You may not believe in her but you cannot ignore her: Mary is the most important woman in world religion, a cult figure in the Catholic Church who relates to the big questions in our lives - sex, politics and religion.
She is a symbol of maternity, hope, faith, superstition, feminism and beauty.
She arouses both fervent devotion and deep scepticism.
Presenter Rosie Goldsmith, who has a life-long fascination with the Virgin Mary, asks why she is so important in today's world and whether this Modern Mary is a force for good or bad.
She explores the origins of Mary and asks how this one woman can be not only a model of submissive womanhood but also a feminist icon and a Jungian female archetype.
She talks with Richard Dawkins, Ann Widdecombe, Marina Warner and Miri Rubin about why they believe in or reject Mary.
She visits the shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham and meets a group of children who tell us simply that she's the most beautiful woman in the world.
And she examines her own personal passion for the figure of Mary, a passion which has taken her around the world.
Neither Catholic nor religious, Rosie is fascinated by the power Mary continues to hold over people.
Not only has Mary been propelled into the 21st century as a modern icon, she has also found a home in diverse communities across the world and in the Islamic as well as the Christian faith.
Producer: Sarah Cuddon
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.
Rosie Goldsmith explores the power of the Virgin Mary in the modern world.