This month in the medieval world we celebrate not a saint ? but the principle Marian (Cult of Mary) event; Solemnity of the Annunciation or ?Festum incarnationis? (feast of the incarnation). It is held on the 25th of March and documentation across the medieval and renaissance world show that it has been celebrated on this date from the 4th Century.
The celebration commemorates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she had been chosen to be the mother of Christ, Son of God. Mary was invoked as the compassionate intercessor and protector of humanity and for her courage, humility and gentleness.
The Cult of Mary grew in strength in the 12 and 13th Centuries and flourished from the 14th Centuries onwards. It is believed that the veneration of Mary and her status as the mediator to God and a source of refuge for man is one of the a major Tenant and driving force behind the Age of Chivalry with its concept of the honour of a lady. Where women had often been viewed as a source of evil, the growth of the age of chivalry and the flourishing of the cult of Mary helped to change this attitude.
For Mary there is no single shrine, rather there are literally thousands of Marian shrines across the medieval world. They celebrate an apparition or other miracle ascribed to her, and most are part of or the reason for pilgrimage routes.
There are a host of pilgrims badges associated with Mary and of the Annunciation, some of which are associated with a particular shrine (eg Our Lady Undercroft at Canterbury), and others which were universal symbols and could be bought at any shrine.
We carry a number of the most popular badges associated with Mary