The story of the Marian Library Medal originates in 1944 when Bruce Publishing Company
suggested to the Marianists the idea of presenting an award for the best new work on the Blessed
Virgin. It wasn't until ten years later, however, that the suggestion was actualized. On April 14,
1953, Father Monheim, director of the library, circulated a letter announcing that on June 10, the
Marian Library would "present its first gold medal to the author of the best book on the Blessed
Virgin Mary, written originally in English, and published in the United States between April of
one year and March of the following year" [archive].
The medal was to be given to the book that would do most to make "Our Lady better known, and
as a result better loved and served." A panel of five judges, persons not
affiliated with the Marian Library, was chosen to make the selection. The first book to be chosen to best fit the criteria was
Bishop Fulton Sheen's The World's First Love.
The following is a list of recipients of the award,
1953 through 1967 : 1953 -- Fulton J. Sheen, The World's First Love ; 1954 -- Msgr.
John S. Kennedy, Light on the Mountain ; 1955 -- Rev. William Most, Mary in Our
Life ; 1956 -- Ruth Cranston, Miracle of Lourdes ; 1957 -- Rev. Juniper B. Carol,
OFM, Fundamentals of Mariology ; 1958 -- Don Sharkey and Rev. Joseph Debergh, Our
Lady of Beauraing ; 1959 -- Rev. Edward O' Connor, CSC, The Dogma of the
Immaculate Conception ; 1960 -- John J.Delaney, Woman Clothed with the Sun ;
1961 -- Sister Mary Pierre, RSM, Mary Was Her Life ; 1962--Rev. Marian A. Habig,
OFM, The Marian Era (an annual) ; 1962 -- Rev. Titus Cranny, SA, Our Lady and
Reunion ; 1964 -- Hilda Graef, Mary : A History of Doctrine and Devotion ;
1966 -- Rev. Cyril Vollert, SJ, The Theology of Mary ; 1967 --Rev. Thomas Aquinas
O'Meara, OP, Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology.
The award was presented yearly until 1967. At that time the production of Marian books in
English had dwindled. The terms governing the award changed to include international works,
and if possible, to present the award every four years. The focus of the award was to be the work
of the scholars who discover and explore Marian doctrine and devotion.
In 1969, the a new design was created for the Marian Library Medal by Brother Joseph Barrish,
S.M., and instructor in the University of Dayton's Department of FineArts. The new medal was a
bronze representation of a tree bearing seven fruits. The branches, which are all interconnected to
form several closed rings, are surmounted by the inscription Marian Library,
while just beneath the roots is the date 1943, the library's founding date. The reverse of the medal
bears the Greek symbols as seen in the medal above. This an abbreviation for the title, Mother of
God, found on the icons of the Eastern churches.
While the medal is meant primarily for the authors of Marian books,
a singular exception was made during the Marian Library's silver anniversary
celebrations (1968). The first copies of the new design, cast in silver, were presented to
two of the library's benefactors: Father Lawrence Monheim, S.M., to whom the library owes
its origin, to Mrs. Mildred Sutton who has volunteered her services to The Marian Library for
Recipients of the current Marian Library Medal are:
Rev. Carol Balic, O.F.M (1971)
Rev. Giuseppe Besutti, O.S.M. (1975)
Rev.Sergio Alvarey-Campos (1979)
Rev. Stefano DeFiores, S.M.M. (1983)
Rev. Heinrich M. Koester, S.A.C. (1987)
Rev. Paul Melada, O.F.M. (1993)
Rev.Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C. (1995)
Bro. William Fackovec, S.M. (2006)
The above article is adapted and excerpted from William Fackovec, S.M., "The
Marian Library of the University of Dayton" Marian Library Studies Vol. 1, 1969.