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 January 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 January.

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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 Paraguay.  Expect more countries to follow.

We have updated Marian Thoughts of Benedict XVI through January 8, 2006 and also revised our page on the Stella Maris icon.

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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

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.)

Alumni Update

Teresa Monaghen, the local and National Moderator of the Secular Institute of the Apostolic Oblates and the National Director of the Pro Sanctity Movement, has been doing regular radio broadcasts on Marian and other spiritual topics on Spirit 88.9 FM KVSS out of Omaha, Nebraska.  Her latest talk aired on January 6, 2006 about Our Lady's Place in the Epiphany.  She is scheduled to do a series on "Discernment in the Spirit of Mary" next month.  We are hoping to make a number of her talks available as podcasts from The Mary Page.  Stay tuned!

She has a BA in Liberal Studies from Cal State Fullerton and did her thesis on "Faith Development for Children."  Teresa studied in Rome, Italy for her STB in Theology and then went on to Creighton University in Omaha for her MA in Christian Spirituality.  She is working towards her STL at The International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio.

Teresa has 29 years experience giving retreats and spiritual direction to people of all ages and backgrounds, and has also worked as a spiritual director for the summer program of the Institute for Priestly Formation under the direction of Father John Horn, SJ.  She currently runs the Pro Sanctity Retreat Center and Camp Fun for girls in Elkhorn, NE which is in its 15th season.

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Additional 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.

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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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Marianist Heritage Celebration

The Rector's Office at the University of Dayton is sponsoring a series of events to highlight the Marianist spirit of U.D.'s founders through February 24.  Among the activities, Campus Ministry and the Marianists will sponsor a Program on "Mary, Faith and Justice" on Thursday, 2/23/2006.  This will be held in the Kennedy Union Ballroom from 7-9 pm with a Social to follow.

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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Authenticity of the "Apparitions" at Marpingen Not Confirmed
Trier Diocese, December 12, 2005

On December 13, 2005, the Bishop of Trier, Dr. Reinhard Marx, published the following decree:

"It cannot be confirmed that the events of Marpingen during the years 1876 and 1999 were of supernatural character.  There are serious reasons which do not allow us to recognize the events as supernatural."

Trier December 12, 2005

Dr. Reinhard Marx
Bishop of Trier

Werner Rssel
Chancellor of the Trier Diocese

Pope's Homage on Solemnity of Immaculate Conception
"We Want to Thank You, Virgin Mother of God"

Vatican City, December 15, 2005

Here is a Vatican translation of the homage Benedict XVI paid last Thursday, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, when he visited the statue of the Blessed Virgin in Rome's Piazza di Spagna.

Prayer of His Holiness Benedict XVI Thursday, Dec. 8

On this day dedicated to Mary I have come, for the first time as Successor of Peter, to the feet of the statue of the Immaculate here in Piazza di Spagna, ideally continuing the Pilgrimage made many times by my Predecessors. I feel that I am accompanied by the devotion and affection of the Church living in this city of Rome and in the entire world. I bring with me the concerns and hopes of present-day humanity and come to lay them at the feet of the heavenly Mother of the Redeemer.

On this remarkable day, the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, my thought goes to 8 December 1965 when, exactly at the end of the Homily during the Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter's Square, the Servant of God Paul VI addressed his thought to Mary, "the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother ..., the creature in whom the image of God is reflected with absolute clarity, without any disturbance as happens in every other human creature."

The Pope then asked: "Is it not perhaps in directing our gaze on this woman who is our humble sister and at the same time our heavenly Mother and Queen, the spotless and sacred mirror of infinite beauty, that we can ... [begin] our post-conciliar work? Does not the beauty of Mary Immaculate become for us an inspiring model, a comforting hope?"

He then concluded: "... we think it is so for us and for you. And this is our most exalted and, God willing, our most valuable parting wish" (cf. "The Teachings of Pope Paul VI," III, 1965).

Recalling the many events that have marked the last 40 years, how can we not relive today the various moments that have highlighted the Church's journey in this period?

Mary sustained the Pastors, and in the first place the Successors of Peter, in their demanding ministry at the service of the Gospel during these 40 years; she guided the Church toward the faithful understanding and application of the conciliar documents.

For this reason, serving as spokesperson for the entire Ecclesial Community, I wish to thank the Most Holy Virgin and I turn to her with the same sentiments that animated the Council Fathers, who dedicated to Mary the last chapter of the dogmatic constitution "Lumen Gentium," underlining the inseparable relationship that unites the Virgin to the Church.

Yes, we want to thank you, Virgin Mother of God and our most beloved Mother, for your intercession for the good of the Church. You, who in embracing the divine will without reserve were consecrated with all of your energies to the person and work of your Son, teach us to keep in our heart and to meditate in silence, as you did, upon the mysteries of Christ's life.

May you who reached Calvary, ever-deeply united to your Son who from the Cross gave you as mother to the disciple John, also make us feel you are always close in each moment of our lives, especially in times of darkness and trial.

You, who at Pentecost, together with the Apostles in prayer, called upon the gift of the Holy Spirit for the newborn Church, help us to persevere in the faithful following of Christ. To you, a "sign of certain hope and comfort," we trustfully turn our gaze "until the day of the Lord shall come" ("Lumen Gentium," No. 68).

You, Mary, are invoked with the insistent prayer of the faithful throughout the world so that you, exalted above all the angels and saints, will intercede before your Son for us, "until all families of peoples, whether they are honored with the title of Christian or whether they still do not know the Savior, may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity" (ibid., n. 69). Amen.

[Translation distributed by the Holy See]

Making Music at Saint Mary Major
A Basilica's Reminder of What Christmas is Really About
Rome, December 15, 2005

While Romans throng the streets, counting down the shopping days until Christmas, the Basilica of St. Mary Major is valiantly attempting to remind Christians what the real countdown is about, the birth of Our Savior.

It is fitting that St. Mary Major, the oldest church in the West dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, built to celebrate the Council of Ephesus' proclamation of Mary as "Mother of God," should lead Romans through their spiritual preparations. For as the feast of the Nativity approaches, thoughts turn to Mary, patiently waiting those last weeks with the Jesus in her womb.

At the beginning of Advent, to heighten the sense of anticipation, the basilica hides its most important relic, the fragment of the manger where the Infant Jesus was placed, behind screen doors. During the Midnight Mass of Christmas Eve, the crib will be returned to view with a grand procession around the church.

A splendid concert at St. Mary Major marked the close of a triad of Marian feasts--the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8, Our Lady of Loreto on Dec. 10 and Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.

The last step toward readying St. Mary Major for the holidays is eagerly awaited. For on Dec. 15, one of the world's oldest Nativity scenes will be put on public display in a new setting, more than 400 years after the chapel in which it was originally placed was demolished during a restoration project.

The Holy Family and the Three Magi were sculpted by Arnolfo di Cambio between 1290 and 1292. Arnolfo was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV to restore the ancient oratory of the Crib, a small chapel to the right of the main altar where the relic of the Crib had been kept for centuries.

Nicholas IV, the first Franciscan Pope, wanted to re-create the first Nativity scene, arranged by St. Francis in 1223 in Greccio as a "tableau vivant," with people playing the parts of the saints.

Arnolfo, both architect and sculptor, designed a new space for the relic, adding the figures of the ox and the ass, St. Joseph and the Three Kings. While there must have been a figure of the Virgin and Child, it was destroyed in the 16th century and replaced by the present statue.

The figures, about 3 feet high, were carved in relief against a backdrop painted blue and highlighted to represent a night sky. The relic of the Crib was placed in the center of the arrangement on a disk of purple stone.

The entire chapel was transplanted as a block by Pope Sixtus V when he built the majestic Sistine Chapel for the Blessed Sacrament in 1585. It was placed under the altar in a special crypt, which was only opened on Christmas Eve.

The chapel of the Crib has a special connection with two of the greatest saints of the Roman Counter-Reformation. St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, celebrated his first Mass there and St. Gaetan, founder of the Theatine order, had a vision of the Virgin Mary handing him the Christ Child while praying in the chapel.

But this year, because of necessary restorations to the crypt, the Nativity will be moved to the Museum of St. Mary Major. There, visitors will be able to see the figures with their skillfully carved expressions of joy and wonder, examples of the true spirit of Christmas.

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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.

'Go away' painted on monastery's statues
[Source: Chicago Sun-Times, January 3, 2006]

A religious order's plans to build a community in rural McHenry County were greeted with heated opposition from neighbors before approval was granted last summer.

But even they were shocked by what vandals did to statues of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary at the Fraternite Notre Dame monastery on New Year's Eve.

Someone spray-painted "Killer," "KKK," "666," "Go away" and "Leave" on the figures. They wrote an obscene message in snow at the base of one statue and stole an American flag.

"It breaks our heart," Sister Mary Valerie said Monday. She is one of a half-dozen priests and nuns who moved into the monastery on the 65-acre site near Marengo last August.

They discovered the damage after returning early Sunday from an all-night prayer vigil at the order's mother house, at 502 N. Central in Chicago. Although that is in a "very bad" part of the Austin neighborhood, in five years nobody has touched the statue out front, Valerie said. "They don't treat us the way they do out in the country," she said.

On Dec. 2, the Marengo monastery's mailbox was uprooted and replaced with a stop sign. The order said nothing to authorities. But officials reported the latest incident, and McHenry County sheriff's police are investigating.

Last March the order sought the county's permission to build a monastery, convent, cemetery, print shop and bakery on the property. Neighbors objected at public hearings, but the McHenry County Board approved the plan.


"I was one of the more vocal opponents," said longtime resident Robert Cisneros. He cited fears that the community's commercial ventures will lower property values and change the character of the area, consisting mostly of farms and estate homes. "It will stand out like a sore thumb," he said.

But when he heard about the desecration, Cisneros and his wife visited the monastery Sunday "to lend a little support and tell them this was certainly not the mind-set of the neighborhood," he said. "Everyone I spoke to was just appalled by what happened."

County Board member Tina Hill of Woodstock said she hoped the culprits were "kids," not adults offended by the order's presence. "This is not the way we want our county to be known," she said.

The Virgin Mary First Won Hearts
[Source: Newsquest Media, December 24, 2005]

There's something about Mary. And Jodie McKenna, pictured, knows what that something is. "She was Jesus' mother, " the 11-year-old from St Gregory's Primary in Glasgow explains as she prepares to play the aforementioned mum in her school's nativity play. You can't ask for a more succinct explanation than that.

To all Christians around the world preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ tomorrow, that is indeed what she was. What she is, though - or at what she represents - may be a little more. In some ways the history of theological thought about Mary is the history of Christian culture.

"The evidence suggests that devotion to Mary was more developed in the Eastern church than the Western church to begin with, " says Dr Sarah Boss, a Catholic theologian and director of the Centre for Marian Studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter. "The earliest prayer to Mary that survives in writing is from Egypt and is probably from the fourth century. The Western church caught up rather later. But by the time you get into the later Middle Ages the whole of Europe was completely besotted with Mary. You find that the way Mary is thought of often reflects the state of the church: Luther and Calvin, for instance, held her in great reverence."

Because Mary was the prime mediation figure between humanity and God in the Catholic Church, she increasingly became a symbol of difference between the Catholic and Protestant faiths. But Boss believes theological thinking is now moving beyond that opposition. "Since the Second Vatican Council, that clearly has started to change.

Catholics have been much more willing to be open in general to dialogue with Protestants, and Protestants are increasingly saying, 'Haven't we neglected Mary wrongly? She's in the scriptures and she is a very significant figure.'

Books are now being published by evangelicals who previously never wrote about Mary at all."

Mary remains an important figure in Christian thinking--and, given the number of appearances she makes around the world--to ordinary Christians too. But even the ubiquity of Marian appearances tells us something of the world we live in, says Boss. "One thing I've noticed that makes me slightly uneasy is that there have been several 20th-century appearances in which she's kind of warning of the end-times, which obviously speaks of the times we live in. In medieval apparitions there's something more upbeat and hopeful: she was the one who reassured you that somehow it would be all right."

There's something about Mary. There always has been.

Clearwater Image Still Popular on its 10th Yuletide
[Source: The Tampa Tribune (Florida), December 24, 2005]

It's not like it was before, but a steady stream of the faithful still visit what many believe to be a miraculous image of the Virgin Mary gracing the side of a former bank building on U.S. 19.

"I try to be here at least once a week," said Bert Morin, who each winter migrates south from Canada. "I was here when it happened about 10 years ago."

Morin's memory is about right. The image was discovered Dec. 17, 1996, and the people who preserve it, Shepherds of Christ Ministries, celebrated the ninth anniversary two weeks ago by dedicating a stone grotto nearby that features a statue of Mary standing over a well they say produces special water.

This will be the 10th Christmas for the image, or what remains of it.

A teen with a slingshot destroyed the top half of the image in early 2004, shattering three large panes of golden reflective glass that bore what many believe was the image of Mary's hooded head and shoulders.

When the image was discovered, thousands of people flocked to the site daily.

A temporary stoplight was put up on nearby Drew Street, and Clearwater police formed what they called the Miracle Management Task Force to handle crowds. Spokesman Wayne Shelor estimated that more than 500,000 people visited during the first three months.

Attendance - and the donations needed to preserve the site - dropped off sharply after last year's vandalism, Shepherds of Christ President John Weickert said.

It was not the first time a vandal struck, and many hope the missing portion of the image will reappear.

In 1997, someone sprayed the image with an acidic liquid, obscuring a large portion of the face and shoulder. A downpour a month later washed away the stain and the image re-emerged.

The Ohio-based ministry, which prays for the spiritual well-being of priests, purchased the building in 2000 after renting it for several years. After last year's destruction, Shepherds of Christ spent $90,000 to cover the remaining image with protective glass.

The glass also covers a smaller image that some believe is of Jesus hidden in the folds of Mary's gown.

Shepherds of Christ has made many other improvements.

The chain link fence that used to ring a parking lot that now serves as a sort of open-air sanctuary has been replaced with an attractive brick wall. Along the top of the wall runs a channel through which flows what ministry workers call "Jesus water" from the "Jesus well," which is near the Jesus image.

Along with a huge variety of religious material for sale at the Shepherds of Christ gift shop inside the former bank building, the ministry gives away small bottles of "Jesus water" and "Mary water," the latter from a well at the new grotto.

Weickert said the water recently surprised ministry workers with its healing qualities.

"The Jesus and Mary wells are the biggest gift we got from God to make up for" the damaged image, he said.

Palm Harbor resident Jackie Fayer stopped by last week to pray for a few minutes before stocking up on the water, which she said she planned to give as Christmas presents to a few choice friends.

Seven years ago, Fayer said, she was suffering from a chronic illness that went away after praying at the site.

"This is a very holy place, and I believe in its power," Fayer said. "I had a miraculous healing. Oh yes, it's a special place for me."

Word of the Virgin Mary image has spread all over the world, and foreign tourists show up all the time, said Kathleen Wren, the Shepherds of Christ site manager.

Sure enough, a family from England--with a sister visiting from Africa--was stocking up on religious items at the gift shop last week.

"It's an important part of our trip," said Juliet Ndibazza, who traveled from Uganda for her second visit in three years.

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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, 01/17/2006 14:05:47 EST by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to

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