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 posted several new Christmas poems by Virginia Kimball as well as a recent reflection by Benedict XVI, Advent Through Mary.

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

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.

Also, the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) has added the Gallery section of The Mary Page to the Exhibits section of their on-line museum, the Plethoreum.

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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.

Copies of Oasis in the Night: Art Works and Writings by Marie Pierre Semler, M.M., as well as holy cards and packets of note cards based on the exhibit are available for a limited time at The Marian Library.

Creches and Straw Art are also on display in our museum.  Additional nativity sets are also on display at Gallery Saint John (4400 Shakertown Road in Dayton) from noon to 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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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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Cathedral Offers Christmas Nativity Exhibit

St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, in cooperation with The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, will offer an exhibition of 26 nativity scenes representative of the cultures and nationalities from around the world.  The exhibition will be at the cathedral from now through Sunday, January 1, 2006.  Hours are Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Closed on Christmas day); Saturdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; weekdays from noon to 2:00 p.m.  This year's exhibit will feature nativities from the American Southwest.

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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Pope Leaves "Hopes and Anxieties" With Mary
Vatican City, December 8, 2005

On the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Benedict XVI figuratively placed the "hopes and anxieties of humanity" with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In an emotive homage to the image of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna, in the heart of Rome, the Pope entrusted to the Blessed Virgin the future of the Church. The day also marked the 40th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council.

"I bring the anxieties and hopes of humanity of our time and place them at the feet of the heavenly Mother of the Redeemer," he began, in his tribute to the Mother of God.

More than 10,000 people from Rome and abroad attended the floral homage that Benedict XVI dedicated to Mary, following the tradition of his predecessors on this public holiday.

"Yes, we wish to thank you, Virgin Mother of God and our most beloved Mother, for your intercession for the Church," the Pope said.

He prayed in particular to the Mother of God "that we might feel her closeness in every instant of life, above all in moments of darkness and trial."

Holy Father Pays Traditional Visit to Piazza di Spagna
Vatican City, December 8, 2005

Today at 4 p.m. Benedict XVI traveled by car to Rome's Piazza di Spagna to place the traditional floral wreath at the foot of the statue of Mary in celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Before arriving in the square, the Holy Father stopped briefly at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity to greet the Dominican Friars and the members of the Via Condotti Storeowners Association. Once in the square, in the presence of thousands of faithful, he blessed a basket of roses which was placed at the foot of the column bearing Mary's statue.

"On this day," said the Holy Father, "I have, for the first time as Peter's Successor, come here to the foot of the statue Mary Immaculate in Piazza di Spagna, spiritually following the pilgrimage so often undertaken by my predecessors. ... I bring with me the fears and hopes of humanity of our time and I place them here at the feet of the heavenly Mother of the Redeemer."

The Pope again recalled the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II, and the Eucharistic celebration held in St. Peter's Square on that occasion when "Paul VI turned his thoughts to the Virgin 'the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother, ... the creature in which God's image is reflected with absolute clarity'."

"Remembering the many events that marked the last 40 years, how can we not recall today the various moments that characterized the Church's journey over this period? Over those four decades, the Virgin has given her support to pastors and, in the first place, to Peter's Successors. ... She has guided the Church towards a faithful understanding and application of the conciliar documents. For this reason, speaking for the entire ecclesial community, I would like to thank the most Holy Virgin ... with the same sentiments that animated the Conciliar Fathers who dedicated to her the last chapter of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Lumen Gentium,' highlighting the unbreakable bond that unites the Virgin to the Church."

"Virgin Mother of God, and Mother of ours," the Pope cried, "teach us to keep the mysteries of Christ's life in our hearts, and to meditate in silence as you did. You who proceeded to Calvary, ... let us also feel you near in all moments of life, especially moments of darkness and trial. You who at the Pentecost, together with the Apostles in prayer, implored the gift of the Holy Spirit for the nascent Church, help us to follow Christ faithfully. To you we trustingly turn our gaze 'as a sign of sure hope and solace ... until the day of the Lord shall come'."

Volunteers of Suffering Give Meaning to Pain
Rome, December 2, 2005

The following is the fourth point of reference that will guide the coordinating action expressed by the president's council:

To be collaborators of our brothers' joy. Whoever has found Jesus the Lord and Mary, his Mother and ours, acknowledges that joy can also coexist with suffering.

For more information see:

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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.

Vigil for Vietnam's 'weeping' Virgin
[Source: The Australian, November 3, 2005]

A "WEEPING" Virgin Mary statue has drawn crowds of devotees to Ho Chi Minh City's Catholic cathedral since Saturday, annoying government and church officials.

However, communist authorities in southern Vietnam's main city have so far done nothing to disrupt the vigil, illustrating a more relaxed attitude to displays of religiosity, at least those that don't disturb state order.

More than 1000 people gathered around the Virgin Mary in the square outside Notre Dame Cathedral on the weekend and even yesterday more than 100 Catholics, mainly women, maintained their vigil.

According to local word of mouth, a boy selling lottery tickets saw a tear streak the face of the 3m statue on Saturday afternoon. A crowd quickly gathered and by Sunday traffic was disrupted and hawkers were doing a roaring trade in photographs of the weeping Virgin.

"There was still a fair crowd there (on Monday) night, 300 to 400 people but the police have made no effort so far to discourage them," a foreign scholar holidaying in Ho Chi Minh City told The Australian yesterday.

"But they have started to enforce a ban on the sale of photographs -- the hawkers had been making a killing selling pictures of the statue," said the man, who asked not to be named.

"Basically, it seems the Government treats this purely as opportunistic elements taking advantage of the Catholic faithful."

Speaking for the city diocese at Sunday mass at Notre Dame, Father Huynh Cong Minh suggested the tears were rain streaks on the dusty statue and warned that "bad elements" were trying to exploit religious fervor.

Local Catholic leaders regard the weeping Virgin with skepticism but are watching how the episode plays out for indications of how the prickly church-state relationship is evolving.

The church claims 5.5 million practicing adherents among Vietnam's 82million people. The Ho Chi Minh City diocese has about 583,000 Catholics, or 11.5 per cent of the local population.

Catholicism is one of Vietnam's officially recognized religions, but like the others it has been kept on a short leash. The recognized churches are required to be affiliated with the Communist Party's cultural arm, the Fatherland Front, and the Government expects to be consulted about Vatican appointments of Vietnamese bishops.

The Government continues to take tough measures, including lengthy imprisonment, against Catholics it regards as challenging the state's authority.

Amnesty International has been campaigning since 1996 for the release of Brother Nguyen Thien Phung, who was arrested in 1987 with 22 other monks and priests for distributing religious books without authorization.

The US State Department last year put Vietnam on its register of "countries of particular concern" under the US International Religious Freedom Act, but has imposed no sanctions.

Can Anyone Explain?
[Source: The Daily Telegraph (London), November 3, 2005]

SOME HINDUS have complained because the 68p Christmas stamp shows an old Mughal painting of the Virgin Mary and St Joseph in Indian dress and wearing on their foreheads dots now generally known as bindis.

The traditional red bindi (a Hindi word from the ancient Sanskrit for a "drop") has been made for centuries with a simple deft application of red coloring such as turmeric and the vermilion ochre called sindoor. The bindi has been called a "caste mark", but this is a misleading term. Many other words relate to the forehead mark. "Tilaka", meaning "a mark", signifies any kind of forehead marking used by Hindus. Devotees of different gods wear marks in different colors and configurations.

The bindi is placed between the eyebrows at the site, in Hindu culture, of meditative energy and wisdom. There is a deep connection between the bindi and Hindu worship. Red represents strength, and red pigments are offered in temples before being used on the forehead. Married women wear a red mark as a sign of their status; widows stop wearing one.

Satellite television soap operas in India have recently provoked a vogue for bindis in outlandish shapes and colors. It is not the soap heroines who have set the most fashionable trend, but the women baddies with bindis in the shape of skulls or snakes.

Putting Faith in Relics of Saints
[Source: The Buffalo News (New York), November 1, 2005]

The Rev. Michael H. Burzynski makes no bones about it: He collects relics of saints.

From the well-known, such as St. Thomas of Aquinas and the Virgin Mary, to the obscure, including Donatus and Fidelis--name a saint--and Burzynski probably has a relic that some consider sacred.

He has amassed one of the largest private relic collections in the country. It is on display today--All Saints Day in some Christian denominations--through Nov. 14 in St. Mary of the Cataract Catholic Church, 257 Fourth St., where Burzynski is pastor.

Since the late 1970s, Burzynski, 51, has collected more than 1,000 relics. Most are tiny shards of bone, no more than the size of a sunflower seed, housed in small glass and metal or wood boxes known as reliquaries.

Since the earliest days of Christianity, some Catholics have venerated these memorials as physical contact to the saints, who are believed to intercede on behalf of the faithful.

"The original church was searching for the resurrection, and that's where it developed from," Burzynski said.

His collection began with a relic of St. John Neumann--a gift recognizing Burzynski's research leading to Neumann's canonization. In the late 1830s, Neumann spent considerable time in Western New York as a missionary, and Burzynski chronicled some of his work here.

Over the years, parishioners donated many items to his collection.

The display currently includes a piece of wood said to have come from the cross of Jesus, a tiny shred said to be from a veil of Mary and fragments of bones claimed to be from apostles.

The piece described as part of a veil was cut from a cloth once housed in the Cathedral in Chartres, France.

During the French Revolution, monks shredded it into quarters before fleeing the Cathedral, according to Burzynski. The quarters eventually were cut into tiny pieces, which were then sent to every Catholic bishop.

Burzynski said Bishop John Timon, Buffalo's first prelate, who served from 1847 to 1867, received the piece now in his collection.

But what of the shards of bones?

"It's usually kneecaps," said Burzynski, because they're easily removed from a corpse.

Burzynski has a small piece of a Father Nelson Baker's vestments in a reliquary--in anticipation of Baker's possible elevation to sainthood.

Relics have long been a delicate subject within the Catholic Church. Out of concern that the practice could encourage fraud, trafficking and superstition, the Vatican issued guidelines in 2001 asking Catholics not to start any new collections.

"I'm probably the last of an age," said Burzynski, who, when he retires, plans to donate his collection to a parish or to the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater, which has an extensive relic collection.

Burzynski says he understands the church's caution.

"With the Internet now, I hate to say it's almost like baseball cards," he said.

But the tiny links to the saints continue to be a powerful presence in the lives of some Catholics.

Howard Jones traveled from Depew to spend a few hours praying in St. Mary of the Cataract while Burzynski set up his display.

"It's not too often you get to say your daily prayers in the presence of these holy relics," Jones said. "This is a treat beyond belief. It's very touching. I didn't want to miss it."

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