Spring 2013Summer 2013Fall 2012 The Mary Page


History and Mission
A Short History  
The Mission of the Marian Library/
International Marian Research Institute
The Virgin Mary in Intellectual
and Spiritual Formation

A Short History

In 1943, the Marianists of the University of Dayton founded The Marian Library to commemorate the triple centennial to be celebrated in 1949-1950: the arrival of the Marianists in the United States (1849); the death of Father William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Society of Mary (1850); and the founding of the University of Dayton (1950).

The Marian Library offers its resources to all qualified students and scholars who need an extensive collection of books, periodicals, and other materials centered on studies related to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. This comprehensive collection which dates from the beginning of printing up to the present day, comprises works in more than fifty languages. It includes a general reference collection with resources in patristics, biblical studies, Christology, ecclesiology, liturgy, spirituality, church history, hymnography, iconography, general and specialized bibliography.

The Marian Library is related to the Roesch Library, the main library of the University of Dayton. Roesch Library offers students a collection of more than 1.5 million volumes, more than 4,000 periodical titles, the facilities of a nationwide interlibrary loan service, and the possibility of extensive online database searching. The Marian Library issues a multilingual periodical, Marian Library Studies (New Series), devoted to the publication of foundational studies, historical research, and comparative studies in such areas as religion, archaeology, iconography, symbolism, theological anthropology, and psychology. It also publishes Marian Studies, the annual publication of the Mariological Society of America. The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute--its full name--communicates with friends and donors by way of The Marian Library Newsletter. Its intellectual and spiritual outreach is achieved mainly through the website, The Mary Page (udayton.edu/mary).

Since The Marian Library is recognized as one of the largest and most comprehensive collections devoted to Marian specialization in the world, it was fitting that an institute be organized to allow scholars and students to exploit its riches through research and study, especially thanks to an academic program leading to the doctorate in theology with specialization in Marian Studies. In 1975, an institute of graduate studies in theology was founded in affiliation with the Pontifical Faculty of Theology Marianum, directed by the Servants of Mary in Rome. The Congregation for Catholic Education approved the International Marian Research Institute (IMRI) on November 5, 1975.

Since 1975, IMRI has organized annual sessions at the graduate level to promote the program of Marian Studies established by the Marianum, and adapted to the needs of students in the United States and abroad. Students can prepare for a licentiate and doctorate in Mariology, earn a certificate in Marian Studies, or gain credit hours toward a master's degree granted in conjunction with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton.

After the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana, with its Norms of Application, established new rules to be observed in the preparation for and granting of pontifical degrees, new statutes were developed and approved in 1983. Since that date the IMRI has offered support to hundreds of scholars, delivered certificates in Marian Studies and helped students to gain credits towards a master's degree in religious studies. Most important, it has prepared hundreds of students for higher degrees in Marian studies, and has been happy to deliver since 1989 in affiliation with the Marianum, pontifical doctoral and licentiate degrees in theology with specialization in Marian Studies. On July 26, 2008 the incorporation into the Marianum was renewed and approved by the Congregation for Catholic Education for a new period of five years.

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The Mission of the Marian Library/
International Marian Research Institute

In fulfilling its mission the ML/IMRI pursues the following goals by

Supporting learning and scholarship faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church by assembling, organizing and making available materials (mainly books and periodicals, but also audio-visual materials, art, and artifacts) for information, teaching and research in Marian studies.

Promoting studies in Marian theology and on the role of Mary in Christian life. International in scope, it closely relates the study of Mary to Christology, ecclesiology, theological anthropology, liturgy, spirituality, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, the arts, and social sciences.

Engaging in and encouraging original research in Marian Studies. It also examines contemporary trends and seeks interdisciplinary cooperation. Furthermore, it serves as a clearinghouse for information on Marian topics by critically assessing current contributions to Marian studies and culture in the light of the Church's Marian tradition and teaching.

Publishing the results of its research and teaching, as well as that of other scholars. It makes them available in its own publication, namely Marian Library Studies and on its website The Mary Page (udayton.edu/mary).

Encouraging scholarly and pastoral endeavors through lectures and symposiums, gallery exhibits, and the use of its website.

Cooperating with institutions of similar interest and scope, especially the Marianum in Rome and the Mariological Society of America, and sharing information with Marian scholars and scholarly societies worldwide.

Providing direct and online reference service on specific research questions regarding Our Lady.

Giving recognition to scholarly achievement in the field of Marian Studies through publications both actual and virtual, and through the bestowal of the Marian Library Medal.

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The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation

The following are excerpts from the 1988 letter of the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education on The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation.


Mariology is alive and active in relevant questions in matters doctrinal and pastoral. However, it is necessary that the study of Mariology, together with attention to the pastoral problems which are emerging gradually, attend to rigorous research, conducted according to scientific criteria. The words of the Council apply: "Sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred Tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation. By scrutinizing in the light of faith all truth stored up in the mystery of Christ, theology is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated by that word."1 The study of the sacred Scriptures, therefore, must be the soul of Mariology.2 Further, the study of Tradition is essential to research in Mariology because, as Vatican II teaches, "sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, which is committed to the Church."3 The study of Tradition shows how particularly fruitful in quality and quantity is the Marian patrimony of the various liturgies and of the Fathers of the Church. Research into Scripture and Tradition, conducted according to the most fruitful methods and with the most reliable instruments of critical enquiry, must be guided by the Magisterium since "the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church."4 This research must also integrate and be strengthened by the more secure fruits of learning in anthropology and the human sciences.

1 Vatican II. Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum. November 18, 1965, 24. (= DV).
2 DV 24.
3 DV 10.
4 DV 10.

A Comprehensive Approach

Considering the importance of the Virgin in the history of salvation and in the life of the People of God, and after promptings of Vatican Council II and of the Popes, it would be unthinkable that the teaching of Mariology be obscured today: it is necessary, therefore, that it be given its just place in seminaries and theological faculties. Such teaching, consisting of a "systematic treatment" will be:

  1. organic, that is, inserted adequately in the program of studies of the theological curriculum;
  2. complete, so that the person of the Virgin be considered in the whole history of salvation, that is in her relation to God; to Christ, the Word incarnate, Savior and Mediator; to the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier and Giver of life; to the Church, sacrament of salvation; to man in his origins and his development in the life of grace, and his destiny to glory;
  3. suited to the various types of institution (centers of religious culture, seminaries, theological faculties...) and to the level of the students: future priests and teachers of Mariology, animators of Marian piety in the dioceses, those who are responsible for formation in the religious life, catechists, those who give conferences, and the many who want to deepen their knowledge of Mary. Teaching thus given will avoid one-sided presentations of the figure and mission of Mary, presentations which are detrimental to the whole visions of her mystery. Sound teaching will be a stimulus to deep research—in seminaries and through the writing of licentiate and doctoral theses—into the sources of Revelation and the documents. Mariological study can also profit from interdisciplinary teaching.

    (Excerpt from the 1988 letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education on The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation)

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