[VIDEO] “Mary Poppins” and Catholicism: An Interview with Julian Ahlquist

Today, Catholics are celebrating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when at the end of her life she was assumed body and soul into Heaven.

Which makes it the perfect time to share this fun discussion I had with Julian Ahlquist, founding faculty member of Chesterton Academy, about Mary Poppins and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Julian makes a strong case that Mary Poppins represents the Mother of God, and one of his reasons is because both Marys experience an assumption (see the end of the Mary Poppins film.)

Julian and I walked through the entire Mary Poppins narrative, noting other Catholic connections, including Bert as St. Joseph and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as an unavoidably religious invocation.

Here are some of the connections we discuss:

  • 8 reasons why Mary Poppins represents the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Bert represents St. Joseph
  • George Banks embodies materialism
  • Winifred Banks embodies wayward feminism
  • Jane and Michael represents Marian visionaries
  • Wind represents the Holy Spirit
  • Bert’s chalk drawing as a religious icon
  • “Spoonful of Sugar” represents the acceptance of grace
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as an invocation of Mary’s salvific role
  • Uncle Albert as a Charismatic Catholic
  • Admiral Boom as a Traditionalist Catholic
  • “Feed the Birds” pointing to Mary Poppins as church
  • The main Christ-figure in the film
  • Mary Poppins’ final assumption

Enjoy the interview!

  • Bryan Henning

    I saw Mary Poppins Returns, yesterday and exactly what I thought when she comes down from heaven is that Mary Poppins represents the Virgin Mary coming down from Heaven. And she sort of “pops in” unannounced at times of trouble to care for children. Thus the “banks children” as in the children are owned by a bank, and they get a Mary pop in, a visit from the Virgin Mary. I’m sure the originator P. L. Travers, came up with the idea either consciously or subconsciously, as she is a white person of English ancestry; therefore, must have had Catholic and Anglican ancestry.

  • Sali Ron

    Some interview about the catholicism facts are really create some issues are there has some odd things saying someone while some says the positive one..

  • Michael Duricy

    I enjoyed the interview too. It’s a good topic to reflect again for today’s feast of Mary’s Queenship (regal like Mary Poppins), Anyway, I wrote a paper on Snow White and Mary a while ago. Feel free to check it out online at https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/s/snow-white-and-semiotics-in-religion.php. There is also a short summary at https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/s/snow-white.php. God bless.

  • Horacio Gonzalez

    I couldn’t resist the desire of copying (I hope without inftinging copyrights) this information about the author creator of Mary Poppins, from wikipidia.com

    P. L. Travers
    Born Helen Lyndon Goff
    9 August 1899 [ my comment: month of the Assumption)
    Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
    Died 23 April 1996 (aged 96)
    London, England
    Resting place St Mary the Virgin’s Church, Twickenham, England
    Occupation Writer, actress, journalist
    Nationality Australian
    Citizenship Australian, British
    Genre children’s literature, fantasy
    Notable works Mary Poppins book series
    Children Camillus Travers Hone

  • Helen C

    Thanks for sharing the interview ~ You two have revealed a true Disney classic for all ages plus the faithful. Enjoyed the movie as a youth and will again refreshed through mature eyes. There is a hunger for simple storytelling that is also thought provoking.

    Maybe some filmmaker would take the challenge of the Parables.

    God bless you both in your great work!

  • Char Forrest

    I love this interview! Back in the day, I had the songs from Mary Poppins and always thought of the Blessed Virgin while listening. Thanks to Julian for putting the time in, to really expand on this idea!
    P.S. Always liked Burt, now appreciate him even more thinking of St Joseph! I have to watch the movie again!

  • Andrea

    I love watching Brandon’s reactions to Julian’s points. He’s clearly enjoying listening as much as I am! Now I’m compelled to go back and watch Mary Poppins again. 🙂

  • Rebecca F

    Could the bird head umbrella be a WILD GOOSE?? (Check out thewildgooseisloose.com – FR Dave Pivonka’s beautiful video reflections on the Holy Spirit!!)

    This was a fascinating exploration, made sweeter by the fact that our Mary Poppins DVD arrived just last week…I’m on a quest to introduce my 4-year-old to some wholesome classic movies…. guess this was a fabulous choice!

  • Ralph


  • Steve Strickland

    Julian Ahlquist does a great job of defending his thesis! I would treat ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocius’ a little differently though. It’s the ‘Word that saves’ [me aching nose]. It’s the sweetest Word you’ve ever heard. And it’s the Word that comes into the world through Mary, and which saves Mr. Banks and the bank president. It is what all of Mary’s other acts ultimately lead up. See where that’s going?

    • Nice! Another good interpretation.

      • Steve Strickland

        Thanks! I forgot to mention that Julian’s mind-blowing translation from the Latin would still apply even under my interpretation.