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 November 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 November.

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New Resources

A section on Children's Resources has been added to our About Mary page.  The latest addition was Children Pray: a Scriptural Rosary. 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 our answer to Please Tell Me About Our Lady of Good Success.

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  News from the Marian Library

Alumni Update

Father Donald Calloway, MIC, IMRI student and Assistant Rector of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass, edited The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body (2005) from Marian Press.  For more information on the book call 1-800-462-7426 or click into

This collection of essays includes three written by IMRI personnel: "The Nuptial Meaning of the Body in the Marriage of Mary and Joseph" by Dr. Gloria Falcao-Dodd; "The Anthropology of Father Joseph Kentenich and the Image of Mary" by Sister M. Isabell Naumann, ISSM, and "Theology of the Body and Marian Dogmas" by Father Calloway.

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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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New Exhibit

"Lost in the Beauty of Her God," the inspired works of Sister Marie Pierre Semler, M.M. (1901-1993), will be displayed in The Marian Library Gallery from November 4, 2005 through January 20, 2006.  Visitors are welcome weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or by special arrangement.  For details call 937-229-4214.

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 will conclude on November 11.  The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.

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2006 Marian Pilgrimages

The Catholic Travel Center in Burbank, California is organizing Tours to Fatima, Guadalupe (Spain), Lourdes, Montserrat, etc. in 2006.  For more information call 800-553-5233 or 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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Theological Faculties Contribute to Bavarian Culture
Vatican City, November 3, 2005

This morning, Benedict XVI received a group of parliamentarians from the Christian-Social Union of the Bavarian Diet (the parliament of Bavaria), Germany.  Addressing them in German, the Holy Father highlighted Bavaria's rich historical and cultural heritage also indicating how, for some years, it has been an important center for modern technology and research.  In conclusion, the Pope recalled Munich, "an unforgettable city, the city of which I was bishop ... the city of the Mariensäule" (the monument to Mary, Patroness of Bavaria), and expressed the hope that the Virgin may always occupy a central place in the hearts of the Bavarian people.

Benedict XVI Goes on Private Pilgrimage to Shrine
Mentorella, one of Italy's Oldest

Vatican City, October 31, 2005

Benedict XVI quietly went on pilgrimage Saturday to the Marian shrine of the "Mother of Graces" of Mentorella, one of Italy's oldest, about 30 miles east of Rome.

News of the Pope's excursion appeared in a communiqué from Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office.

The spokesman explained that the Holy Father left the Vatican around 9 a.m., "celebrated holy Mass in honor of the Virgin," and returned in the early afternoon.

A few pilgrims who were at the shrine were the only witnesses of the Pope's visit. He gave them a rosary as a memento.

According to tradition, the Mentorella shrine was built in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine, on Mount Guadagnolo, site of the conversion of the Roman tribune, St. Eustace. The church, dedicated to St. Eustace, was consecrated by Pope Sylvester.

12th century

The shrine is served and administered by the Congregation of the Resurrection that, in 1883, purchased it from the Italian state after it had been expropriated. In 1857 Pope Pius IX entrusted this pilgrimage center to that congregation.

On Saturday morning, the shrine's Polish rector, Father Adam Otrebski, received a telephone call announcing Benedict XVI's visit. As a memento of his visit, the Pope gave the shrine's community a chasuble.

The wooden statue of the "Mother of Graces" dates back to the 12th century. It was crowned in 1901.

In 1978, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla visited the shrine on the eve of the conclave in which he would be elected Pope. As John Paul II he visited the shrine on many occasions, the last in 2000.

On his first visit, the Polish Pope said: "This place has helped me a lot to pray ... This place, hidden in the mountains, has particularly fascinated me."

The Eucharist Unites Saints and Pilgrims, Both the Living and the Dead
Conclusion of the Angelus Address
Vatican City, November 1, 2005

Dear friends, the tradition of these days of visiting the tombs of our deceased ones is an occasion to think about the mystery of death without fear, and to cultivate that incessant watchfulness which allows us to face it serenely. The Virgin Mary, the Queen of Saints who we turn to now with filial confidence, will help us in this.

Anniversary of Five Vatican II Documents
Vatican City, October 30, 2005

Conclusion of the Angelus address Benedict XVI

Forty years ago, on Oct. 28, 1965, the seventh session of the Second Vatican Council was held. It was followed in rapid succession by three others, and the last, on Dec. 8, marked the closure of the Council. … Dear Brothers and Sisters, while I invite you to take up these documents again in your hands, I exhort you to pray with me to the Virgin Mary so that she will help all believers in Christ to always keep alive the spirit of the Second Vatican Council to contribute to establish in the world that universal fraternity that responds to the will of God on man, created in the image of God.

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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.

Window Money Sent to Gulf Coast
[Source: The Boston Globe, October 13, 2005]

Milton Hospital officials have decided that Gulf Coast hurricane relief efforts are a worthy recipient for the more than $14,000 donated by visitors to what some believe is an image of the Virgin Mary in a hospital window.

Since it was first noticed in June 2003, the image formed by condensation between the window's panes of glass has been viewed by 25,000 people, according to hospital officials.

"We feel that this decision is in keeping with the spirit that moved so many people to leave donations at the window," hospital president Joseph Morrissey announced recently. The sum of $14,114 will be sent to the Salvation Army.

Most of the money was collected in the first six months, hospital spokesman Jason Buffard said, but people still come every day to look at it.

Sitka Icon of the Virgin Mary Draws Hundreds to Two Churches
[Source: The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), October 10, 2005]

It is perhaps the soft gaze of the Virgin Mary that draws in so many, rendering them speechless as to what transpires upon locking eyes with a wonder-working icon.

"I don’t have words to describe it," said Melissa Tesar, a parishioner at Holy Archangel Michael Russian Orthodox Church in Broadview Heights. "It’s calming ... amazing."

More than 500 parishioners and visitors attended services at the church Sunday and placed kisses upon the Sitka Icon of the Mother of God.

The metal-and glass-encased image adorned with flowers and candles, whose permanent home is at the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in Sitka, Alaska, is midway through its 48-state pilgrimage.

Hundreds of parishioners spilled into a handful of Cleveland and Akron churches over the weekend for veneration of an icon credited by Orthodox Christians with many healings and miracles.

John Mindala, parish council president of Holy Archangel Michael Church, also was at a loss for words when talking about the Sitka Icon.

"It’s hard to describe what the feeling is," Mindala said." ... it brings an inner peace. People have prayed and have had miracles."

In the early 1800s, the icon was commissioned for Sitka’s Archangel Michael Cathedral by St. Innocent Veniaminov, North America’s first ruling Orthodox bishop.

Laborers of the Russian American Co. gave it to the cathedral in Sitka as a gift in 1850, two years after the construction of the cathedral.

Because of its warm and peaceful gaze, the icon has been described as a gem of Russian ecclesiastical art, reflecting harmony and purity.

The two-month tour of the icon, accompanied by clergy from St. Michael’s, ends November 7.

The Sitka Icon, which survived a 1966 fire that destroyed the original cathedral, was headed for Akron on Sunday evening after stops at Holy Trinity Church in Parma and Holy Archangel Michael.

The pilgrimage to more than 60 Orthodox Christian parishes across the United States makes its final stop on the East Coast in November.

""When you see the icon, you see the softness and kindness in the eyes of the Virgin Mary," said Marge Dzmura, a parish council member at Holy Archangel Michael. "You feel the compassion ... it’s powerful. It’s more than an icon."

Celestial Domes
[Source: The Australian, October 8, 2005]

Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya as it is called in Istanbul, is only a few minutes walk from our hotel, so we get up early, see the sun rise over the Golden Horn--the water of which turns a deep, red-flecked gold--then go on to our treasure.

Hagia Sophia--Holy Wisdom--was commissioned by Emperor Justinian I in 532 and when completed five years later was regarded not only as the greatest church in the Eastern Roman Empire--Byzantium--but the greatest church in the world.

In scale and architectural ingenuity it outstripped the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and was heralded as one of the new wonders of the world. Its architects--Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus--seem to have been determined to eclipse the domed and massively constructed Pantheon in Rome, which was completed in about AD128 as a pagan temple to all the gods.

Hagia Sophia achieves its stupendous scale with an elegance, refined minimalism and scientific ingenuity that puts the Pantheon in the shade. Indeed, when first completed, its lofty dome seemed to be an almost supernatural incarnation of God's creation, a celestial hemisphere that hovered--virtually unsupported--between heaven and earth.

It was pioneering; nothing quite like it had been created before. When Justinian saw the completed interior for the first time in 537, he revealed another inspiration for the building: "Solomon," he exclaimed, "I have surpassed thee."

My first view of the Hagia Sophia is shocking; it's a sacred mountain of a building, vast and elemental, rising out of humdrum urban surroundings. It's like seeing the pyramids rising above the banal suburbs of Cairo; giant works of genius, almost not of this world, set among the dross of man's daily life. The violence of the visual juxtaposition is almost like a bodily assault; I blink to take it in. The huge dome, with its dark covering, is framed by much later minarets, added in the late 15th and 16th centuries after the church was converted to a mosque when the Turks seized Constantinople in 1453.

The exterior is complex, but what is clear is that the building is really all to do with the interior space it creates. It's the inside that's important--that is, a simulation of God's creation--and the most important part of the interior is the celestial dome.

I enter the building through a door in its southwest corner that leads below a wonderful early mosaic revealing the source of the Holy Wisdom after which the church is named. In its centre is the Virgin Mary, the new Christian personification of Mother Earth, female power and wisdom that had been represented by great goddesses such as Isis, Ishtar and Minerva.

The Virgin is flanked and being bowed to by Emperor Constantine (AD 285-337), who holds a model of his city of Constantinople, and by Justinian, who holds a model of Hagia Sophia. They are offering--dedicating--their creations to the Virgin, asking for her protection.

Little can prepare you for the experience of the main interior. It's like entering a new, ideal world over which the dome of heaven presides. That, of course, is just the point. It's a magical harmony of square and circle, the symbols of the material and the sacred worlds. I imagine all who have walked here before me, the English Crusaders who came here in the 12th century, men from the fogs and damps of northern Europe where architecture was massive and ponderous.

What on earth would they have made of this? A tall, airy structure, light flooding in, a huge dome--like a flying saucer--high above their heads. It must have been beyond their comprehension.

Although the great central dome dominates, this is far more than just a spectacular domed interior. The space created is complex, in its form and its meaning.

Early churches in Europe generally took the traditional form of the Roman basilica, a rectangular hall with a central nave divided by columns or piers from flanking aisles that, usually, had lower ceiling heights than the nave. This form, with the addition of short transepts to create a cruciform ground plan, suited Christian liturgy--its parades, processions and festivals--and it is this that inspires the plan of Hagia Sophia.

The main body of the building is rectangular, with the nave forming a double square in plan. In the centre of this nave floats, high up, the dome. The way in which the rectilinear basilica transforms as it rises, so that it sustains--in a sense becomes--the curvaceous series of domes and semi-domes, is miraculous.

The four main piers of the basilica sprout four huge semi-circular arches that leap from one pier to the other. These are linked by four concave triangular forms called pendentives that join to form the circular ring on which the base of the drum sits.

This structure, subtly squaring the circle, is doing much to support the weight of the dome. But this is only the obvious part of the support system. Because this structure appears so minimal and elegant, the dome appears to float, especially since its lower portion is pierced by a closely set row of windows to let light pour in, making the junction between dome and supports look transparent, almost nonexistent.

The brilliant and brave science comes with the way in which the outward, lateral thrust of the central dome is handled. Domes are immensely strong structures capable of supporting great weights and spanning wide spaces, but they are difficult to construct and difficult to keep standing.

The curved form, although strong by design, like an eggshell, means that much of its weight exerts a horizontal thrust, so the dome, by its nature, wants to spread, to flatten itself. This outward thrust can be reduced depending on the materials or methods of construction and can be resisted in an ugly or elegant fashion. At Hagia Sophia, the solution is breathtaking. The lateral thrust of the huge central dome is balanced by the opposite and roughly equal counterthrusts exerted by two half-domes opening to the east and west, and by the small domes at the four corners of the nave.

Sturdy buttresses to north and south transfer much of the horizontal thrust of the dome into the rest of the structure and carry it down to the ground. All is in equilibrium, poised, the laws of science, of nature, used to keep the structure standing. This was an unprecedented structure but its designers never lost their nerve.

I have received permission to climb the scaffold that rises below the central dome so, now, up I go. It is a high climb but I can see wonderful things. When Islam first took over the building, the Christian decoration--showing figures such as Mary and Christ, who are venerated in the Koran--was tolerated. But in the 16th century a harder attitude was taken and all images showing living beings were painted over in case God might think them idols.

However, as I climb higher and look down into the galleries, I'm reminded that these 16th-century Muslim fundamentalists were not the first to rob this place of some of its beauty and meaning.

In the 8th century, the Byzantine church resolved to stop the production of icons because it was feared that congregations were worshipping the image rather than the divinity it portrayed; Christians were becoming worshippers of idols. In the galleries, I can see the remains of marvelous mosaics plastered over in the 8th century and revealed relatively recently. I catch a glimpse of the original magnificence and glory of this interior.

Once more in the nave, below the dome, I stand and look up at this epic construction, an elemental work that has withstood the violence of nature and of man. It has been rocked by earthquakes, ransacked by invaders (notably Crusaders who attacked Constantinople in 1204) and repainted by fundamentalist iconoclasts.

But here it is, a mighty prayer in brick and stone rising towards heaven. A vast building that, paradoxically perhaps, achieves spiritual power through the supreme understanding of the material world. Here the forces of nature have been harnessed to realize a structure that makes God's wonder and wisdom manifest.

Caviar Icon Is Not to Everyone's Taste
[Source: The Independent (London), October 8, 2005]

One of Russia's leading modern art galleries has been forced to remove a stylized icon of the Virgin Mary fashioned from black caviar after the Russian Orthodox Church complained it incited religious hatred.

The work of art, Icon-caviar, was created by a Russian emigre artist called Alexander Kosolapov who specializes in unlikely juxtaposition and draws much of his inspiration from the late Andy Warhol. It depicts an outline figure of the Virgin Mary and a baby Jesus hewn entirely from caviar within a gold icon frame and was displayed in Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery as part of an exhibition called Russian Pop Art. The museum's director, Valentin Rodionov, decided it was safer to take it down after he received a warning letter from a group of Orthodox believers.

The letter bore the signatures of at least 50 churchgoers and priests, who argued that the artwork violated their constitutional rights. They demanded the museum take 'appropriate measures' and vowed to 'take their own measures' if they did not get their way.

Mr. Rodionov said he had complied so as not to escalate the dispute since Orthodox believers have, in recent years, vandalized artwork they deem offensive.

Mr. Kosolapov's work seems to be particularly offensive to them. Earlier this year, another of his creations, a canvas which incorporated Jesus' head into a Coca-Cola ad with the slogan 'This is my blood' was vandalized in Moscow.

Mr. Kosolapov says that Icon-caviar was not religious but inspired by Andy Warhol's Coca-Cola paintings and aimed at showing Russia as an authoritarian country that divides people into rich and poor. He told Mr. Rodionov that his decision to remove the canvas was a personal insult.

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