The Nun: What Does “Mary Points the Way” Mean?

In a horror movie, details matter. What seems like an insignificant thing in the beginning might turn out to be the thing that saves the protagonist. The same happens in 2018’s ‘The Nun.’ The story focuses on Sister Irene, who accompanies Father Burke to a cursed abbey in Romania at the behest of the Church. Being a novice who hasn’t even taken her vows yet, Irene wonders why she was chosen for this task. However, with time, it became clear that the Church officials knew what they were doing and might have hidden a few details from Irene and Burke to keep things going. One such detail comes into handy at a critical moment in the final.

Mary Points the Way is the Key to a Crucial Puzzle

When Irene is told that she has been chosen for a task by the Church, she and Burke barely have any time to familiarise themselves with each other. Only after they reach the abbey and spend the night at the convent do they get to have a proper conversation where they discover things about each other’s past, which sheds light on why they were chosen for the task. Burke tells the nun about his time as an exorcist and how he feels guilty for the death of a boy who was possessed and died a few days following the exorcism.

In turn, Irene tells Burke about when a man of the Church, like him, visited her when she was a child. It turns out that Irene used to have visions. It was difficult for her to make sense of anything because the vision was sporadic and usually disconnected. The only common thread between them was the thought they left her with: “Mary points the way.” She confesses that even now, she has no idea what it means.

Eventually, Irene and Burke discover that the abbey is cursed because within its catacombs is the place where an ancient evil was brought to the world. They have to seal the gateway, which was broken open during WWII’s bombings. For this, they need the Blood of Christ, which is hidden somewhere in the abbey. At first, they decide to ask the Abbess to give it to them, but then, it turns out that the Abbess and all the other nuns had died a long time ago.

With no idea how to find the place, they decide to take their chances and make their way to the basement, which comes after the corridor of crosses. They have the key from the nun whose death they’d come to investigate. However, they have no idea what the key opens. It is only when Burke’s eye falls on a statue of Mary that he puts two and two together. He notices the statue’s finger pointing to a place, and as light falls on the finger, it illuminates the exact location where the key must go. This is when “Mary points the way” makes sense, and the true meaning of Irene’s vision comes to light.

The Visions Prove Irene was Meant to Defeat Valak

The abbey was built centuries before Irene was born, so there was no way she could have known about the Mary statue in the catacombs. There was no way she could have known about Valak before coming to the abbey, and yet, the answer to all the problems of the place lay with her. Irene’s visions are revealed to be a powerful device in ‘The Nun.’ Her visions show her the nuns who had tried to keep the evil at bay and died trying. Without them, she couldn’t have known about the abbey’s history and the existence of the evil there. But then, God works in mysterious ways, and it’s clear from the way Irene is put to use by God to defeat Valak.

Her visions make the Church see her fit to go to the abbey even when she has yet to take her vows. Interestingly, they say she is a good fit because she is familiar with the territory. This means that the visions she had as a child must have been of the abbey. She didn’t know it at the time because she was too young to understand. However, the man sent to evaluate her must have noted it in his reports. So, when the time came, the Church knew about Irene’s visions and connection to the abbey, and it made sense for her to be sent there because she was in a unique position to save the place. They probably thought that Irene remembered her visions. Even if she didn’t, she’d surely make the connection when she reached the abbey. They made a calculated bet to send a novice on a dangerous mission. Clearly, the decision was right, and Irene became crucial to saving the day.

Read More: The Nun: Is The 2018 Horror Based on a Real Incident?