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 December 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 December.

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New Resources

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

We have updated our Advent Calendar, material on the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception, and a list of Marian Thoughts from Benedict XVI (through 11/6/2005).

We have also enhanced our search utility to allow users to examine the holdings of The Marian Library.  Please try out the new feature at Search and send us your feedback.

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  News from the Marian Library

Alumni Update

Richard May, an MSA member, will be on EWTN TV on their Living His Life Abundantly program.  The show will premier on Monday, Dec. 5 at 10 pm and repeat on Tuesday at 3 am and 5 pm, and on Thursday at 10 am of that week.  All times are Eastern.

Michael Duricy, your webmaster, was interviewed about ML/IMRI and the Virgin Mary by Relevant Radio on 11/29/05.

Also, Father Bertrand Buby, S.M., a long-time IMRI Professor, published a book on the Psalms, With a Listening Heart.  Click here for a review of the work.

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Polish Madonna Prints Still Available!

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

The 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



Madonna Riding on a Deer


These 11" x 14" prints are $5 each.  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

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 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.

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

"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 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.  Click here for a virtual exhibit.

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 Spring 2006 semester are scheduled to begin on February 20.  The course schedule for this semester is now available.

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The Dayton Liederkranz-Turner Christkindlmarkt will offer a centuries old German Christmas Market tradition that originated in Nuremberg, Germany on Dec. 9-11.  The public is invited, with free admission and free parking.  There will also be a Christmas Concert that Saturday from 8-9 pm (when the booths will be closed).  For more information call 937-223-9013 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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December 8 Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica
Vatican City, December 1, 2005

On December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the fortieth anniversary of the conclusion of Vatican Council II, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, according to a communique made public today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

Pontiff Tells Young Dutch How to Know Christ
Through Prayer, Eucharist, and Sacrament of Reconciliation

Vatican City, November 28, 2005

In a message for the first Youth Day held in the Netherlands, Benedict XVI explains to young people how they can come to know Christ.

To discover Jesus, Benedict XVI gave young people three personal pieces of advice. The first one being prayer. "If you do not know how to pray, ask him [Jesus] to teach you and ask his heavenly Mother to pray with and for you," the Pope said. "The prayer of the rosary can help you to learn the art of prayer with the simplicity and depth of Mary."

Plenary Indulgence for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Vatican City, November 29, 2005

According to a decree made public today, Benedict XVI will grant the faithful a Plenary Indulgence for the forthcoming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2005). The decree is signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. John Francis Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

"December 8," the text reads, "will mark 40 years since Servant of God Paul VI, Supreme Pontiff, who had already proclaimed the Virgin Mary as Mother of the Church, in closing Vatican Council II dedicated great praise to the Virgin who, as Mother of Christ, is Mother of God and spiritual Mother to us all.

"On this Solemnity, the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, when he renders public homage of praise to Mary Immaculate, has the heartfelt desire that the entire Church should join with him, so that all the faithful, united in the name of the common Mother, become ever stronger in the faith, adhere with greater devotion to Christ, and love their brothers with more fervent charity. From here--as Vatican Council II very wisely taught--arise works of mercy towards the needy, observance of justice, and the defense of and search for peace."

For this reason, the decree continues, the Holy Father "has kindly granted the gift of Plenary Indulgence which may be obtained under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin, on the forthcoming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, by the faithful if they participate in a sacred function in honor of the Virgin, or at least offer open testimony of Marian devotion before an image of Mary Immaculate exposed for public veneration, adding the recitation of the Our Father and of the Creed, and some invocation to the Virgin."

The document concludes by recalling that faithful who "through illness or other just cause," are unable to participate in a public ceremony or to venerate an image of the Virgin, "may obtain a Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be, if, with the soul completely removed from any form of sin, and with the intention of observing the aforesaid conditions as soon as possible, they unite themselves in spirit and in desire to the Supreme Pontiff's intentions in prayer to Mary Immaculate, and recite the Our Father and the Creed."

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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.

Shrine Offers Tranquility amid Tumult
[Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), September 20, 2005]

Zooming east on Interstate 70, approaching the bustling intersection at Mid Rivers Mall Drive, you might notice the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus watching over you.

The Mary and Jesus statue is the centerpiece of the Our Lady of the Way Shrine, nestled in front of a duck pond and between the interstate and Suemandy Road.

The rush of nearby semis and cars doesn't exactly make for a quiet scene. But some passers-by find serenity by sitting on one of the three stone benches facing the shrine. The statue is nestled in an alcove in a stone structure, flanked by stone vases of colorful, artificial flowers.

"Our Lady of the Way is the patroness of all who travel along the roads of this world and of the seven seas," says a plaque shaped like an open book below the statue.

Another plaque gives clues to the shrine's origins. It lists the 11 charter members of the Society of Our Lady of the Way, including Ralph Borgmeyer, who founded the society in the 1950s, after talking to a church member who had just returned from Europe.

The member talked about roadside shrines, which were common in Europe, and said that he thought that the lack of shrines in America indicated that it wasn't a very Christian country.

"I knew that it wasn't true, so I got this idea," Borgmeyer said in a 1982 interview with the Post-Dispatch. Borgmeyer died later that year.

Borgmeyer's idea gained momentum when his young son, Bill, died of a bite from a black widow spider. The elder Borgmeyer decided that he wanted to build the shrine in memory of his son.

So he and other volunteers built the shrine on a hillside surrounded by woods, near the intersection of Highway 79 and Interstate 70. Travelers used it as a spot to stop and pray, and wedding parties posed there for pictures. The shrine remained for nearly 28 years, until May 1985, when it was razed to make way for an improved highway interchange.

St. Peters Alderman Len Pagano and the 46 members of the society campaigned to find the shrine a new home. The May Co. donated land along Suemandy, and the new shrine was dedicated in November 1987.

Don Ziegemeier, 68, who lives just a couple of blocks from the shrine, has been president of the society for at least 35 years. Tom Pallardy of St. Charles serves as secretary and treasurer. They are the society's only members now and have watched over the shrine for several years.

Money that the state gave the society for the land at the old shrine still pays the electric bill to light it at night. This fall, Ziegemeier would like to plant new bushes at the site and repaint the statue.

He worries about who will watch over the shrine when he and Pallardy cannot, and they would like an organization to take over the responsibility of maintaining it.

Ziegemeier still sees cars parked on the shrine's small lot and still spots people sitting on the benches, facing the statue.

He doesn't know if these people are Catholic, or if they have a particular devotion to Mary, or if they are travelers who have never seen such a shrine before. "I think sometimes people like to get away from the hustle and bustle and just sit there and meditate," he said. "We could use more of that."

Still Sacred: Parishes Close But Symbols of Faith Endure
[Source: The Boston Globe, September 18, 2005]

In the end, it took three men and a pickup truck to move the 700-pound Virgin Mary statue from a grotto outside the closed St. Peter Church in East Gloucester, down the road to St. Anthony by the Sea Chapel.

After loosening the concrete statue from its base, two men jumped in the front seat while a third rode in the back next to the prone figure of the nearly 6-foot-tall Mary, as the gray pickup wound its way to the little stone chapel.

"We almost died moving it," said Joe Parisi, 44, the driver. "She was a lot heavier than we thought. When we finally got her into place, it was the happiest moment of our lives."

The all-white Virgin Mary is one of dozens of displaced religious items including crucifixes, crosses, altars, and stained glass windows that have found new homes at Catholic schools, chapels, and churches in the year since the first of eight local parishes locked its doors.

While the destruction of a Christ figure outside a closed church in Gloucester riled that seaside city, most of the items have been handled with care as they traveled down the road, or as far away as South America.

The Archdiocese of Boston, which has closed 62 parishes in the past year, helped disperse the religious items left behind. But faithful parishioners often didn't wait for the moving van. With a lot of muscle and heart, they literally took their most sacred objects and symbols into their own hands.

They hoisted statues and crucifixes weighing hundreds of pounds into pickup trucks. They bundled crosses and candlesticks in bubble wrap, either to keep them safe or to ship them to a foreign land. They carried favorite saints, like the statue of St. Rocco at St. Peter Parish in Malden, out the front door after closing Mass.

And at St. Alphonsus, a church on the Beverly-Danvers line, they packed altar linens, vestments, and stations of the cross into suitcases and delivered them to San Alfonso, a church built in its name in the Dominican Republic.

The Rev. Harvey Egan, a theology professor at Boston College, said the emotional response is not surprising.

"If you are a Catholic, symbols, like statues, are extremely important," he said. "They are the way our faith is expressed and made concrete."

Egan said it is natural for Catholics to want to save a little piece of their lost parish.

"We get attached to the homes we grow up in," Egan said. "And the same is true for a church. People get attached to their religious environment. And when that is threatened, or altered in any way, that hits people very hard."

And that could be why many made sure their parish treasures found good homes. At St. James Church in Salem, a 17-foot-tall crucifix from nearby St. Joseph Parish is mounted on a wall, to the right of the altar.

Chapels at St. Mary's Regional High School in Lynn and Malden Catholic High School have tabernacles from Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere and St. Peter Church in Malden, respectively. Malden Catholic also has the altar and stations of the cross from St. Peter, as well as a statue of Mary, which stands outside the campus ministry office.

A stained glass window of Mary above the altar at Our Lady of Lourdes is waiting to be installed at Immaculate Conception Church in Revere. A baptismal font and a crucifix from St. Alphonsus Church are at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Danvers.

In Salem, a former parishioner from St. Joseph paid to ship the stations of the cross and a statue of the Holy Family to a mission church in South America.

In the Dominican Republic, the new San Alfonso Church is filled with the most sacred items from St. Alphonsus, including the original crucifix, a plaster statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and original artwork from the church. A cross that hung above the main altar at Sacred Heart Church in Gloucester now graces Our Lady of the Pillar in Cevicos, another rural Dominican village. Our Lady of the Pillar is the sister church of Holy Family, a new parish in Gloucester created from the merger of Sacred Heart and three other parishes.

The archdiocese developed guidelines to disperse religious goods. Church law says they must be removed before a church building can be sold. First dibs go to a parish designated to receive people from the church that is closing. They're encouraged to take a statue, cross, or other familiar symbol to make newcomers feel at home.

After two weeks, other parishes and Catholic institutions in the archdiocese can choose. Anything left unclaimed is made available on a password-protected website, to be given away to other Catholic churches, schools, or organizations. Church law does not allow sacred items to be sold, the archdiocese said.

"Our interest is to make sure that these items stay in use," said Terrence C. Donilon, the archdiocese spokesman. "We're working with parishes both in and outside the diocese to make sure that happens."

At St. James in Salem, the giant wooden crucifix from St. Joseph was put in a place where parishioners could easily see and touch it. "This is a symbol of our healing," said the Rev. John Sheridan, pastor at St. James, standing in front of the crucifix. "We put upon him our own wounds. ... But it also reminds us that what we share together is Christ's presence, in and around us."

Moving the 1,000-pound crucifix, which bears a 6-foot figure of a wounded Jesus, happened almost by accident. As clergy from other Salem parishes looked over religious items at St. Joseph, Andrea Lausier, a pastoral associate, wondered aloud what would happen to the crucifix suspended over the main altar.

"I said, 'I wish we could take it with us,' " recalled Lausier, now a pastoral associate at St. James. "I thought it would mean a lot to the people of St. Joe's, to see our crucifix in our new parish."

Parishioners swung into action. Within hours, the giant fixture was in the back of a pickup, traveling across downtown Salem in midday. Onlookers stared, pointed, and a few even blessed themselves. "It's not something you see every day, thank God," Lausier said, laughing. "It was emotional for everyone involved."

In East Gloucester, the Virgin Mary's journey was equally moving.

Just two days earlier, parishioners had been shocked when a worker hired by the archdiocese used a jackhammer to destroy a beloved Sacred Heart of Jesus statue that had stood in front of the Sacred Heart Church in Lanesville an action for which the archdiocese later apologized.

Some feared that the Mary statue from St. Peter could meet the same fate. The statue was sacred to women at the parish, who prayed the rosary to her each October. Parishioners decided from the start that Mary would move to St. Anthony by the Sea, the parish chapel that did not close.

A concrete foundation was poured in early summer. But by mid-July, Mary still had not appeared. Not until three men and a pickup came along one Saturday morning to retrieve her.

"We got sent on a mission of mercy," Parisi said. "It was important that Mary be saved."

Our Lady of Miracles of Mussomeli
[Source: The Buffalo News (New York), September 12, 2005]

Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, left, greets worshippers attending the 75th annual Feast of Our Lady of Miracles of Mussomeli Sunday in St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in downtown Buffalo. Commemorating the healing of a paralytic in the Sicilian village of Mussomeli in 1530 by intercession of the Virgin Mary, the feast was brought here by immigrants from Mussomeli and is largest annual Italian-American religious celebration in the area.

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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 Tuesday, 12/06/2005 11:01:02 EST by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to

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