Why would she be model of religious? And then again, what kind of religious?
We know that Mary was ever-virgin. We know that she was a mother, a house-wife. She lived "in the world" as they say. So, in what sense, in what way, is she model for religious?
I speak as a woman religious. I know, from chatting with brothers and religious priests, that she has a very different type of relationship with them. It is very much mother to son. But for us, who consecrate our lives to God in consecrated chastity of the feminine form, how can she be model?
For the contemplative, she is the pray-er par excellence. She ponders all things in her heart. She holds the Word within and contemplates his meaning, his will, his love. Since we are all called to be contemplative, she manifests the purity of that form of prayer.
For the intercessor, she gives us Cana. Always attentive to the needs of others, always seeing the smallest need, she brings them to the Lord with the perfect balance of maternal strength, tenderness and authority. From her we learn to pray for our brothers and sisters in a very dark world.
For the teacher, she displays the perfect style: "Do whatever he tells you." She said little enough, but modeled obedience to God in all her actions. She teaches by being. Don't we all?
For the nurse, the social worker, the administrator, she shows forth every womanly virtue. She represents all that is motherly, chaste and lovely, but also the practical, decisive and intelligent.
As woman who is virgin, she shows us the true flowering of such a life, of such a purity. Her words, her life, her every action, is clear and beautiful. Utterly imitable.