Jewish businesses had to display the Star. Eventually all Jews were separated into a ghetto and finally, the Holocaust.  My reaction when I heard that Our Lady was wearing one was that she was identifying herself and her Son as Jews, which, of course, they were.  She was also identifying with the weak and persecuted and, as she always does, telling us to pray the Rosary for peace."

This idea makes sense and is what I have held since I learned of this apparition from the Bronx.  From what I read, the Star Of David on Our Lady's chest was thought to represent the situation at the time with the Jews and Nazis, as you the devotee beautifully stated. But it can also represent Our Lady's own ethnic and religious background, as well as, the fact that the Grand Concourse was a haven for Jews from Europe. As stated in my post on this website, there are still old synagogues all around there. Many apartment buildings still have some remnants of the Jews who once lived there, such as, door mezuzahs. So it makes sense that Our Lady would appear representing her ethnicity, religion and the people who lived in the area. She has done this in other apparitions where she appeared with the physical characteristics of the people in the region and their clothing style.   

Mary, when she appeared as Our Lady of Fatima to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco also had a Star of David on her white gown.  Sister Lucia described it as a "yellow star"  She said, “She always had a star on her tunic.”  And continues, “The light of our Lady was white, and the star was yellow.”  Ironically, Mary appeared during a time where world wars were brewing which led to World War II. As stated previously, Jews were forced to wear yellow stars. Our Lady of Fatima had warned everyone about World War II. There is also more connections with Our Lady of Fatima and the star, particularly to Esther from the Bible. "Esther means star.  

So there is no doubt that the Star of David is intrinsically linked to Mary.  She was a Jew, is crowned with stars (Revelation 12) and her Son is the morning star.  In light of this, it makes sense why Mary would appear in 1945 in a Jewish neighborhood during a time when Jews were being slaughtered in Europe with a Star of David on her chest. She was conveying her Jewish identity, her Son as morning star who is literally her love or her baby who is close to her heart and is showing solidarity with the Jews suffering around the world. Why this would offend any Catholic or anyone is beyond me. 

If I learn anything new about the significance of the Star of David on the chest of Our Lady of the Universe, I will update this post with the details.  



Bronx Miracle

John T. McGreevy

American Quarterly

Vol. 52, No. 3 (Sep., 2000), pp. 405-443 (39 pages)

Published By: The Johns Hopkins University Press

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