Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the many ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.
To celebrate the month of August with Mary:
Marian Commemoration Days
Mary Page offers a variety of resources inviting study, reflection and meditation. We also list important Marian dates for each month of the year. Please see Marian Commemoration Days for the month of August.
The Eucharist with Mary
Eucharist with Mary is an answer to John Paul II's proclamation of "a special Year of the Eucharist" (2004-2005). This feature will explore facets of Mary's relationship with the Eucharist and will be updated frequently throughout this year. Our latest addition is The Eucharist and the Rosary.
New Web Addresses for The Mary Page
In order to make our web site more accessible, The Mary Page may now be reached at the following URLs: marypage.org; themarypage.org; and themarypage.net. The original address on the University of Dayton site remains active as well.
Two important Catholic websites have added The Mary Page to their list of Media Partners. CatholicWeb.com highlights items from The Mary Page in their section on Catholic News. Catholic.net includes a Mary Channel on their navbar with Mary Page articles. Please visit these site in return. We expect continued collaboration with them in the future.
Polish Madonna Prints Now For Sale
Note: This is an obsolete article maintained for archival purposes. As of November 2009, the images below are not available for purchase at The Marian Library.
Nine different prints are now available of Wislawa Kwiatkowska's "Polish Madonnas in Art and Poetry" which were featured in the June issue of St. Anthony Messenger. Each picture measures 10" x 12 ¼" on a sheet of 80# 11" x 14" paper.
The pictures available are:
The prints are $5 each, and there is an additional charge of $5 for each quantity of 9 prints or less to cover postage and handling. Here is an example of the postage and handling rates:
Specify which prints and the quantity you want and make a check or money order out to "The Marian Library." Mail it to:
We also have a "Polish Madonna" Windows PC screensaver that shows all twelve of the pictures that were in the June 2005 St. Anthony Messenger article. It sells for $5.00, which includes postage and handling.
If you have any questions, please call 937-229-4254 or 937-229-4214.
Polish Madonnas in Art and Poetry
An exhibit of Marian paintings by renowned Polish artist, Wislawa Kwiatkowska, will be on display in the Marian Library Gallery on the 7th floor of Roesch Library until September 8 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm weekdays (except holidays). A portion of the fifty paintings will also be display in the Gallery on the first floor of Roesch Library from 8am to 10 pm Monday-Thursday, 8am - 6 pm Friday, and 12-6 pm weekends (except holidays) through July 31. For further information, or to arrange a special visit during other times, call 937-229-4214. Click here for a virtual exhibit.
Creches and Straw Art are also on display in our museum.
International Marian Research Institute Course ScheduleIMRI courses for the Summer 2005 semester concluded on July 29. The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.
Living With Mary TodayThe Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute plans to hold a four day symposium on Mary in July 2006. For more information click into: campus.udayton.edu/mary/symposiun06.html.
Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.
You are invited to help us pray for our Prayer Corner intentions. Please take a look! This site has been updated and enhanced and now allows users to directly submit prayer requests or to volunteer as a prayer partner for these intentions!
Icon, Once Kept by John Paul II,
Returns to Kazan
The icon of the Mother of God which Pope John Paul II sent to Moscow's Patriarch Alexy II less than a year ago, was turned over to the Orthodox diocese of Kazan.
Alexy II turned over the icon today, the feast of the icon's apparition in the 16th century. John Paul II had kept the icon, personally, in his apartment at the Vatican.
Tradition said that the small icon appeared miraculously in the city of Kazan, capital of Tatarstan, some 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Moscow. The icon became famous for its miracles.
Alexy II took the icon to the banks of the Volga River, in a ceremony followed by a procession, in which the image was returned to the Diocese of Kazan after a 101-year absence.
The Virgin of Kazan is the most famous and most venerated image among Russian Orthodox, representing reconciliation among the various religious confessions.
During his homily Patriarch Alexy II said that Muslim-Christian dialogue is one of the most important initiatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, reported Vatican Radio.
The Orthodox patriarch celebrated the solemn ceremony for the feast of the Icon of the Mother of God in the restored Cathedral of the Annunciation in Kazan.
It was the first religious ceremony in this church for more than eight decades, as during the Soviet period the cathedral served as the headquarters of a university, noted AsiaNews.
A Catholic parish priest from Kazan attended the ceremony, as did President Mintimer Shaimiyev of Tatarstan, and representatives of the Muslim community. Almost half of this Russian republic is Muslim.
Thousands of people followed the ceremony on giant television screens installed in the streets.
After the ceremony in the cathedral, the icon was taken in procession to the monastery of the Mother of God where the image was found in the 16th century. The monastery was turned into a tobacco factory during the Soviet period.
Until the restoration of the monastery is complete, the icon will be kept in the Zilantov convent for women, noted the Italian newspaper Avvenire.
St. Mary Mayor to Celebrate the
Miracle of the Snowfall
The Basilica of St. Mary Major will hold its traditional triduum from August 1 to 3 and two days of celebration on August 4 and 5, in commemoration of the miracle of the snowfall that occurred during the night of August 4-5 in the year 358 on the site where the basilica now stands.
According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to two faithful Roman Christians, the patrician John and his wife, as well as to Pope Liberius (352-366), asking that a church be built in her honor on the site where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5. Pope Liberius traced the outlines of the church in the snow and the first basilica was built on that site. It was completed about a century later by Pope Sixtus III (432-440), after the Council of Ephesus in 431 during which Mary was declared to be the Mother of God.
During the triduum, or three days of preparation for the feast, there will be a daily recitation of the Rosary and meditation on its mysteries. The author of the meditations is Fr. Gabriele Caranta, rector of the Shrine of St. Mary of the Gold in Terni, Italy. The Masses, one on each day of the triduum, will be celebrated by: Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, Archbishop Paolo Romeo, apostolic nuncio to Italy, and Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, president emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.
The feast of August 4 will begin with the recitation of the Rosary, followed by vespers presided by Cardinal Bernard Law, archpriest of the basilica, and Mass celebrated by Bishop Domenico Sigalini of Palestrina, Italy.
The morning of August 5 will open with the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, after which Cardinal Law will preside at the pontifical Mass. The afternoon's celebrations include the recitation of the Rosary, second vespers presided by Cardinal Law, and Mass celebrated by Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo, Italy.
During the pontifical Mass and the second vespers, the traditional shower of flower petals will descend from the ceiling of the basilica to commemorate the August snowfall in 358.
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.
When Jesus Came to Surrey
The Angel Gabriel ambles on in a pink T-shirt and lime-green capri pants. A king in full regalia munches on a sandwich. A well is being painted with a mud-coloured substance. "Oh yes, we wanted a weathered look. Manure's just the thing," an elderly gentleman shouts to the painters, by way of support.
This is Wintershall, a 1,000-acre estate in Surrey, where last-minute preparations are taking place for The Life of Christ. Every year the owner, Peter Hutley, transforms the grounds into first-century Palestine to stage the play. A lake acts as the river Jordan and the Sea of Galilee; Lazarus' tomb and the temple in Jerusalem are built out of polystyrene and placed around the spectacular grounds.
Charting the New Testament from the Annunciation to the Ascension, the open-air show lasts five and a half hours, and features 270 actors, 30 sheep, 15 horses, two donkeys and a camel. Jesus is the only paid member of the cast; the rest are enthusiastic amateurs.
The son of a market gardener, Hutley amassed a £110m fortune in property development, and bought Wintershall in the early 1960s. At the time, his wife, Ann, was suffering from depression. When she heard about sightings of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje in Bosnia, she went on pilgrimage to the site, converted to Catholicism and was "cured." Her husband followed suit, and decided to dedicate his life to God.
He started writing plays for the Nativity and the Passion at Wintershall, but was inspired to write something much bigger after Pope John Paul II declared 1999 the year of preparation for the millennium. "Everyone was talking about parties and the Dome," says Hutley, "But there wouldn't be a millennium without Jesus." It took him 14 months to write The Life of Christ; the response was astounding, and the play has run every year since. It regularly attracts audiences of 3,000, from all over the UK, Europe and even Australia.
Hutley now employs a director, three assistant directors, nine stage managers and teams for sound production, props and wardrobe. "And, of course," he adds, "my own staff are trained in what has to be done and when." Hutley is honest about his motives for The Life of Christ: "I'm not into theatre--I just wanted to reach as many people as possible. We all need Christianity to help us grow up. We're all babies. We need a daddy."
He still presides over his flock, casting every part himself. There are no auditions; actors receive a letter inviting them to take a role in early April. They come from a variety of backgrounds: it's not unusual to find ambassadors, farmers, doctors and nuclear physicists together in a scene. Some actors commute from Ireland, Wales or the Isle of Wight, camping in nearby fields for the week of the performance. Hutley's charisma is one of the things that draw people here; cast members feel they become part of the family when they take up his evangelizing message.
Adrian Wyn-Griffiths is typical of the Wintershall clientele. A 42-year-old lawyer, he is taking part in the play for the second year, along with his children. "It gives me a purpose," he says. "I've always focused on making money; but now I want to give something back. I realize that the people in Surrey aren't the people who need the help. But there's a lot wrong in this world. We need to simplify God's message, and that's what this play's about." The cast may be amateurs, but to their director, Ashley Herman, they are "as good as professionals. They bring their own life experiences to the role." A door-to-door fish salesman plays a fisherman, for instance; an accountant plays a tax collector. But, Herman points out, "in another scene he's a beggar. He's being forced to understand both sides. It changes lives."
Herman was working in the West End, directing Lily Savage in Prisoner Cell Block H: The Musical, when Hutley approached him in church and invited him to come to Wintershall. He insists on an ecumenical production; for him, The Life of Christ is about the transcendental power of theatre. "I've taken tours of Macbeth to deprived schools. They learn from it. It's the same thing," he argues. "But entertainment is my first priority. It's chock full of action and murder."
He's not kidding. There's not much subtlety to The Life of Christ: when the disciples meet the leper they spring a foot into the air and yell, "Euurgh!" In the adrenaline-fuelled Herod's Charge, galloping horses descend on the stage. And Christ is no mild-mannered, saintly figure. The actor who plays him, James Burke-Dunsmore, reports: "When I portray him as angry or aggressive, people get upset." School groups are advised to leave before the crucifixion. According to Jacob Burt, a nine-year-old appearing in the play for the sixth time, the show "isn't scary, it's just fun".
But audiences are regularly in tears by the end; some faint, and others even claim to have visions of the Virgin Mary. The religious fervor is palpable. Not that people have to be Christian to take part--after all, the actor who plays the apostle Peter is an atheist, and even Burke-Dunsmore, who has played Christ at Wintershall for three years, isn't religious. They're simply attracted to the experience. "
It's good theatre," says Burke-Dunsmore. "They're fundamental truths dressed up in parables. I could happily not be in theatre after this--nothing else measures up." Katrina McDonald, who plays the Innkeeper, points out: "Faiths intermingle here. We've got Methodists, Baptists, Quaker, Church of England, Catholics." She herself is a Buddhist. "People might love me to feel differently; but they're far too polite to ever say anything. It's just not that sort of place." Or is it?
Although it's not discussed, there is an unnerving undercurrent of bigotry here. Nick Grieves, a 46-year-old Pentecostal Christian who plays a disciple, litters his conversation with "holy spirits" the way others might with swear words. He doesn't approve of homosexuality ("The Bible's pretty explicit on that"), abortion or contraception. His views are shared by Daniel Every, a 16-year-old in white trainers who is playing a Temple Guard. "I'm here to get the message of Jesus across," he says. "I think homosexuality is bad, definitely." Herman, though, is having none of it. "Jesus never says in the gospel that gay people are any less welcome," he retorts. Still, the words "love thy neighbor as thyself" runs through Hutley's script like a mantra; and that is what most of the cast are trying to do.
Putting the play together requires a huge investment of time and energy, with rehearsals every weekend from April, and everyone is expected to act as equals. "Surrey's one of the richest counties in England; but for a week, everyone lives a simple life out of doors, spending no money," says Gaye Callaghan, who plays Martha. "Dressed in old bits of muslin, we're all the same." It's the kind of thing that could make anyone cynical, but there's something about Wintershall, an atmosphere of pastoral bliss, that could stir the hardest heart. No wonder everyone involved finds it hard to return to normal life when the week of performances ends. "It's been my life since April," says Herman. How will he feel when it's over? "I shall feel like a whisky."
The Life of Christ is at Wintershall, Surrey, until Sunday. Box office: 01483 892167.
It's Not Queer Art. It's Just Art.
Tara Charbonneau would rather be known as "an artist" rather than a "queer" artist. But the 22-year-old is still happy to be part of Artwherk!, the new event at Pride 2005 that kicked off yesterday featuring young queer artists from across North America. "It would be nice if it was more about just the art," she says. "But really, it's just about getting exposed, so it's cool that it's during Pride."
Charbonneau admits that art has been a therapeutic outlet for her since she was a young child growing up in Caledonia, just outside Hamilton. "I grew up in an alcoholic home. We were at a hotel or my aunt's home every other weekend. I come from a huge French-Irish Catholic family. I've got 78 cousins on my mom's side."
The third-year arts student at York University says from an early age she used her drawings and paintings to express her feelings while growing up in an often unstable family environment. "I have this drawing that I did when I was about 8 that I gave to my grandmother. My mother was drawn as an airhead, my brother stupid, my father angry and my younger sister I didn't really know so I just drew her normally. There are definitely some issues that I've tried working out through my art." Many of her paintings have since focused on the female form and depictions of women that represent what she calls society's hypocritical view. "On one hand women have always represented something pure and virtuous, the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ. But then society turns around and treats women like crap."
One of her series of paintings depicted the Virgin Mary as an ordinary woman in oppressive modern situations, working in a sweatshop, for example. "It's woman-centric," she says. "I'm not a man. I don't know what it's like to be a man. And I'm never going to be a man. "It's kind of like doing what you know."
The Artwherk! exhibit continues until 7 p.m. Thursday at This Ain't the
Rosedale Library, 481A Church St., Toronto.
Stop the Rot
The scene of the crime is an art gallery in Caracas, Venezuela. The victim lies on her back, riddled with holes. This is no one-off: all the evidence points to a group of suspects who have orchestrated a series of vicious attacks worldwide. Special agents have been tracking them for years. What sets this whodunit apart is that the victim isn't a person; it is an 18th-century wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, the Immaculada. And it's in danger of being turned to sawdust by beetles.
The statue is part of the estimated one-third of Venezuela's artifacts that have become a feast for bugs. Heat and humidity make tropical countries ideal breeding grounds for these pests, but the problem is not confined to equatorial regions. Across the globe, insects, bacteria and fungi are ripping into Old Masters, statues, paintings and historical documents. Now, a new breed of art conservator is fighting back. Using the skills of a detective and a biologist, they are revealing the precise identities of the perpetrators and dreaming up ingenious ways to foil them, one of which is to be tested on the Immaculada.
People have tried for centuries to protect artworks, but methods of pest control brought their own problems. Fumigants can harm humans, and some treatments damage the environment: methyl bromide, for example, depletes the ozone layer. And some damage the works themselves. 'There's a history of chemicals that have been found to cause damage,' says the cell biologist Robert Koestler, the director of the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research in Maryland.
Koestler and others realized that they needed to target their treatments more effectively. First, they had to hone their skills in identifying the suspects. Take fungal attacks. 'The black stain left by some fungi is particularly difficult to get rid of,' Koestler says. Enzymes can be used to remove the melanin deposits, but because melanin is basically lignin, removing it destroys the lignin in the paper. That can cause the paper to disintegrate. Knowing which fungus is to blame could help, because different strains might target the fungal melanin and ignore the lignin in the paper.
Before moving to the Smithsonian, Koestler was a conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His team there included the microbiologist Maria Pia Di Bonaventura, who in 2000 began working on a project to identify the strains of fungi that were staining drawings by the 19th-century American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Di Bonaventura, now at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, isolated fungal DNA from the drawings, sequenced it and compared the sequences with those in the US National Institutes of Health GenBank database. This revealed that species of Chaetomium were in the frame for grey and black stains, while brown stains were produced by species of Cladosporium. Knowing this means that treatment can be focused on the stain's removal, Di Bonaventura says.
Using DNA sequencing to identify infestations has huge potential. In another study, Christopher McNamara of Harvard University and his team used sequencing to find out what was eating stone blocks and carvings in Mayan ruins in Mexico. Studies revealed microbes on the surface of the stone; but last year, McNamara said DNA sequencing had uncovered a different community of organisms within, which were breaking down the limestone as they grew. But it's still not clear how to kill them. 'Any attempt will encounter serious difficulties in delivering the treatment to the target,' McNamara says. But at least he has a clearer idea of what he's dealing with.
At UNU-Biolac, a UN university in Caracas, director Jose Ramirez and his colleagues have used the technique on faecal remains. 'DNA typing is easy to perform and cheap,' Ramirez says. Faecal 'mugshots' like these can help in cases of mistaken identity. Cigarette beetles and odd beetles, which are common pests, are omnivorous, which can make them museum-wreckers. 'To a non-specialist, the two look similar,' says Ruth Norton, the chief conservator at the Field Museum in Chicago. But the odd beetle is far more pernicious. 'It can have a very extended lifespan and survive food scarcity,' Norton says.
Simple DNA analysis could allow curators to distinguish between odd beetles and cigarette beetles. If they find odd beetles at work, they'll know they need a comprehensive, long-term control strategy. Most curators still use chemicals to keep pests in check, but being able to identify the organisms precisely is helping in the development of non- toxic alternatives. Koestler is exploring the possibility of suffocation. His preferred method is to seal an infested artwork in a plastic bag, then pump argon in and oxygen out. He and other researchers have been investigating the breathing and death rates of a wide range of insect pests.
Nieves Valentin of the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles has found that at 40 per cent relative humidity and 20C, in an atmosphere where oxygen has been reduced to less than 300 parts per million and replaced with argon, the old house borer beetle takes at least 14 days to die, while the black carpet beetle perishes in just three. 'Using this technique, anything that requires oxygen to stay alive will succumb,' Koestler says. Other researchers are experimenting with different gases and containers.
At the Australian Museum in Sydney, Vinod Daniel uses nitrogen instead of argon. 'Low oxygen in the chamber is the safest pest-killing technique,' he says. But the method is expensive, especially in humid countries where the higher water content in the atmosphere allows pests to survive for longer without oxygen. Another approach Daniel and colleagues are investigating is to 'cook' the pests. They found that to kill all the usual suspects, an artifact must be heated to 52C and kept at that temperature for about six hours. This can be achieved simply by placing the infested object in a black plastic bag, inside a clear plastic bag, and leaving it in the sun. This low-tech approach is ideal for use in developing countries. But heat treatment has a drawback: the expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature and humidity can damage the artifact. Then, you need to keep the bugs at bay once an item has been treated. 'Some methods may work temporarily, but the chances of re-infestation are much higher in the tropics,' Ramirez says. 'And many countries in the tropics do not have the means for artificial climate control.'
This has left some conservators looking for alternative, non-toxic methods. One solution is biological control. The approach was hotly debated in November at a symposium hosted by UNU-Biolac and attended by more than 100 delegates from Latin America, Europe and the United States. 'Fighting biological agents with other biological entities, like bacteria, fungi, other insects and animals, could be interesting as a 'clean' control method,' says Beno't de Tapol from the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona, who was among those who attended the meeting. Jose Ramirez's trial on the Immaculada will involve inoculating the sculpture with Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium that produces a toxin. He hopes this will not only kill the beetles, but form spores that stay in the statue, vaccinating it against further attack.
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