The director and editors of Mary Page under the auspices of the International Marian Research
Institute do not necessarily endorse or agree with the events and ideas expressed in this feature.
Our sole purpose is to report on items about Mary gleaned from a myriad of papers representing
the secular press.
Mary in the secular press from September 25 through October 7, 2002
Jules Massenet’s "Le Jongleur de Notre Dame" depicts a juggler
and street musician who so pleases the Virgin Mary with his "low"
tricks that her statute miraculously smiles. The rarely heard opera was
performed by the Boston Academy of Music October 4 through 8 at the Blackman
Theatre, Northeastern University, the Boston Globe said on October 7. Reviewed
also by the Boston Herald October 6.
Anthony Milner, who died September 22, was the foremost British Catholic
composer of his generation, the Irish Times said on October 5. His brilliant
Opus One, Salutatio Angelica (1948), was a cantata for voices and chamber
orchestra in praise of the Virgin Mary.
"I collect Virgin Marys and churchical stuff. I got this gorgeous
Virgin Mary in Lourdes, it’s five foot tall," singer Sinead O’Connor
said in an interview with the Irish Times October 5.
Istanpitta, the medieval music group, dipped into famous collections of
medieval songs for its entertaining program, Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Saint
Mary, presented September 27 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, the
Houston Chronicle said on September 30. The most sensational music of the
evening was Mariam Matrem (Praise Mary, the Virgin Mary) from Montpellier.
Few people come now to visit what some Christians consider a sacred place,
where an image of what looked like the blessed Virgin Mary materialized six
years ago on the side of a glass building in Clearwater, the St. Petersburg
Times said on September 28. On a recent windy, overcast morning, only one man
was praying to the Virgin Mary image at what is now the Shepherds of Christ
spiritual center. Site leader Emily Lehrter said people come from almost every
country to see the image. Glass experts who examined the rainbow-colored image
determined it was the result of a chemical reaction and corrosion of metallic
elements in the building’s glass coating.
A Church of England bishop was criticized for dedicating a shrine to the
Virgin Mary, the London Times wrote on September 28. The Right Rev. Richard
Lewis, Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, led the ceremony at St.
Mary-at-the-Elms church in Ipswich, despite opposition from religious groups.
The Church Society, which upholds the Anglican Protestant tradition, wrote to
the bishop describing Marian devotion as "folly" and "contrary
to the faith of the Church of England." Bishop Lewis said there was
"no question of a return to a medieval cult of the worship of Mary."
More than 30 chalk artists, led by artist Ron Juncal, created a 150-foot
street mural that was the centerpiece for Carlsbad’s first Artsplash, a
two-day family festival fearing art, music and food, the San Diego
Union-Tribune wrote on September 26. Juncal combines a modern approach with the
traditional techniques used by street artists known as "madonnari."
Drawing elaborate chalk pictures of the Virgin Mary, madonnari artists
duplicated the rich color and depth of Old World masterpieces on the streets of
Conveying a religious experience might be a bit daunting so some, but not to
the Roman Catholic Church’s Archdiocese of Mexico, Freedom Magazines
International wrote on October, 2002. The virtual Virgen can be found at a site
meant to capture the 1531 sightings of the Virgin Mary. The site, in Spanish,
offers plenty of animation and video but is slow, even on a fast connection.
Two San Antonio men who tackled the question of the authenticity of the
image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City have come to differing
conclusions, the Texas Monthly wrote in its October, 2002 issue. Leoncio A.
Garza-Valdes, pediatrician, microbiologist and amateur archeologist who
concluded that the Shroud of Turin is possibly a relic of the time of Jesus of
Nazareth, was asked to do research on the famed Virgin of Guadalupe image by
church officials at the basilica in Mexico City. He invited a fellow physician
and friend, Gilberto Aguirre, to join him and they hired Lester Rosebrock, a
medical and scientific photographer from the University of Texas, to take
ultraviolet and infrared photographs of the image. After viewing the photos,
Garza-Valdes, a believer in Our Lady of Guadalupe, no longer believes she
appeared to Diego. Aguirre believes the image could be miraculous. Garza-Valdes
will publish his findings in a forthcoming book titled "Tepeyac: Five
Centuries of Deceit," scheduled for release this month in Mexico City by
In Roger Housden’s allegorical tale, a Greek icon painter’s search for
love takes him to a monastery in Greece, the shrine of Delphi, where he has a
vision of the Virgin Mary, who poses a riddle that holds the key to his quest,
and to other sites in Greece and Turkey, Publishers Weekly Reviews said on
During his trial before the UN war crimes tribunal, former Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic on October 8 responded to a witness who explained
that the Catholic Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary had been blown up in the
explosion of a few tons of explosives, saying, "So, the building which was
used as an arms depot was blown up and what you are talking about consequently
happened in Vocin." Reported by Global News Wire October 8.
A police report of a burglary in the Allentown Morning Call October 2
indicates that a 14-karat gold necklace with a medallion of the Virgin Mary and
a 14-karat gold necklace with a crucifix were stolen out of a jewelry box at a
home in Bethlehem.
Jonathan Turley writes in the September 30 issue of the Los Angeles Times
that his secretary’s iconic arm could well be an exhibit in a case before the
U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is whether tattooing is a protected form of
religious or political speech under the Constitution. A multicolored tattoo of
the Virgin Mary extends from the secretary’s neck to her right elbow.
Two young daughters change their names and take to seeing the Virgin Mary in
a tree in their grandmother’s yard after their mother dies, in Haven Kimmel’s
first novel, "The Solace of Leaving Early," reviewed in the
Greensboro, NC News & Record on September 29.
A Catholic group called the Association for the Arch of Triumph of the
Immaculate Heart of Mary is trying to raise $100 billion to build the world’s
tallest monument, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, on the Lake Erie shore in
Buffalo, NY, the Washington Times said on September 27. If built, the
700-foot-tall golden arch would surpass the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the
Washington Monument. A mural will portray the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe -
the Virgin Mary - who Catholics believe appeared to peasant Juan Diego in 1531
near the present-day Mexico City. Association founder Laurence D. Behr said he
chose an arch-shaped design honoring Mary in September 2000 after a dream in
which a woman appeared to him and showed him a beautiful shrine set in a
valley. "This is the shrine of the Golden Arch of Mary," he says she
Some of noted English composer Ivan Moody’s most important works have been
performed in Seattle, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said on October 4. Three
years ago, the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana gave the world premiere of his
"Akathist Hymn," which provides a musical setting for a sixth-century
masterpiece of Byzantine poetry written in honor of the Virgin Mary.
In Corpus Christi a woman told police that someone stole her 3-feet tall
statue of the Virgin Mary, valued at $45. A neighbor told her they saw someone
parked in her driveway with the trunk of the vehicle open. Reported by the
Corpus Christi Caller-Times October 2.
Among fall festivals recommended by the National Post, Toronto Edition, on
October 5, is Festa della Madonna dell Salute in Venice, Italy, on November 21.
Each year, Venetians celebrate their deliverance from the plague by visiting
the Basilica della Santa Maria della Salute. The church was built more than
three centuries ago in honour of the Virgin Mary, after the ending of the
plague that beset Venice during the war against Austria.
In Santa Monica, one of the works shown at the Vancouver International Film
Festival, the young heroine rebels against her mother’s move across town by
insisting on participating in her old neighborhood’s Assumption of the Virgin
Mary Procession and, when denied a place, goes so far as to steal a pair of
angel’s wings. Reported by Variety, October 7-13 and the Vancouver Sun
Indian doctors said that the Vatican was making a mistake in attributing a
miracle to the late Mother Teresa, saying strong medicines and not divine
intervention had cured a cancer-stricken patient. The patient’s tumor
disappeared after a medal of the Virgin Mary, placed on Mother Teresa’s body
after she died, was placed on her stomach. The Vatican formally recognized the
healing of the Indian woman’s abdominal tumor as a miracle wrought by Mother
Teresa of Calcutta, bringing her a significant step closer to sainthood.
Reported by Agence France Presse October 2 and 8.
The rejection of Spain’s growing Muslim community is ironic, some say,
since the historic hybrid of Islam and Catholicism is one of the most
celebrated aspects of Spanish culture. It is not uncommon to find a portrait of
the Virgin Mary next to Arabic baths built during the 800 years of Muslim rule,
the Christian Science Monitor said on October 2, in a story about Spain’s
Muslim converts reaching out to Moroccan immigrant women and children.
A nun who claims the world will be destroyed in four years is preaching in
the Granite City, the Aberdeen Evening Express wrote October 1. Sister Ruth
Augustus, who arrived with her traveling partner, a three-feet high statue of
the Virgin Mary, is on a mission to bring people back to God and says her
crusade has the Pope’s blessing. Also reported by the Aberdeen Press and
Father Andrew Notere, who was at the center of a public furor when he said a
Madonna and Child shape had appeared on a wall of the Shrine of Our Lady of
Yankalilla church in 1995, will decide whether to remain at Yankalilla or take
a post with the United Nations’ refugee program in Africa, the Southern Times
said on September 25. The Anglican priest changed his surname from Nutter after
unkind connotations and death threats.
The four females singers of Anonymous 4 recreate the sound of a 13th
century nunnery in Immaculate, warm and ethereal. All the songs celebrate the
Virgin Mary. From the Northern Echo, September 26.
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