Not posted this week.
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.
G'day Jesus, say the three wise eggheads [Source: The
Daily Telegraph (London), June 4, 2003]
The Virgin Mary is a "pretty special sheila" who
wraps her nipper in a bunny rug and tucks him up in a cattle feed trough,
according to a new Australian version of the Bible.
The Three Wise Men are "eggheads from out east" who follow a star to
find the baby Jesus and announce their arrival with: "G'day, Your
The Good Samaritan is a "grubby old street sweeper" who patches up
the victim of a highway robbery with his first aid kit, then drops him off at
the nearest pub.
The stories are undoubtedly familiar, but their telling has taken an improbable
verbal bruising with the translation of parts of the New Testament into the
Australian vernacular, known as Strine.
The result is The Aussie Bible (Well, bits of it anyway!) which will be
published in August and is aimed at readers who believe the Bible is too high
brow or simply boring. The book has headings such as "Jesus is born,"
"The Wise Guys" and "The Story of the Good Bloke." It has
been backed by the Bible Society of New South Wales, with forewords by Peter
Jensen, Sydney's Anglican archbishop, and John Anderson, the deputy prime
The project was devised by Kel Richards, a journalist and broadcaster. He
admitted his motivation was unclear: "I don't know if it was a brainwave,
a seizure, or a bad oyster."
QUESTIONS CLOAK MIRACLE OF CAPE [Source: Rocky Mountain
News (Denver, CO), May 31, 2003]
Serious questions remain in some circles as to the authenticity
of a Catholic miracle involving a 500-year-old garment that is at the center of
a celebration this weekend in Denver.
A shred from the Tilma de Tepayac, a cape belonging to an Aztec peasant who
reported encountering Our Lady of Guadalupe three times on a Mexico City
hilltop in December 1531, is on display through Sunday at Denver's Cathedral of
the Immaculate Conception.
The tilma is believed by the Catholic Church to have been miraculously
imprinted with the holy mother's image in the course of the third and final
apparition of the Virgin Mary that the poor Aztec farmer, Juan Diego, reported
to the local bishop.
Diego's testimony is credited with prompting the Christian conversion of
countless Mexican and Central American indigenous people.
Not only is the tilma's legitimacy questioned, there are those who doubt
"There's no question but that he didn't (exist)," said Father
Stafford Poole, a semi-retired Vincentian priest and research historian living
in Los Angeles.
Poole in 1995 authored Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Origins and Sources of a
Mexican Symbol, 1531-1797.
"I'm a bit more radical than most anti-apparitionists," said Poole.
"My position is that the whole thing is nothing but a pious fiction, made
up in the mid-17th century."
Poole's position is based on the fact that the first known Spanish-language
account of Diego's reported experiences was not recorded until 1648.
Cambridge University scholar David Brading, author of Mexican Phoenix, Our Lady
of Guadalupe: Image and Tradition Across Five Centuries, said at the time of
Diego's canonization it made no more sense than canonizing the good Samaritan.
"There's no historical evidence whatsoever that such a person actually
existed," Brading told the National Catholic Register in January 2002.
But Father Eduardo Chavez Sanchez, who in 1998 published The Encounter of the
Virgin Guadalupe with Juan Diego, told the Register last year, "There is
no doubt about the existence of Juan Diego. The debate has been resolved."
That's also the opinion of John and Rebecca Jackson, a Colorado Springs couple
who run the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado. They make a full-time study of the
ancient cloth many believe to hold the image of a resurrected Jesus Christ.
The couple, both of whom are Catholics and attended Juan Diego's canonization
in Mexico City, would love to apply their scientific expertise to a similar
examination of the tilma.
"I don't think anyone can legitimately argue this was all was made up by
someone after the fact, or say things like Juan Diego didn't exist," said
John Jackson, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. "He did exist. None
of this (that followed) would have made sense otherwise."
As for questions over the authenticity of the tilma itself, numerous studies
have been made of the remarkable image of the Virgin, dating as far back as
It was examined in 1999 on a limited basis by a team that included Cornell
University paleontology professor John Chiment and San Antonio, Texas,
ophthalmologist Gilberto Aguirre.
One component of their study included Chiment's microscopic analysis of two
small fibers from the tilma, to determine its composition. Tradition holds that
it had been woven from the desert plant agave. If true, that would be a miracle
in itself, because such material would be expected to deteriorate greatly in
just 20 to 50 years.
But it wasn't agave, after all - at least that wasn't the case with the minute
fiber samples Chiment studied.
"It turns out to be made from hemp . . . and that makes a lot of
sense," Chiment said. "That's a really good fiber, and that explains
why it has lasted 500 years."
Such a finding was both bad news and good news for believers in the miracle.
Bad news, because there's nothing too miraculous about a cloak woven from hemp
lasting so long. But good news, as far as fixing the tilma in Diego's era,
because hemp was known to have been in use in Mexico at that time.
But when Chiment and Aguirre tried to conduct photographic analysis of the
relic itself, in Mexico City, their attempts were hampered by the fact that
they were not permitted to remove its protective glass cover.
They had hoped infrared and ultraviolet imagery could reveal more about the
composition of the Virgin's image. Even supporters of Diego's canonization
concede that in the interest of restoration or preservation, certain features
have been painted over in the past 452 years.
"There were so many reflections coming off of that glass, the ultraviolet
photo we did was basically meaningless," said Aguirre. "It was not
worthy of scientific interpretation. We learned absolutely nothing from these
Several photographers over the years--most recently, in 1979, Dr. Jose Aste
Tonsmann, who holds a doctorate from Cornell--have captured images that
purport to show human images miraculously "reflected" in the virgin's
Maybe yes, maybe no.
"When you enlarge them, and enlarge them, and enlarge them, I'm not sure
exactly what you're looking at," said Chiment. "What you're supposed
to be seeing is three little people turned upside down. But if nobody had told
me what they were supposed to be, they could have been (Disney characters) Chip
Whatever the origins of the tilma's image, even some of those who remain on the
authenticity fence insist that it's a true miracle, if only for its powerful
spiritual influence on an entire culture.
"For those who believe, there is no amount of evidence that is
necessary," said Aguirre. "For those who don't, there is no amount of
evidence that will be sufficient.
"It is an article of faith. The miracle lies not so much in the material
painting itself, but in what it has generated over these many centuries. The
miracle is the message of hope and of love, and the message of salvation
through Jesus Christ. I think that's where the miracle lies, even if it is
just a painting. It changed Mexico completely."
Healing in a bottle For some Denver Catholics [Source:
The Denver Post, May 27, 2003]
In the low-ceiling basement of a small brick house at 1155 S.
Josephine St., Dick Altman, nicknamed "Dick the Dipper," fills small plastic
bottles, 100 at a time, with water.
This water has the power to heal the sick in body, mind and spirit, devotees
say, and is imported in blue casks from Lourdes, France, where St. Bernadette
reportedly saw a vision of the Virgin Mary nearly 150 years ago.
This house is the site of Lourdes Marian Center, located next to St. Vincent de
Paul Catholic Church. It's a place for those in need of healing to gather and
"The water itself is not miraculous," says the Rev. Michael Walsh, the parish
priest. "Rather it is a person's belief that packs the punch," he says.
"For those who have faith, this water can bring miraculous results," he says.
The center is one of two sources in the United States for the ailing and the
devout to obtain Lourdes water, in person or by mail order. Until February
2002, Lourdes Center in Boston had been the sole source of the water since
"To have the water available here on Josephine Street is a beautiful
says volunteer Carolyn Fantz of Morrison. "People most often come here to pray
for a loved one or themselves, if they are ailing. We will pray with them and
for them. Sometimes the greatest miracle is to have the gift of God's grace
through trials, to be able to persevere through difficult times," she says.
"I experienced emotional healing from the water," says Fantz, who was submerged
in it during a family pilgrimage to Lourdes. "Now, I bless myself with the
water, and bless my home and my family routinely," she says.
The belief that surrogate healing objects such as Lourdes water can mediate
healing also transcends religions and cultures.
"The water from Lourdes, like the sacred mud at Chimayo and other sacred
objects, may activate some mechanism in the body that connects with something,
some say the power of suggestion, belief or faith," says Larry Dossey, M.D.,
author of nine books on the role of mind and spirit on healing. His recent work
is Healing Beyond the Body: Medicine and the Infinite Reach of the Mind (Shambhala,
"Many trivialize the magnitude of these powers. The bottom line is that
something in the human psyche responds to sacred sites and objects. We may not
be equipped to understand why or how they work," he says. "My response is to
fall down on my knees in awe that these things occur."
At Lourdes, a medical bureau uses stringent criteria to assess whether
miraculous healings are real, says Dossey, and in small numbers the phenomenon
is genuine. Indisputable to Dossey is this: "The mind is hugely more powerful
than we give it credit for."
The Lourdes water is available for everyone, the believing and the
Most people who come to Denver's Lourdes center are Catholics who seek out the
water and the healing services Walsh leads on the first Thursday and last
Sunday of each month.
"I ask what parish they are from and they say, 'I haven't been to church in 20
years','' he says.
No matter. What matters is that they are in a reverential state of mind and
that they believe they can be healed.
"When people are in a spiritual place, a place of prayer, they are more open to
healing," says Walsh, who also does healing prayers for those who request them.
Walsh's message is a fundamental one, common to many religions and beliefs. He
asks those in search of physical and spiritual renewal to first feel
"I tell people the precondition of effective healing is to let go of grudges.
Many people have been deeply hurt, and that is a block to their healing. I tell
them to let it go," he says.
The house where the center is located was once the church custodian's home.
dolled it up a bit," says Walsh.
Now simply decorated, the center has a feeling of peace and comfort. The
curtains are made of white starched eyelet; the walls are painted Mary blue,
a pastel shade associated with the mother of Jesus, who also is known as the
Blessed Mother. She also is known by other names where she has appeared in an
apparition: Our Lady of Lourdes, La Virgen de Guadalupe and Our Lady of Fatima.
Across from the front door is a table with baskets of water-filled bottles,
religious medals and yellow rosaries alongside brochures about guided
pilgrimages to Lourdes. Prayer groups use the back room to meet. Videos on
Lourdes are available as well for the curious to view. The 1-ounce bottles of
water are free, although a donation of $2.50 is suggested.
By fall, a corner of the backyard will feature a grotto with statues of St.
Bernadette and Mary, commemorating their encounter.
The story goes like this: In 1858, the 14-year-old Bernadette saw 17 visions of
Mary, who appeared wearing a blue sash and carrying a yellow rosary. At Mary's
suggestion, Bernadette dug in the dirt and a spring began to flow.
She then asked of her local priest that a chapel be built at the site of Mary's
visitation. Now millions visit the Lourdes shrine each year in search of
spiritual renewal. Many are sick or in wheelchairs, hoping for cures or for
Some people drink the Lourdes water, some splash it on the afflicted parts of
the body, some wash hands, and others bless themselves with it, explains Walsh
from a chair overlooked by a figure of Mary in the light-filled front room at
the Lourdes center.
Downstairs, wearing a shirt with the words "Life is Short, Pray Hard" and
facing a portrait of Mary, Dick Altman is busy.
He fills 600 bottles, sometimes twice a week. He makes the tedious job more
bearable by saying the rosary as he works. Otherwise, he says, "This could make
He has developed a somewhat streamlined though still labor-intensive technique.
One of his fellow parishioners even commended his efforts with a trophy
inscribed to "Dicky Dipper."
Altman's filling process starts, he says, with religiosity, a prayer to the
Holy Trinity. He then attaches a blue hose to the blue water barrel just off
the boat from France, and lets the water flow into a spotless metal sink.
He arranges bottles into a plastic grid, covers the grid with a mesh top and
submerges the bottles until full. After filling, he affixes by hand all the
bottle lids. Lastly, he uses a specially outfitted screwdriver to ensure that
the tops are on tight.
It's just coincidence, according to Altman, that the empty bottles are obtained
from a local company called Amen Packaging.
Walsh comes downstairs to watch. He and Altman banter as the water flows.
"I am just making sure you get an accurate count," says Walsh.
"No, you just want to make sure Dippy doesn't slip off with one or two in his
pocket," Altman replies.
The connection between the two men dates to when Altman assisted Walsh in
another Denver church.
"Father would hand me the metal tray after communion and it would be piping
hot," Altman recalls.
The heat was an indication of the energy Altman believes flows through Walsh
when he prays for someone to be healed.
After recovering from a heart attack many years ago, Altman had continued to
suffer with an irregular heartbeat. During a healing Mass, he asked Walsh to
pray for him, and as he did he placed his hands on Altman's head, shoulders and
"The heat was pervasive," says Altman. "After that one prayer," he says,
So now, Altman gracefully attends to his dipping whenever the supply of Lourdes
water is in need of replenishment. What keeps him going is his faith and the
rosary, which have more power than a thermonuclear device, he says. And on this
day, like many others, he rolls up his sleeves and gets his hands wet.
Ritual fosters a rosary resurgence [Source: St.
Petersburg Times (Florida), May 21, 2003]
Last weekend was the crowning of Mary at St. Paul's Catholic
Church, a May practice observed by Catholics all over the world.
The May crowning had been celebrated by students at St. Paul's school several
days earlier, who placed a wreath on a statue of the Virgin Mary and prayed a
decade of the rosary, the Marian devotion that dates back several centuries.
Pope John Paul II has declared this the year of the rosary, which is enjoying a
resurgence among Catholics. He also introduced a new set of mysteries,
contemplations on the life of Christ, that are reflected on while praying the
rosary. These new "luminous mysteries" are to be used on Thursdays.
They join the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries, which have been used by
Catholics since the 1500s. This is the first time in centuries that a pope has
introduced a new set of mysteries to the cherished devotion.
"I'm always surprised by how many mention to me how important the rosary
is to them. A lot of them are elderly people; but young people, college
students, from time to time, mention to me that the rosary is important to
them," said the Rev. Robert Gibbons, pastor of St. Paul's and chancellor
of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.
"It's been a popular devotion in the Catholic Church for centuries; and,
of course, it's not a mandatory devotion, but many people find it to be a help
in their prayer life."
The Rev. Paul Pecchie of St. Stephen's in Valrico is enthusiastic about the
"When you pray the rosary, it helps you to contemplate the face of
Christ," he said and pointed to the pope's October apostolic letter
concerning the devotion.
"The rosary gives us meditations on the life of Jesus and Mary,"
added Pecchie, who is the spiritual director of the St. Petersburg chapter of
Magnificat, a ministry to Catholic women that takes its name from words Mary
spoke to her cousin Elizabeth about being chosen to carry the Christ child.
There are a few misconceptions about the new mysteries, said Pecchie, citing
media reports that the pope had changed the rosary.
"He really didn't change it. He enhanced it," the priest said.
The new "mysteries of light" or "luminous mysteries" cover
Christ's life between his baptism and passion. They focus on his baptism in the
River Jordan, self-revelation at the marriage of
Cana, announcement of the kingdom of God with the invitation to conversion,
transfiguration when he revealed his glory to the apostles, and the institution
of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. The pope is recommending that these new
mysteries be recited on Thursdays. They join the traditional mysteries: joyful,
sorrowful and glorious.
The joyful mysteries, which cover the annunciation, visitation, birth of Jesus,
presentation and the finding of the child Jesus in the temple, are prayed on
Mondays and Saturdays. The sorrowful mysteries, covering the agony in the
garden, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, carrying of the
cross and the crucifixion, are said on Tuesdays and Fridays. The glorious
mysteries, to be said on Wednesdays and Sundays, cover the resurrection, the
ascension, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, the assumption and
the crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven.
(The Diocese of St. Petersburg's Web site, http://www.dioceseofstpete.org ,
gives detailed directions for praying the rosary.)
Basically, the rosary is a string of small and large beads and a crucifix.
There are five decades, or five sets of 10 small beads. A "Hail Mary"
is said at each of those beads. Each set of 10 beads, or decade, has a mystery
assigned to it. Between groups of Hail Marys, the faithful say a "Glory
Be," contemplate one of the mysteries and say the Lord's Prayer. The
devotion has spawned rosarymaking guilds, like the one Ruth Mattick, 68, heads
at St. Raphael's on Snell Isle.
"I started it four years ago and I've gotten a few women to work on it
with me. ... We've already sent out 10,000 of them," said Mrs. Mattick,
adding that her group's rosaries go to prisons, hospitals and overseas
missions, particularly Uganda.
George Goetz is in charge of the rosarymaking guild at the Cathedral of St.
Jude the Apostle.
The group, which meets on the first Wednesday of every month, sends rosaries
all over the world, including India and Russia, Goetz said.
"One of the great advantages of the rosary is that it is extremely
flexible in terms of how you may choose to use it," said Gibbons, St.
"Some people might meditate on the traditional mysteries; other people
might choose to meditate on other significant events in the life of Christ.
Other people might say a shortened version of it. It can be prayed anywhere.
You can pray it while you're jogging. You can pray it while you're sitting. You
can pray it while you're lying in bed, while you're driving, so long as you
keep your hands on the wheel."
Mary Maroney, a former Episcopalian, is a devotee of the rosary and is pleased
with the new mysteries.
"It's Jesus' life. It's the part we didn't have," she said of the
Mrs. Maroney joins other St. Paul's parishioners to say the rosary after daily
"We just do that impromptu," she said.
"It takes about 25 minutes."
Mrs. Maroney also recites the rosary with members of the St. Paul's chapter of
the Legion of Mary, a lay group that was founded in Dublin in 1921 and
encourages people to live their faith.
"We love the rosary. It's part of our daily prayers," she said of her
chapter, which meets once a week.
Right now Mrs. Maroney, who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, prays
the rosary using a string of beads she bought during a pilgrimage to Lourdes
early this month.
"My link with the rosary, with Our Lady and, of course, her son, just
helps me with everything," she said.
Pecchie, the Valrico priest, said interest in the rosary is growing among
"Some of our younger people realized that something might be lacking, so
they are looking for those things that might draw them closer to our
Lord," said Pecchie, 35.
At St. Paul's and other Catholic schools, students learn to recite the rosary.
Mrs. Maroney teaches the devotion to St. Paul's Brownies.
She tells them that "the rosary is like holding Mother Mary's hand as you
are walking through Jesus' life so you don't get lost."
"(Mary) always knows where her son is," Mrs. Maroney tells the girls.
"She is his biggest fan."
Shrine Time At the Franciscan Monastery [Source: The
Washington Post, May 16, 2003]
FROM a wooded hill in Northeast Washington, you can get a
glimpse of the Holy Land.
You can see the place where Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and the tomb
where he was buried in Jerusalem. Traveling further, you can descend to the
spooky catacombs of Rome, burial site of martyrs from centuries past. Or you
can relax in the gardens at France's Grotto of Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary
is said to have appeared to a peasant girl named Bernadette. Admission is free,
and you'll be back the same day, all courtesy of the friars at Washington's
The church and grounds of the 1899 monastery have scale reproductions of some
of the most famous shrines in the world. Foremost among them is the Holy
Sepulchre--the tomb of Christ--from which the monastery takes its formal
name, the Memorial Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
According to Brother Roger Petris, the Order of Friars Minor is in charge of
the monastery tours. He said the Franciscans built the monastery partly to help
inspire others to help the friars in their work preserving the original holy
shrines. "But also to give those who did not have the means to travel to
foreign lands the chance to learn what those places look like," he
explains. The result is part museum, part pilgrimage destination. It's also a
place that even a group of middle schoolers found "pretty cool."
A 45-minute tour of the church interiors is led by a Knight of Mount St.
Sepulchre, resplendent in a white, military-style uniform, complete with
ribbons and medals. The Knights are volunteers who act as honor guards for the
Blessed Sacrament (Holy Communion), and conduct tours of the church and
The catacombs winding beneath the church's main floor are one of the tour's
highlights. These re-creations of the Roman catacombs, with burial niches along
the narrow, shadowy corridors and primitive Christian art on the walls, bear
testimony to the heavy price of religious freedom.
The catacomb altar of 8-year-old Saint Innocent, whose actual, naturally
mummified remains (referred to as "uncorrupted") are preserved there,
was particularly popular with our young group. The child martyr's body is robed
and his face is masked, but what our boys termed a "mummy hand" is
visible within the altar's display case.
My family has toured the monastery twice and found that each Knight offered
different gruesome tales about the martyrs. The Knight leading our most recent
tour herded us into the dimly lit catacomb chapel of Saint Cecilia and gave a
gripping rendition of the saint's execution. An executioner tried three times
to behead Cecilia but was unsuccessful, and finally left the saint to bleed to
death. According to the Knight, because Cecilia sang God's praises as she
slowly expired, she became the patron saint of music. (As with many of the
saints, the details of Cecilia's martyrdom vary depending on the source of the
story.) The centerpiece of the tour of the church's main level is the copy of
the Holy Sepulchre, and visitors are allowed to enter this re-creation of the
enshrined tomb of Christ.
We also climbed the steep stairs to the Altar of Calvary, which marks the place
where Christ was crucified. The distance between the Calvary Altar and Christ's
tomb, as re-created within the church, is approximately the same as between
those original sites in Jerusalem, Brother Roger said.
The various shrines and chapels include intricate woodcarvings and wall panels,
as well as luminous stained glass windows, all of which inspired an
"awesome" or two from our fifth-graders.
After the tour, we checked out the exhibit rooms connected to the church. Two
rooms highlight photographs and paintings of religious figures and places. The
third room is more kid-enticing, displaying historical and religious artifacts,
some from before the time of Christ.
Displays of crucifixes and other Christian items beautifully handcrafted from
mother-of-pearl or olive wood (materials indigenous to the Holy Land) and of
items used in Jewish religious ceremonies drew considerable interest. But it
was the coins and weapons from the Crusades that garnered the most attention
from our group.
We also explored the monastery's lush grounds and gardens, and found the lower
level dominated by a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes. According to the story
made famous in the movie "The Song of Bernadette," in 1858 Bernadette
saw visions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes. The Virgin directed the girl to find
an underground spring, which was later believed to have healing powers. Wooden
benches allowed us to rest beside a statue of Bernadette gazing in adoration at
a figure of Mary set high into the face of the grotto.
The lower grounds offer other shrine re-creations, including the dusky
Gethsemane Grotto, the garden where Jesus was arrested, and the Tomb of the
Virgin Mary, originally constructed near Jerusalem by the Crusaders during the
On the upper grounds, we made a game of trying to decipher the different
languages used on plaques in the Rosary Portico, a columned, covered walkway
that extends across much of that part of the estate. The cloisters-like Portico
depicts the 15 mysteries of the Catholic rosary in bas-relief panels and
features recitations of the "Hail Mary" prayer in more than 140
The monastery, which is often toured by school groups, generally garnered high
marks from our children and their friends. Our well-traveled 13-year-old
friend, Michael Costelloe, concluded, "You can't really experience what
it's like to be in front of something thousands of years old. But the tour was
excellent if you want to get an idea of what different monuments in the Holy
Land are like."
My less cosmopolitan 11-year-old, Jonathan, had a slightly different take.
"That boy's mummy hand was awesome," he said, grinning. "This
was better than I thought it'd be."
THE FRANCISCAN MONASTERY -- 1400 Quincy St. NE. 202-526-6800. www.myfranciscan.com.
Tours of the church and catacombs are given Monday through Saturday at 9, 10,
11, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Sunday tours are on the hour from 1 to 4. Admission is free,
but donations are welcomed. Free parking is available in two lots on 14th
Street. The gift shop is open from 9 to 5 daily.
Image wearers [Source: World Magazine, May 24, 2003]
Fewer than 5 percent of Danes attend church regularly, but
Denmark was scandalized last week when a supermarket chain offered sandals with
images of Jesus on them (another sandal carried an image of the Virgin Mary).
The concern was not with the image itself but its placement on the sandal.
Roman Catholic priest Stephen Holm said it was "degrading to step on
someone's image." The chain, Kvickly, pulled the sandals after protests.
Nun's stamp albums honor the Virgin Mary [Source: The
Naperville Sun, June 1, 2003]
There is only one challenge that Sister DePaul Stava faces when
adding to her large stamp collection.
"You just don't know where to stop," she said.
Stava, a Benedictine nun at Sacred Heart Monastery in Lisle for more than half
a century, has acquired quite a collection over the years. But four albums in
particular demonstrate her dedication to her hobby as well as to her faith.
In her collection, there are more than 5,000 stamps from more than 130
countries honoring the Virgin Mary.
"It's a consuming passion," said Sister Celine Laketek about Stava's
collection. Laketek, along with a few residents of Villa St. Benedict here,
attentively listened to Stava as she showed her collection one recent Friday
Holding an album full of first-day issue stamps for her audience to see, Stava
was happy to discuss how she became involved in philately.
Her collection began when she was a young girl, she said. At the age of 3, she
had entered St. Joseph's Bohemian Orphanage, which is now Benet Academy. Later,
Stava attended Sacred Heart Academy, a girls' boarding school run by nuns.
Often she would visit with one of the sisters in the school office. The nun
would keep a box of various canceled stamps near her desk.
"She would let me go through them and I would say, 'Oh, this us
beautiful,' and she would let me take them," Stava said.
While Stava took great care of those stamps, making notes and carefully placing
them in albums, it was not a collection that she expected to keep. After she
entered the convent in 1949, her collection was put in storage by the sisters
while she completed her studies.
"At the orphanage it was just a stamp collection," Stava said.
"But 1954 was the highlight year. It was a Marian year. All these stamps
came out (depicting the Virgin Mary) and I just got excited all over
After seeing those stamps, she decided to collect all the stamps she could find
that depicted the Blessed Mother.
"I thought it would be unique," she said.
The result is a collection of first-day issue stamps bearing Mary's image. Each
of those stamps is accompanied by a drawing, often of a religious nature, on
its own postcard.
"I was just so fascinated that they (the U.S. Postal Service) started
putting out so many stamps. I mean, they never put anything religious
out," she said. "Then when these started and continued year after
year with the Christmas stamp, there was always a Madonna."
Starting around 1966, the Mary stamps were issued on a regular basis in the
United States as part of the holiday series released in time for Christmas.
"Each year they put out a contemporary stamp, but they also put out a
religious stamp," Stava said.
"For the most part, I don't collect the contemporary ones, but here and
there they'll be together with the religious one. Like here's a Santa
Claus," she said, pointing to a postcard with both types of stamps.
The accompanying art, known as cachet, on the postcards comes from all around
the world. While some of the designs are basic pencil drawings, others are
detailed pieces in vibrant colors. Among Stava's favorites are silk cachets,
which are works produced on silk postcards or squares of silk attached to
"They're pretty enough for a stained-glass window," she said.
While Mary is her favorite, there are other subjects that have a special place
in Stava's collection. From Spain, she has a sheet of stamps depicting the 15
mysteries of the Rosary. And she also has eight sheets of stamps honoring St.
Francis of Assisi.
"Because he loves the animals," she said.
SINEAD TELLS OF FAMILY'S PAIN [Source: The Mirror, May
SINEAD O'Connor last night told of the suffering she went
through at the hands of her violent and mentally ill mother.
But despite years of abuse the controversial star said the death of her mother
in a car crash when she was 17 was the worst thing that ever happened to her.
O'Connor, 36, who shocked the music world last month when she revealed she
would be retiring in July, said: "I was utterly devastated when she
died." Speaking to Gerry Ryan on RTE's Ryan Confidential the mother-of-two
added: "I loved my mother, I always forgave her and I had compassion for
her but she had a mental illness and no one really knew what happened to her or
why it happened.
"She was very angry with my sexuality and tried to destroy my womb by
stamping on me or kicking me.
"I just always put it down to her illness and felt she never really knew
what she was doing."
The singer, who plans to go to college and study theology in order to become a
religion teacher, described her mother as very calculated.
She said: "I don't think my father ever knew what was going on. A lot of
the abuse happened when he wasn't there.
"I was lucky to be born on December 8 which is the feast of the Immaculate
Conception so every year my mother would give me a picture of the Virgin Mary.
"My father was very religious and took us to Mass every week so when I was
lying under my mother's boot I often thought about religion and the image of
the Virgin Mary.
"In my upbringing I had difficulty with a lot of emotions. When you're
young the chief feeling you're not allowed to have is anger.
"My brother and sister have a right to their privacy but what my mother
did to me she did not necessarily do to them."
O'Connor also spoke of her relationship with the fathers of her two children -
Jake, 16, the son of London-based drummer and producer John Reynolds and Roisin,
7, the daughter of journalist John Waters.
She said: "Myself and John are great friends and always have been. Myself
and Roisin's father are friends now but we didn't really know each other when
we were making Roisin.
"I love my children very much and I look forward to getting old and being
a grandmother. Just to not have no pressure and to not feel you have to make an
effort to make yourself beautiful all the time.
"I look forward to that part of my life."
She also explained the reason behind her shaven head.
She said: "I have always liked Buddhist nuns who shaved their heads. I
just like the way they're very divine."
KNOCK-OUT BLOW FOR IRISH COUNCIL [Source: The People,
May 25, 2003]
MAYO County Council has been accused of neglect in the upkeep
of the world famous village of Knock. The village is where the Virgin Mary is
said to have appeared over 100 years ago.
When Pope John Paul visited there he described the shrine as "the goal of
his journey to Ireland."
But now the Knock Area Development Association is up in arms over what it
claims is the shabby state of the village due to inaction by Mayo County
PHILIPPINE PARISH COMMEMORATES OUR LADY OF HOPE APPARITION
IN FRANCE [Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 25, 2003]
OUR Lady of Hope Parish in Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City, is
dedicated to the title of the Virgin Mary when she
appeared to Eugene Barbadette on Jan. 17, 1871, in Pontmain, France, giving
hope at the time when war was going on between France and Prussia. By Jan. 17,
1871, the Prussians were just across the river from Laval, the city next to
When Eugene went to the barn door to check the weather, he noticed an unusual
sight at Augustine Guidecoq's house, 70 ft above the roof. He saw a beautiful
The Lady was dressed in a flowing robe of deep, radiant blue studded with gold
stars. The sleeves were full, extending to the hands. On her feet, she was
wearing blue slippers tied with gold ribbon in the shape of a rosette. Her hair
was completely covered with a black veil thrown over her shoulders and reaching
down to her elbow. On her head, a gold crown rose slightly to a peak and had no
ornament except for a red band circling the center. Her hands were extended
without the rays of light seen in the Miraculous Medal apparition.
Neighbors gathered in front of this vision. They started to sing hymns and
prayed the Rosary, as stars gathered by twos below the Lady's feet, as if
representing the Hail Mary's of the Rosary.
Then a white banner, about a yard wide, unrolled beneath the Lady's feet. Here
was spelled the message: "But pray, my children, God will soon grant your
request. My Son allows Himself to be moved by compassion."
The apparition lasted about three hours.
While this was going on, Gen. Von Schmidt of the Prussian Army, about to run
through Laval toward Pontmain, received orders from his commander not to take
the city. The invasion of the Catholic West never came about.
On Jan. 23, 1871, the long-hoped armistice was signed. The promised "God
will soon grant your request," delivered by Our Lady of Hope, had been
How did the image reached the Philippines?
While the church of the QC parish was being built in 1964, enlarging the kubo
chapel built in the 1950s on a lot donated by Segunda Alcantara, Fr. Alfredo
Reyes, OP, asked his assistant, Fr. Rodolfo Gallardo, to devote his time to
Bagong Pag-asa. In his search for the title of Our Lady as patroness of the
parish, Father Gallardo received from a cousin a leaflet of novena prayers to
Our Lady of Hope, with a picture of Our Lady in Essex, New York.
On Jan. 17, 1971, Father Reyes finally received a statue of Our Lady.
The parish covers Bagong Pag-asa, Teresa and Carmel subdivisions, including
BLISS and SM City. Its first parish priest was Msgr. Marcelino Montemayor.
Today, the feast of Our Lady of Hope, parish priest Fr. Arnel Recinto
celebrates the fiesta Mass at 6:45 a.m., to be broadcast on Radio Veritas. High
Mass is at 9:45 a.m.
Mary's shrine in Wisconsin, USA
Hubertus, Wisconsin, is the site of the national shrine of Mary, Help of
Christians, which my friend Billy Roces visited for the first time in 2001.
He, his mother, former Legazpi Mayor Mely Roces, and his brother Dr. Ramon
Roces went there on a pilgrimage last February, to pray for the recovery of
Msgr. Ralph Salazar, Mayor Roces' nephew and parish priest of St. John the
Baptist Parish in Tabaco, Albay.
Msgr. Salazar had a quadruple bypass operation in Chicago on Feb. 11. He was
suffering from so much pain and the feeling of being bloated.
When they came back from the pilgrimage, the priest was feeling much better,
saying he felt the hand of Mama Mary healing him. He just came back from the
States to resume his duties as parish priest.
The shrine of Our Lady is a neo-Romanesque church with stained-glass windows
and mosaics. Just 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee, it is visible for miles in
all directions. The spires of Holy Hill soar to the heavens.
Pilgrims walk along the half-mile Way of the Cross, life-size group sculptures
representing the Passion of Jesus. Others pray at the Lourdes Grotto or stroll
around 400 wooded acres of Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail.
Opening off the main body of the church is a chapel with a statue of Mary
presenting her Son to the world. Crutches and other mementos line up one wall
of the entrance, evidence of the miracles that have happened here.
Discalced Carmelite friars operate the church and the retreats held here. For
more info, please write them at 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus, Wisconsin
53033-9407, USA, call (262) 682-1838, or visit www.holyhill.com
Musical bouquet for Mary
This month, Jay Gomez and the Jesuit Music Ministry of the Jesuit
Communications Foundation offer a different bouquet to our Mother, as they
present "Marian Matins: Hymns of Our Lady in String Quartet." The
program features favorite Marian hymns, composed by Jesuits and laity, as
interpreted by a string quartet.
"Marian Matins" follows the tradition of "Lauds" and
providing instrumental music for meditation. But where "Lauds" features the
piano of Bro. Arnel Aquino, SJ, and "Vespers" fuses flute and guitar,
follows the tradition of chamber music, featuring performances by Jeremy Dadap
(violin 1 and 2), Lauro Valentino Cad (viola), Nino Llorin (cello), Ariel
Arambulo (violin 1) and Corinna Lapena (violin 2).
Fr. Eddie Hontiveros' "Magnificat" and "Maria, Bukang-Liwayway,"
Fr. Maoling Francisco's "Stella Maris" and "Mariang Ina Ko,"
Fr. Nemy Que's "Aba, Ginoong Maria" and Bro. Aquino's "Oyayi"
all find new interpretations in the harmonies of chamber music.
As May flowers make a bouquet, the violins, viola and cello make the prayer
that is "Marian Matins."
Lipa's pipe organ blessed
San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa, Batangas, is richer with a newly restored pipe
organ blessed by Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales on May 2.
A pipe organ concerto, featuring organists Armando Salazar, Fr. Manny Marfori,
Fr. Bong Panganiban and Rodel Garcia, followed after the Mass. Also featured
were the Festival Choir of Las Pinas, St. Scholastica's College Chamber
Orchestra and the Sepraphim of Lipa City.
Being one of only 59 units in the Philippines and the only one in Batangas, the
1,500 stoplist mechanical pipe organ took two years to repair and rehabilitate
at a cost of P3.3 million. The Diego Cera Organ builders did the job. Parish
priest Msgr. Alfredo Madlangbayan led in the fundraising.
Our Lady of the Visitation
May 31 is the feast of Our Lady of the Visitation. The Church of St. Catherine
in Carcar, Cebu, has a miraculous image of Our Lady of the Visitation inspired
by a dream of a devotee who was told by the Virgin that she wanted her image to
be enshrined in the old church.
Santacruzan in Ramon, Tarlac
The Parish of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Ramos, Tarlac, will hold a
grand santacruzan on May 31, after the blessing of the life-size image of the
Fr. Arwyn Diesta, rector of Our Lady of Penafrancia Seminary in Sorsogon, will
celebrate his 25th anniversary as a priest today, which is also his birthday.
Sister Ruth carries her statue of the Virgin Mary along Bond
Street during her visit to Coventry [Source: Coventry Evening Telegraph,
May 23, 2003]
The 62-year-old nun checked out of her Coventry hotel today on
the final leg of a world tour that has taken the past 13 years. And everywhere
she goes, through nearly 200 countries, she carries with her a 3ft statue of
the Virgin Mary.
The London-born missionary, from the order of One In Christ, says the statue
draws people of all religions into conversations with her.
But not all of them are friendly.
She has been chased by a Muslim mob in Bosnia and had abuse hurled at her by
members of the Protestant Orange Order in Northern Ireland.
And in Holland, she prayed with prostitutes in a shop window in Amsterdam.
Sister Ruth, who speaks several languages, arrived in Coventry by train on
Wednesday and checked into the Campanile Hotel in Walsgrave.
Yesterday she visited pubs and shops in the city, hoping to meet people who do
not usually go to church.
She spent over half-an-hour chatting to people outside the Sainsbury's Local
store in the Lower Precinct. And she said she found Coventry a peaceful,
But elsewhere on her travels she has been molested, abused, pushed down stairs
and threatened with prison.
She admitted: "I am terrified 90 per cent of the time but it is my mission
to reach as many people as possible. I believe it is my duty.
"When I carry the statue, people just come up to me and ask me to pray for
them. It doesn't matter whether they are Buddhist, Jewish or Hindu. They all
come and tell me their terrible problems."
She estimates she can visit up to 30 more countries in the next two years
before completing her mission. Now, though, her tour of the West Midlands
CHURCH THIEVES STRIKE AGAIN IN CEBU [Source: Philippine
Daily Inquirer, May 30, 2003]
Unidentified persons have stolen the antique wooden head of the
image of the Blessed Virgin Mary inside the San Isidro
Parish church in San Fernando town, 29 km south of here.
Senior Supt. Maximo Calimlim, provincial police director, ordered an
investigation into the latest church theft, the 20th incident in their records
since April last year.
He directed Supt. Teodoro Manuel, chief of the police intelligence and
investigation division, to identify and capture the thieves.
Manuel, in turn, directed the San Fernando police chief, Insp. Feliciano Canedo,
to coordinate with parishioners in the investigation.
Luz Baricuatro, secretary of San Fernando parish priest Leo Cabahug, said the
wooden head of the Blessed Virgin was taken between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. after
the first Mass on May 19.
She said the image was placed inside the church because of the Flores de Mayo
procession. It was put in a carriage near the pulpit.
Angeling Caballero noticed that the head was gone while she was cleaning the
UPSHOT [Source: Business World (Philippines), May 29,
I once interviewed a rich lady at the Mother Ignacia Healing
Center in Novaliches, who was healed of breast cancer by the Lord through the
hands of Sister Raquel Reodica, RVM.
In gratitude, she donated a life-sized statue of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu
Santo, founder of the RVM, a Catholic congregation which means Religious of the
Virgin Mary. In the presence of the lady, Sister Raquel
and another sister, two gardeners placed the heavy life-sized statue in a
garden facing a wide open green lawn at the back of the retreat house.
The lady noticed the face of Mother Ignacia momentarily turned pink, as if she
was alive. She told the other four present about it, and they were all amazed
when even Mother Ignacia's eyes glistened as if she was alive. Now, Sister
Raquel, invoking Mother Ignacia's name in her healing prayers, is besieged by
young and old, rich and poor, politicos and bishops.
Mother Ignacia is up for beatification. Last year, a papal committee from the
Vatican visited Novaliches in their documentation of and investigation into the
possible beatification of Mother Ignacia. They were considering to attribute
and relate to Mother Ignacia Sister Raquel's healing power. They interviewed
some of those who were healed. If Mother Ignacia passes the stiff hurdle of
Vatican investigation, she will be the first Filipino woman to be beatified.
There is a natural attraction towards the Lord's healing for those who are in
pain. But physical healing is not the main point, Sister Raquel points out.
Spiritual healing--the going back to the Lord--is the main point. Spiritual
healing is not only a prerequisite, it is also the reason for healing. Sister
Raquel calls physical healing "only a bonus."
As a prayer-poem goes: "It is in pain that I (the Lord) draw you close to
Me. It is in loneliness that you seek Me and others to love. It is in suffering
that My kingdom comes to you." Pain and healing are intertwined to make
people go back to the Lord, says this prayer-poem.
There is something strange about the crowd that goes to Novaliches. You see a
lot of wheelchairs, old people in pain, frail children clinging to their
mothers. It is a sight of pain, but it is also a sight of deliverance. Within
the confines of this sacred place, rich and poor mingle. They do not look down
on or up to each other. There are no social classes. They all look up to the
There is the story of Charlie who visited the Mother Ignacia Healing Center.
Charlie told Sister Raquel that the doctor told him a strange story after he
operated on the tumor on his (Charlie's) esophagus. The doctor was amazed when,
by itself, the tumor started trembling. Suddenly, the tumor detached itself
right in front of the doctor's eyes. The doctor shouted, "The Lord is
operating." Sister Raquel attributes healings in Novaliches such as this
to Mother Ignacia whom she invokes. Such stories are rare. There are many other
stories which are not so fantastic. You have to go to Novaliches, and talk to
the people who have been healed. They are the best witnesses to their own
Sister Raquel performs "healing baths" on Saturdays. She has an
improvised pulpit from where she douses people with about five large ladle-full
each or about half a pail of water. She does not just sprinkle water, she
shocks them with a cold water bath, babies and old women in wheelchairs alike,
without exception. You need extra clothes. Of course, the healing bath is
Once, after two television news programs featured Sister Raquel, the crowd was
overwhelming. The healing bath ended at 4:30 in the morning. Sister Raquel
doused water on about 2,000 people that day. Multiply that by five ladles per
person and you get 10,000 total ladle douses, which is quite a feat for the
frail nun. Amazingly, she said she was not tired. She gets hungry and sleepy,
but the healing sessions do not tire her. Her healing energy seems endless.
They even run out of water and have to order a truckload of water to be
Sister Raquel explains the water itself does not heal, but is an instrument of
healing. She says most of those who take the healing bath realizes the Lord is
cleansing them spiritually through the water. The healing bath is then a form
There is a theory that miracles precede a cataclysm sent by God. After Fatima
was the bloody Spanish Civil War. After Lourdes was World War I. After
Medjugorje was the genocides of the Serb wars. In this light, why is there a
lot of healings emerging in the world today? Is it a "final call"
before the next big cataclysm that would make Sept. 11 look like a firecracker?
What with all the new high-tech weapons of mass destruction, chemical warfare,
SARS in Asia, earthquake in Algeria, floods in China?
Who is really the healer? I would say the beatified-to-be Mother Ignacia risen
from the grave, touching Sister Raquel to heal in the name of the Lord.
For those who need healing, use your cellphone for an automatic reply. For
Globe, text "JESUSHEALS" to 2355, and for Smart, text "mytxt(space)JESUSHEALS"
to 211. For more information, e-mail the author at email@example.com.
WHEN MARIAN IMAGE SMILES, A MIRACLE FOLLOWS [Source:
Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 19, 2003]
FOR 50 years, a two-and-a-half-foot tall image of the Our Lady
of Fatima has been showering blessings on devotees in Mandaluyong.
It is for this reason that they endure the heat, brave the rain and wade
through floods to maintain their half-century old tradition of bringing the
image to a different house every week and praying the rosary to it everyday,
which they call their "block rosary devotion."
The devotees comprise the Our Lady of Fatima Guild, who swear that the image of
the Virgin Mary is "miraculous," and provides
abundant blessings to those who believe.
Norma Lim, the incoming hermana of the guild and its member for 25 years, says
she credits her good fortune to the help that the Blessed Mother gave her
because of her devotion. From having close to nothing, Lim now has various
businesses and is able to provide for her family well.
Adi Flores, on the other hand, says she has learned that the Virgin Mary will
always help you in times of need.
She recalls that when she accepted the post of hermana several years back, she
had no way of knowing how to deal with her duties, financial and otherwise. But
with the Blessed Mother, all the assistance and all the help she needed at the
time came just when she needed them.
Members of the guild say the Lady of Fatima has been good to them, which is why
they struggle to maintain their block rosary devotion.
"We'd bring the image to a house and go there to pray, even if the flood
was up to here," Lim says, pointing to an area just below her chest.
Dr. Adela Franco, one of the guild's 10 remaining original members, adds that
there was no week in the guild's 50 years that the image was not transferred to
a new home, and no day when the members did not pray the rosary to the image.
Of course, they did not mind the effort; for them there was fulfillment in
their acts. Like what the Lady of Fatima promised, their prayers brought them
So intense are the guild members' belief in the Blessed Virgin that they say
they know when she will grant their prayers or not.
"If you pray to her and she's smiling, then you can expect your prayer to
be answered," says Flores. "But if she's not, then you better think
about what you just asked for."
Other guild members also claim to seeing the image smile when it "feels
welcome" in a household, or lose the cheery expression when the image
feels the homeowners do not receive her with open hearts.
The Lady of Fatima, which now has a 36-year-old chapel on P. Cruz Sreet in
Mandaluyong City, is also the guild's inspiration for their numerous outreach
and catechism programs yearly. They buy canned goods, fruits, rice and other
staples and give them to needy families who flock to guild members' areas
during Christmas time.
They also work to spread their beliefs. In fact, two other images have been
donated to Barrio San Jose, a less than well-off area in Mandaluyong, by
members of the guild, and they lead residents in prayer there.
For the guild members, giving back to the needy is their way of thanking the
Lady of Fatima for the blessings they have received.
It was in 1953 when the Virgin Mary's devotees decided to have an image of the
Lady of Fatima made.
The guild's original 20 members chipped in P20 each to have noted sculptor
Maximo Vicente make a wooden image of the blessed virgin, which they prayed to
In 1966, Marian devotee Judge Delia Medina decided to build a chapel in the
Lady of Fatima's honor upon the instruction of their parish priest, despite
But as devotees know, the blessed mother will provide. That same year, Medina,
who was then a lawyer, was made to represent a couple who were the sole
beneficiaries of American philanthropist Elsie Gaches' fortune. When the couple
won their court case, they gave Medina a substantial fee as payment for her
services. Thus, Medina was able to finance the construction of the chapel.
But this "miracle" was not the last the devotees saw. A year later,
Medina was hard pressed to find a statue of the Fatima to house in the chapel
because the one she had ordered from Portugal was late in coming. A few days
before the chapel's inauguration, she did all she could to find a replacement
but failed several times. But a day before the inauguration, she saw an
advertisement for an auction sale of properties belonging to a seminary and
there found a five-foot tall statue of the Lady of Fatima.
These miracles were only the beginning. The Mandaluyong devotees would later
experience the blessings that the Lady of Fatima showered them with.
On May 13, the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel commemorated the golden anniversary of
the block rosary devotion. Mass and festivities were held. But more than these,
they also gave thanks to half a century of blessings that had marked their life
Sisters who do it for others [Source: Sunday Times
(South Africa), May 25, 2003]
Loreto convent schools teach girls loyalty, commitment and joy
SINCE the 19th century, the sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin
Mary have played a major role in the establishment of Loreto
schools around the world. These spread the teachings of Mary Ward, the 16th
century champion of women in the Catholic church, namely honesty, loyalty,
commitment, joy and justice. They also provided educational opportunities for
girls at a time when these were limited.
In 1878, Margaret Mary Jolivet and two other pioneers brought the dream to
South Africa and the Loreto Convent Skinner Street was opened in Pretoria.
As time went on, more sisters came to South Africa and during the 1930s they
established themselves across the country.
The convents of Lydenburg in Mpumalanga, Hillcrest (later changed to Queenswood)
in Pretoria, Strand in the Western Cape, Sea Point in Cape Town and Glen Cowie
in the Northern Province opened their doors.
Today, sisters do not teach at the school in Skinner Street, but they continue
to participate in celebrations and important events, and to provide spiritual
support and encouragement.
And their dream of providing education for girls continues to be realised.
Our mission statement: to establish a Christian community based on Gospel
values and the Loreto tradition, in which the potential of each person will be
We will strive to do this by evangelisation, example, prayer, responsible
discipline and unconditional acceptance of one another.
By setting high educational and moral standards, we aim to produce
well-educated, mature, self-disciplined citizens who will serve their own
community and their country.
Personal Story; Interview With Philosophy Student Matthew
O'Brien [Source: Fox News Network, June 3, 2003]
O'REILLY: In the in the "Personal Story" segment
tonight, at Princeton University, there is an art exhibit going on that
contains a controversial collage featuring naked images of the female body in
the form of a cross. Also, another display entitled, "Shackles of the AIDS
Virus" containing images of the Virgin Mary.
Catholics and other Christians are voicing concern, but, apparently, Princeton
Dean, Ann Murray Slaughter, is not going to do anything, saying the display
has, quote, "educational values", unquote.
Joining us from Philadelphia is Matthew O'Brien, a Catholic who graduated from
Princeton this morning with a degree in philosophy. Well, congratulations to
you, Mr. O'Brien. That's a very nice achievement to have.
MATTHEW O'BRIEN, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY GRADUATE: Thank you.
O'REILLY: All right, you are a Catholic, as we said. You go to this display,
and how did you see it? I mean, how did you react to it?
O'BRIEN: Well, it's located in a prominent public building, and so I saw it
when a friend pointed it out to me when I walked by, and there were three main
objectionable pieces. One, the naked pictures -- pornographic pictures of women
shaped in a cross that you mentioned. The the second had a torn-up image of the
sacred heart of Jesus, and the third, which I think is the most objectionable,
is the one you referred to, that has actually scapulars, which are sacred
objects that a Catholic would wear around his neck like a necklace.
O'REILLY: OK. So now we're looking at the cross one.
We're not going to do close-ups here, ladies and gentlemen, because there's no
You have images of female body parts within the body of the cross.
And then we'll see the AIDS one in a minute. There it is. They have icons of
the Christian faith scapulars, Virgin Mary in this.
Now -- all right. So were you offended here, Mr. O'Brien, when you saw this?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I was as long as--in addition to many other students and
O'REILLY: OK. And that's...
O'BRIEN: ... but the primary...
O'REILLY: That's understandable. That's understandable.
O'REILLY: So you take your complaint to Dean Slaughter, correct, and she says--tell us about that conversation.
O'BRIEN: Well, I spoke with her along with two other students, and she was very
She wasn't directly responsible for picking this exhibit, a curator did it, but
when she found out about it, when we told her, she said immediately she was
very concerned, she would speak with the president of the university that day,
she would contact the dean of religious life and the Catholic chaplain for
counsel and advice.
And we were happy with the meeting because she seemed so concerned, and we left
the meeting very content she would at least take our criticisms very seriously,
and we were hopeful the offending pieces would be taken down.
O'REILLY: But that didn't happen.
O'BRIEN: No, it didn't. And as far--she never contacted the dean of religious
life, never contacted the Catholic chaplain, and I don't know whether she ever
spoke to the president of the university.
O'REILLY: All right. Now I understand the conversation--and please correct me
if I'm wrong because I'm taking this from other sources, not--I wasn't there,
obviously--that she said she would never do this if it were a Jewish religion
or another minority or Muslims or something like that. She said they would
never do this, correct?
O'BRIEN: Right. Well, what she said was it would be very unlikely that the
Woodrow Wilson School, a unit of Princeton, would sponsor a display that
desecrated Islamic objects in the way that it had desecrated Catholic ones.
O'REILLY: How did that come up? Did you make that comparison? Did you say would
you do this if it was an Islamic display?
O'BRIEN: Sure. We offered a thought experiment. Would you do the same thing to
pages of the Quran and put on a canvas entitled "Shackles of
O'REILLY: All right. So you...
O'BRIEN: ... and...
O'REILLY: You said that to her...
O'REILLY: ... and she said, no, we wouldn't do that.
O'REILLY: So the follow-up question is, well, why are you doing it to the
O'BRIEN: Right, right.
O'REILLY: And her answer was?
O'BRIEN: Well, we never got a clear answer to this question. It's fundamentally
a matter of equal respect and fairness, but we've never been explained or
offered a principle of why Catholics should be treated differently and singled
out for desecration when other religions or minorities are protected by the
O'REILLY: Now do you believe that to be true? Do you believe there is a double
standard there, that it's OK to Christian and Catholic bash but not OK to bash
O'BRIEN: Sure. I think that's the way it is in practice. I doubt that anyone
would come out and say that, but we simply have to judge what the case is by
looking at this exhibit, and we all know that something derisive towards Islam
in that way would never be sponsored, as Dean Slaughter said, and, for that
matter, other protected groups like homosexuals or African-Americans,
traditionally groups that have been treated very sensitively by liberals in
general, wouldn't be treated in the same way. I think...
O'REILLY: No. I...
O'BRIEN: ... anyone would recognize that.
O'REILLY: I think you're right, and I think, if they were, if it did happen,
you'd have huge demonstrations. You'd have all kinds of stuff. Yet it's you and
two other guys on the campus at Princeton.
O'REILLY: Mr. O'Brien, we want to wish you the best with your degree in
philosophy from Princeton, and thanks very much for letting us know about this.
O'BRIEN: Thank you.
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