The Blessed Virgin Mary is of religious and cultural significance to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, which leads many people to choose to have her likeness tattooed on their bodies to express religious devotion. Others may do so as an expression of cultural pride.
From the earliest days of Christianity, Catholic leaders encouraged the faithful to pray and express devotion toward the Blessed Virgin Mary. Catholic tradition holds that Mary's intercession is the most powerful of all the saints because her son Jesus Christ was always obedient to her during his life on earth. Orthodox Christians refer to her as the "Theotokos," which literally translates to "Mother of God." The Catholic and Orthodox Churches have attributed many titles to Mary over the centuries based on her various apparitions. Some of these titles are tied to national pride, such as Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland or the Theotokos of Vladimir in Russia. Her most popular title may be Our Lady of Guadalupe. Legend has it that Mary miraculously appeared on the mantle of St. Juan Diego in 1531, after which millions of native Mexicans were baptized as Christians. As of 2013, Latin America is home to 40 percent of the world's Catholics.