Mary Had Twins? Who Knew?

by Kathleen Fogarty

Every Christmas for the last thirteen years, I’ve produced a music program at the Quaker school where I teach. We sing Nativity ballads from the Appalachian tradition, carols from European countries, and a few secular selections. The children I teach range in age from 3 to 11, and their appreciation of Christmas, like their musical talent, changes as they do.

I try to stay faithful to the Quaker values of harmony, equality, and simplicity as I prepare these programs.  I ask myself each year: What does Christmas mean to me?  The simple fact that our entire Christian faith rests on the monumental, long sought birth of a special baby boy sets up a struggle for the feminist in me. He was born to show God’s presence in the world, not She.  Mary loved herSon, not her daughter.  “Hallelujah, a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us.” This problem arises for me at Christmas time, even though I know I could just let it all be, and experience the deep truth at the center of it: God loved us enough to send a living human to show us what God is like and how to love each other.

Twins in MangerIn our morning reading and praying, my husband and I share texts from various spiritual teachers, but keep coming home to the teachings of Christ. One morning near Christmas, we read that it should be our goal in life to desire to become like our ideal: Jesus, the Christ.  As I tried to allow those words to penetrate my heart, I experienced another feminist click. As wonderful a person as Jesus is, as divine an example as he is, how can I truly be like him in all things? Jesus never had a period, or breasts, or a baby, as I have. Jesus probably didn’t have to prepare meals for visitors who popped in over the holidays, and he certainly wasn’t expected to do the dishes or get along with a mother-in-law, or be a step-parent. There is no record of Jesus having sibling difficulties, and no evidence that Jesus struggled with his body image. Jesus didn’t live past his mid-thirties, so I can’t find New Testament support for my own midlife crises.

Then, it’s the morning of the Christmas program, and my mind is focused on the children. The first song offered by the youngest ones is “The Friendly Beasts”. All the 3– to 5- year–olds are adorned with paper around their necks as make-believe manger animals. We have a manger with real hay from our farm, and there is a large Baby Jesus doll, wrapped in a blanket.

But 4-year-old Ella is in tears. Between sobs, she tells me she wanted her little girl baby doll to be in the manger. She had forgotten to bring it to school for the rehearsal, but she has arranged to have her mom bring it today.  I make a decision. I say “ Ella, how about if we put your baby doll in the manger with the other one. Maybe she’s Baby Jesus’ sister.”

At first, all the kids say, “ No, you can’t do that!”  Then, as I gently wrap Ella’s doll in the same blanket with the first one, there is a change of heart.  The children start smiling and agree that Jesus could have a baby sister, maybe even a twin sister.  Ella’s tears are gone, and the light of her smile eases my struggle. Yes, maybe Jesus could have had a baby sister, possibly a twin!  Or maybe the deep divine feminine was born in the manger with him, in his own combined humanity/divinity.  In God, all things are possible.


Kathleen Fogarty
Kathleen Fogarty is an enthusiastic new member of EEWC. In addition to her teaching, she and her husband, John Wilson, operate an organic farm in Virginia Beach, VA. A woman of many talents, Kathleen’s multifaceted career has included singing and song writing (her CD, “True Home” was released in 2003), hosting television and radio programs (for many years she co-hosted a weekly folk music program on NPR’s Norfolk, VA affiliate), and writing feature articles for Tidewater Woman magazine and other publications. She is also active on the board of The Friends of Women’s Studies at Old Dominion University.


  1. Hello all….

    Before I comment, I want to be careful not to lead any astray with what I say next. I came searching for reason to believe that Jesus may have had a twin baby sister, and when I read this beginning thread, I’m at ease to comment to the truth. I won’t say I have the fullness of truth, although I believe the Truth Himself lead me hear. So hear is my question that we should all ask of Him.

    In the book of Revelation “of Jesus” that John was witness to, it says in chapter 12:5 that the virgin’s child was caught up /snatched away to the throne of God. My question would be “How could that child be lifted to the throne, if Jesus lived to adulthood?”

    Think about this scripture, as all good scholars know that the answers can be found in the beginning…. Genesis 1:27

    God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow…. could He have done it again? It’s not impossible through scripture that a girl child was taken up to God at birth. I leave the rest to you, to knock at His door and ask where you should go from here.

    Our God is not living in the box we think He lives in. Amen

  2. Your story of dolls together so inspiring and what you did was prophetic. God uses that child to bring the truth out to you. It was discovered that Jesus has twin sister name Tammi of Nazareth. The evidence was found. Yes it’s known but they his twin was Thomas so far from the truth a disciple who doubted Jesus resurrection. Jesus infancy was written by his twin sister Tammi and not Thomas but she is female can’t use her name . So you were right to do what you did. Amen

  3. Another point of view –

    Mary’s first born was John and given to Elizabeth as Mary was out of wedlock and this is why we have the story of Elizabeth giving birth well beyond what was possible. Marys second child was Jesus and she was by that time married to Joseph. This is why the bond was so close between John and Jesus, they went cousins, they were brothers. Before dismissing the claim above re-read the gospels and see how this fits. There was little difference in the word for cousin or brother in the language of the time so it is understandable how this got presented when the approved versions of the gospels were made acceptable by Constantine in the 3rd century.


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