News from the
Marian Library
Mary in the
Secular Press


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.


Liturgical Season

To celebrate the month of October 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 October.

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 A reflection on the Adoring Love of St. Joseph from the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard.

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New Resources

A section on Children's Resources has been added to our About Mary page.  The latest addition was Learn to Pray with Mary. Expect more sections to follow.

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has also been added to About Mary page.  The latest added was Peru.  Expect more countries to follow.

We have updated Marian Thoughts of Benedict XVI through October 16.

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  News from the Marian Library

Polish Madonna Prints Still Available!

While the note-cards are now out of stock, eleven different prints are still available from Wislawa Kwiatkowska's "Polish Madonnas in Art and Poetry" exhibit. There are nine 11" x 14" prints and two 8.5" x 11" prints.  All pictures are printed on 80# paper.

The 11" x 14" pictures available are:

Madonna of the Sowers

Madonna Covered with Cherry Blossoms

Mother of God of Lichen

Mournful Mother of Czestochowa

Madonna of the Mushrooms

Our Lady of the Birches

Golden-Green Mother of God

Madonna of the Mountains

Madonna Riding on a Deer

The two 8.5" x 11" prints available are:

So Human

Christmas Carol

The 11" x 14" prints are $5 each.  The 8.5" x 11" prints are $3 each or 2 for $5.00.  There is an additional charge of $5 for each quantity of 11 prints or less to cover postage and handling.  Here is an example of the postage and handling rates:

1-11 prints: $5 per ORDER (not per print)

12-22 prints: $10

23-33 prints: $15

Specify which prints and quantity you want and make a check or money order out to "The Marian Library." Mail it to:

The Marian Library
Attention: Prints
University of Dayton
Dayton, OH 45469-1390

We also have a "Polish Madonna" Windows PC screensaver that shows all twelve of the pictures that were in the St. Anthony Messenger article.  It sells for $5.00, which includes postage and handling.

If you have any questions, please call 937-229-4214.

Print Descriptions

Christmas Carol: Compassionate animals draw close to Baby Jesus in the manger and warm him with their breath.

Golden-Green Mother of God: Mary and Baby Jesus sit in a dill garden. Mary looks tenderly after her children with the same attentiveness that she looks upon the cherished golden-green dill of her garden.

Madonna Covered with Cherry Blossoms: Delicate cherry blossoms frame the faces of Mary and Baby Jesus while butterflies--symbols of the Resurrection--circle around them.

Madonna of the Mountains: This snowy scene shows Mary in solidarity with all creation; she knows what it is like to be cold and hungry, yet she is determined to overcome all the wintry trials of life. In her basket she carries two little bears that are eager to see Baby Jesus.

Madonna of the Mushrooms:  These mushrooms of autumn are attractive but deadly; Mary draws out the poison and warns against the allure and perniciousness of sin.

Madonna Riding on a Deer: Based upon a Polish legend, this picture shows Mary and Baby Jesus being whisked away from danger by a swift and noble deer.

Madonna of the Sowers: From the lilac heather, through the morning fog, the wind pulls threads from Mary's shawl and wraps them around the trees and branches, protecting the autumn seeds.

Mother of God of Lichen: Mary fingers her rosary and gazes prayerfully at the insignia of the Polish eagle on her chest, as the animals are drawn to her loving maternal presence.

Mournful Mother of Czestochowa: In this portrait of the famous icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, Baby Jesus tries to comfort his mother as she mourns for the fate of the Polish people. Around Mary's shoulders is a blue and gold ribbon from which hangs the Virtuti Militari--the highest Polish military honor that is given in recognition of bravery. (The two slashes on the face of the original icon were inflicted by Hussite soldiers in the fifteenth century.)

Our Lady of the Birches: The white of the birches symbolizes the purity of Mary, while the storks gathered around  her represent prosperity and the hope for children.

So Human: In a conversation with the saints in heaven, St. Ann reminisces about her little Mary, who loved to gather flowers and frolic with the animals.

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:;; and  The original address on the University of Dayton site remains active as well.

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Web Collaborators

Two important Catholic websites have added The Mary Page to their list of Media Partners. highlights items from The Mary Page in their section on Catholic News. 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.

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Current Exhibit

"The Song of Songs Illustrated," Henry C. Setter's illustrations of this Biblical book now on display in The Marian Library Gallery through October 31, 2005.  The exhibit is free and open to the public on weekdays from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.  For tours and information call 937-229-4214.  Click here for a virtual exhibit.

Setter, a Cincinnati native and former U.D. Professor, has taught art for 42 years and still works as a professional artist.  He has received numerous art commissions in the United States and Europe, and his watercolors, mosaics and sculptures are displayed in both private and public collections.  His woodblock prints and sculptures have received awards in juried exhibitions throughout the United States.

Creches and Straw Art are also on display in our museum.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Fall 2005 semester started on October 10!  The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.

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Living With Mary Today

The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute plans to hold a four day symposium on Mary in July 2006.  For more information click into:

Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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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!

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For Smooth Deliveries
Florence, Italy, October 21, 2005

In our modern world of high-tech hospitals, the age of difficult and dangerous childbirth seems a distant memory. While women rarely need to fear loss of life in childbirth, delivery is rarely pleasant and marks the beginning of many sacrifices involved in raising their children. In the beautiful Church of Sant'Agostino near the Piazza Navona, the Virgin Mary, patron of all mothers, was celebrated on Oct. 9 during the feast of the Madonna of Childbirth.

While there are many associations between this church and motherhood, this feast involves a famous statue housed in its own special niche at the back of the church. It has been venerated by thousands of Romans over the centuries as the Madonna of childbirth.

Carved in 1521 by Florentine sculptor Jacopo ("il Sansovino") Tatti, the statue is placed in a marble triumphal arch. The Blessed Mother holds her Son on her knee and both are gilded with gold accents. Sansovino created an image of a strong, voluminous Mary, a woman who to the Renaissance eye could withstand the arduous task of childbirth.

She also tolerates the pains of motherhood. She protectively holds her Son with one hand, but as the Child's front foot suggests, the time will soon come when Jesus will leave her to take up his mission.

For almost 500 years, Roman women have prayed to Blessed Virgin before this statue asking for safe deliveries and healthy babies.

The Madonna del Parto rarely disappoints. Hundreds of silver ex-votos arrayed around the niche attest to her many interventions deemed miraculous by those who lives were saved. Silver hearts, plaques and baby announcements remind women that their courageous acceptance of motherhood holds a special place in the heart of the Madonna and Child.

Particularly moving are the modern offerings such as the pink and blue bows used to adorn a house where a baby has just been born. Photographs abound, with dozens of radiant faces of beaming mothers and babies tacked to the walls of the shrine.

The feast of the Madonna of childbirth lasts five days. The first three days consist of preparation, like Advent before Christmas or the months of gestation. Participants attend liturgies, rosaries and penance services while awaiting the big day. Saturday evening began the festivities with a Mass for expectant mothers. Archbishop Angelo Comastri of Loreto, site of the Holy House of Mary and Jesus, celebrated the Mass for the numerous radiant mothers-to-be in the church.

Sunday was an ongoing celebration of the family--Mass for wedding anniversaries, renewal of vows of consecration and blessings of small children followed one after another all day.

This lively, colorful happy Mass brought together the Catholic families of Rome--families that are menaced today not by unsafe medical conditions or infant mortality, but by the dwindling European birthrate and the legal redefinition of the very word "marriage." This joyous group of faithful entrusted itself to the protection of the Madonna of childbirth.

Even after the first tricky years of infancy when children were once prey to many illnesses, parents found that as their offspring got physically stronger, new, spiritual ills, emerged to beset them. The Church of Sant'Agostino also addresses the perils of youth with another great patron of mothers.

To the left of the main altar lies the burial chapel of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine. As a mother whose prayer and tears negotiated a wayward teen-ager into a Father of the Church, she seems certainly a fit intercessor even for modern parents.

A Cardinal's Advice on Hypocrisy and the Heart
At Mass in St. Lawrence Youth Center in Rome

Rome, October 17, 2005

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires says that hypocrisy impedes understanding the sentiments of one's heart ... Cardinal Bergoglio, who is attending the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, concluded his homily by referring to Mary: "She is the first of us who went the good way; she said yes when it was yes, and no when it was no."

Pope Hopes to Open CELAM Conference in '07
Vatican City, October 16, 2005

Benedict XVI announced that he will open the 5th General Conference of the Latin American bishops' council, in 2007, at the Marian shrine of Aparecida in Brazil ... After listening to the bishops' reasons for convoking the meeting, Benedict XVI said "that he thought it was a good idea" to hold the conference at the "Marian shrine of Aparecida in Brazil, and to open the assembly there during the month of May of the year 2007," said the communiqué ... Our Lady of Aparecida, patroness of Brazil, is the country's most popular shrine.

Excerpts From Benedict XVI's Interview on Polish Television
Vatican City, October 16, 2005

"I am near the Pope (John Paul II) and now he helps me to be near the Lord and I try to enter this atmosphere of prayer, of love for our Lord, for Our Lady and I entrust myself to his prayers. S o there is a permanent dialogue and we're close to each other in a new way, in a very deep way."

On the Anniversary of the Election of John Paul II
"A Pope Totally Consecrated to Jesus Through Mary"
Vatican City, October 16, 2005

Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today to the crowds that gathered for the praying of the midday Angelus, in St. Peter's Square.

In him we have been able to admire the strength of faith and prayer, and the way in which he entrusted himself totally to Mary Most Holy, who always accompanied and protected him, especially in the most difficult and dramatic moments of his life.

We might describe John Paul II as a Pope totally consecrated to Jesus through Mary, as his motto clearly manifested: "Totus tuus." He was elected in the heart of the month of the rosary, and the rosary, which he often had between his hands, became one of the symbols of his pontificate, watched over by the Immaculate Virgin with maternal solicitude. Through radio and television, the faithful worldwide were able to join him on numerous occasions in this Marian prayer and, thanks to his example and teachings, rediscover its authentic meaning, contemplative and Christological (cf. apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae," Nos. 9-17).

In fact, the rosary is not opposed to meditation of the Word of God and to liturgical prayer; moreover, it is a natural and ideal complement, in particular as preparation and thanksgiving for the Eucharistic celebration. We contemplate Christ encountered in the Gospel and in the sacraments in the different moments of his life, thanks to the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.

In the school of Mary we thus learn to conform ourselves to her divine Son and to proclaim him with our life itself. If the Eucharist is for the Christian the center of the day, the rosary contributes in a privileged way to prolong communion with Christ, and it educates us to live keeping our hearts' gaze fixed on him to radiate on everyone and everything his merciful love.  ... May the Virgin Mary help us to make a treasure of his precious legacy.

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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.

Matter of Faith
[Source: Birmingham News (Alabama), August 5, 2005]

Jason Halverson, a 21-year-old Canadian, sits in a wheelchair on the grounds of Caritas, an organization in Shelby County that promotes the authenticity of reported visions of the Virgin Mary.

Halverson left Canada for the first time in his life this week and came to Alabama from British Columbia with a clear goal in mind: Miraculous healing of a spinal cord injury.

''I hope I get some use of my body back,'' he said.

Halverson was in a car wreck four years ago, eight days before his high school graduation. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down.

He came to see Marija Lunetti, one of six people who began claiming in 1981 that the Virgin Mary appeared to them in their village of Medjugorje, in the former Yugoslavia.

Lunetti has been making public appearances since Monday on the grounds of Caritas, mingling with pilgrims. Her last public appearance is expected to be today. She has been kneeling and praying with pilgrims every evening at about 6.

After a civil war and the fall of communism, the Croatian Catholic village where she grew up now has a booming economy based on the tourism of pilgrims from around the globe.

Returning to Croatia

Lunetti plans to fly from Birmingham back to Medjugorje on Monday, with about 200 pilgrims on a private charter.

Since 1988, when she came to Birmingham to donate a kidney to her brother, Andrija Pavlovic, at UAB Hospital, Lunetti has had dozens of her visions in Shelby County, under a pine tree in a field across from the headquarters of Caritas.

More than 1,000 pilgrims converged on Shelby County this week, to be with Lunetti when she had visions.

''We wanted to go to Medjugorje, but it would be hard to get our son there,'' said Joe Halverson, Jason's father.

For them, it's a chance to be in the presence of a visionary, who they feel may one day, perhaps a century from now, be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as having been personally visited by Mary, the mother of Jesus.

They believe going before Mary will help them gain favor with her son, Jesus Christ, the son of God. ''We believe in the intercession of saints,'' Joe Halverson said.

The Catholic Church has recognized similar apparitions in the past as authentic. Three young children from the rural village of Fatima, Portugal, claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary over a six month period starting in May of 1917.

The Virgin Mary was said to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France, in 1858. Pope Pius XI canonized Bernadette as a saint in 1933.

The church has declared at least eight healings at Lourdes as miraculous. Several hundred claimed miraculous healings at Medjugorje are under study by the Roman Catholic Church.

''These things happen out in the country to humble, poor people, usually children,'' said Fernando Valverde, a retired Army Ranger who lives in Orlando and has been at Caritas this week. ''I think God picks simple people.''

Lunetti says that she has experienced personal messages from the Virgin Mary daily since 1981.

''I truly believe that she does,'' said Jane Borofka, a pilgrim from Duluth, Minn. ''I have no doubt. Why would she lie?''

A matter of faith

Others acknowledge it is simply a matter of faith, not something that can be proved or disproved scientifically.

''Without faith, this is meaningless,'' said Joan Moynagh, a retired professor of music from Miami University of Ohio. ''You have to accept the fact of mystery.''

The visionaries have had no reason to continue the draining discipline of public scrutiny for more than 24 years, Moynagh said. ''The life they've lived is modest,'' she said. ''The discipline they've practiced since the visions started is amazing, with daily prayer, devotion, living lives of holiness. How could these children have thought this up?''

The Medjugorje visionaries have been subjected to rigorous psychological testing. In 1983, Yugoslavian psychiatrist Ludvik Stopar hypnotized Marija and found her descriptions of the visions under hypnosis matched her conscious descriptions. He tested all six youths and found them psychologically normal.

In 1984, a team of French doctors tested them, conducting electrocardiograms and measuring the movement of eyes, larynx and reflexes. They documented a simultaneous fixing of the gaze on an identical point, with eye movement ending at the same time. They concluded the bodily reactions were inexplicable.

Plenty of skeptics have offered explanations, calling it a case of collective hysteria and self-induced hallucinations.

Unlike other visionaries who became priests or nuns, the six youths from Medjugorje have grown up, gotten married and tried to live normal lives.

Lunetti lives near Milan, Italy, with her husband, businessman Paolo Lunetti, and their four sons, ages 2, 8, 9 and 12.

''A lot of people think the visionaries are out for money,'' said John Milan, of Fort St. John, British Columbia. ''She lives a simple life. When you're in the limelight like that, it's a tough job.''

Lunetti seems to have changed very little since 1988 when she first came to Birmingham as a shy peasant girl from a remote village in Eastern Europe. She wears plain clothing, and seems to be only slightly more comfortable in the middle of a crowd. She still seems to prefer being away from the attention, but also feels obligated to share what she believes is a special privilege from heaven.

''It's really difficult,'' she said in an interview this week. ''We have so many people coming to see us. It's busy, busy. This life is too busy, too crazy.''

Her efforts to avoid attention are thwarted when people come knocking at her door at their house in Italy. She tries to spend time each summer at a home she maintains in Medjugorje, where pilgrims come to pray with her and the other visionaries.

''From the beginning on the hill (where the first vision in Medjugorje took place), we try to live like heaven in our daily life,'' Lunetti said.

1,000 Pray with Visionary in Shelby County Field
[Source: Birmingham News (Alabama), August 4, 2005]

About 1,000 people gathered in a Shelby County field Wednesday night to pray with a visionary who reports visions of the Virgin Mary.

Marija Lunetti, who claims to have been visited by the mother of Jesus every day since 1981, said the Virgin Mary appeared to her wearing a gray dress and a long veil.

Lunetti said Mary prayed over the crowd, blessed the objects that they brought and said she would appear again tonight.

Wednesday's vision occurred at 6:42 p.m. and lasted for about two minutes.

Lunetti's last public appearance during her visit here will be Friday at a field across from the headquarters of Caritas of Birmingham, which promotes the visions that began in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, in 1981.

Artists Fear Santuario Will Control Art in Its Building
[Source: The Santa Fe New Mexican (New Mexico), July 30, 2005]

With the control of the Santuario de Guadalupe set to shift back to its original parish after 30 years, local artists are voicing concerns about the church's plans to alter the lineup of art shows, concerts and related events.

The regime switch, scheduled to be announced in a news conference at the church at 4 p.m. today, comes after the Guadalupe Historic Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization, had remodeled the church over three decades and turned it into a venue for performing arts, art shows and other events.

In the last 10 years, the santuario attracted public outcry over its allegedly sacrilegious depictions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Hispanic Virgin Mary.

In 2000, the foundation removed Velarde artist Katherine Wells' golden-haired version of Our Lady, titled Barbielupe, from public display. Three years earlier, parishioners stormed the santuario to complain about an art exhibit using nude figures.

Wells, reached by phone at her home Friday afternoon, said she was disappointed the foundation showed little interest at the time in finding the Christian value in her work.

Her main concern in the parish's taking over the santuario, she said, was the possibility its leadership would carry the same "inconsistent" stance on artistic expression as the foundation.

Foundation board president Leo Kahn and board member Joe Martinez could not be reached for comment Friday. Board member C.F. Lucero refused comment.

"I would hope that they would have a little more liberal policy about the presentation of religious images," Wells said.

"I would worry that they would be very conservative and stifle free expression among artists."

The santuario hosted a number of musical acts after being remodeled, ranging from folk singers to pianists.

Pamela Epple, an oboist and founding member of Serenada de Santa Fe, a classical-music troupe, will play a series of concerts at the santuario starting in September.

After a conversation in May with the Rev. Tien-Tri Nguyen, she said, she felt confident the music scene at the santuario would stay roughly intact. Nguyen was out of the office Friday and couldn't be reached for comment.

Epple said Nguyen told her he wouldn't authorize rock and pop music acts out of respect for the santuario's sacred ground, but he admitted he was an avid music fan and would honor the venue's musical tradition.

"Whether that comes to pass, that's anyone's guess," she said.

Epple said it was premature to conclude the parish's return to controlling the santuario--the foundation's lease expires in December--would result with a wave of conservatism washing over featured events.

"I hope that they just let (the status quo) stay for the community," she said. "As a musician, my biggest fear is that we won't have our many rehearsals there."

The santuario isn't one of the most glamorous venues in town, Epple said, with sometimes uncomfortable seats and lackluster bathrooms.

But it features a Yamaha piano she called "one of the best in Santa Fe," which along with spectacular acoustics provides a powerful show for those in attendance.

"There really isn't anything in this community that can do what the santuario can," she said.

The da Vinci Duo Gets a Makeover
[Source: Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada), August 30, 2005]

The best loved mother and daughter team in art is the Virgin Mary and Anna, or St. Anne. They were often joined by the Christ child. When Leonardo da Vinci depicted this family group, he opted for a traditional approach. But Sofonisba Anguissola, 85 years later, rejected tradition and made the mother-daughter duo role models for women.

Leonardo's work epitomizes the Renaissance style because it aims for naturalism, calmness and beauty. In an oil from about 1508, Leonardo places Anna, the Virgin Mary and Christ outdoors. His subject is not new. Icons and wall paintings of Anna seated with a smaller figure of the Virgin Mary in her lap and the Christ child in Mary's lap were well known by the time Leonardo put brush to panel.

The famous Florentine continues to make Anna the dominant figure and the source of this holy family.  Accordingly, he positions Anna's head at the top of a pyramidal composition and gives her a solid, bulky form. Her feet rest securely on the rocky ground and stabilize the group.

Her oval face is lit by a smile that looks ahead to Leonardo's Mona Lisa. The face looks somewhat gaunt; this tells us she is an older woman. Anna's lowered eyes point us to Mary, who has a plumper face.

Mary, a large woman, sits rather awkwardly in Anna's lap. She directs her attention--and ours--to the Christ child by her glance and affectionate gesture.

Having an adult sit in another adult's lap detracts from Leonardo's lifelike style. But instead of making Christ sit in Mary's lap, Leonardo places the child on the ground. He looks back to his mother while hugging a lamb. Such playfulness makes him look like a real child, but the lamb is also a sacrificial animal, reminding us of Christ's crucifixion.

So Leonardo's painting still follows tradition. But Sofonisba Anguissola, who was born in Cremona, trumps Leonardo's lifelikeness in her oil, painted in 1592.

In Anguissola's composition, Anna no longer dominates. It's the Virgin Mary's head we see at the centre, but she does not tower over the group the way Anna does in Leonardo's piece. Hierarchy gives way to naturalism.

Where Leonardo uses a misty mountain landscape, Sofonisba situates the group in a darkened room, illuminated by a candle. This domestic space represents the world of good women; in this way Anguissola succinctly conveys the morality of the women in her painting.

The Virgin Mary's bowed head moves us to Anna who, stooped and dressed in gray, sits on the left. Mary's lowered eyes direct us to the golden-haired nude Christ who leans against her legs.

Removing Mary from Anna's lap makes the scene more natural. Anguissola further domesticates her subject by having the characters engage in ordinary activities. Anna and her grandson exchange a piece of fruit.

Mary and Anna serve as role models for contemporary women. A wool-winding frame rests beside Anna, its presence attesting to the spinning and weaving of conscientious housewives. A small dog lies in front of the frame and looks out at the viewer. Dogs are not just pets; they symbolize a woman's loyalty to her family.

Additional male figures balance the feminine world. The little boy on the right is John the Baptist, Christ's cousin, but he also reflects the contemporary ideal of a woman having male children. And the barely visible old man in the background is probably Joseph. In bolting the door, he serves as the male guardian of the family.

Regina Haggo is teaching Mannerism and Baroque, a 10-week introduction to 16th- and 17th-century Italian art, at the Dundas Valley School of Art. Classes start the week of Sept. 26 and you can sign up for Monday or Friday afternoons. Call 905-628-6357 to register.

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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Kris Sommers , was last modified Friday, 11/04/2005 11:02:46 EST by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to

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