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 February 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 February.

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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 expanded our pages on The Hail Mary in Various Languages as well as adding Marian FAQs to our French-language material.  We have also posted a message of Benedict XVI for Lent 2006.

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  News from the Marian Library

New Exhibit!

"Dark and Beautiful," an exhibit of paintings by Father Jim Hasse, S.J., will be on display at The Marian Library Gallery from February 1 - March 20, 2006.  Click here to view the virtual exhibit.

Creches and Straw Madonnas are also on display in our museum.  Patrons with RealPlayer may also view a streaming video showing the sets which were on display during the 2005 Christmas 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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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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Fourteenth San Francisco International Marian Conference

This conference will be held from June 30 - July 2, 2006 at the Crowne Plaza Conference Center in Foster City, California.  For more information call 1-800-456-4197 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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Indulgences for the World Day of the Sick
Vatican City, February 3, 2006

The Apostolic Penitentiary today published a decree announcing the concession of indulgences to the faithful for the fifteenth World Day of the Sick, which is celebrated every year on February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year, the Day will be celebrated in Adelaide, Australia, culminating with a Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in that city.

The faithful who, "through sickness, old age or similar reason, are prevented from participating in a ceremony, may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required, they spiritually participate together with the Holy Father in the aforesaid ceremony, pray devotedly for the sick, and offer, through the Virgin Mary, 'Health of the Sick', their physical and spiritual sufferings to God."

On Witnesses of Love
"The Whole History of the Church is a History of Holiness"
Vatican City, January 29, 2006

Conclusion of the address Benedict XVI gave before reciting the midday Angelus from the window of his study.

... We now turn to Mary Most Holy, mirror of charity: With her maternal help, may she help Christians, and the consecrated in particular, to walk rapidly and joyfully on the path of holiness.

The Figure of Saint Joseph
His Silence Shows "Fullness of Faith"
Vatican City, December 18, 2005

Excerpts of the address Benedict XVI gave before reciting the midday Angelus from the window of his study together with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Dear brothers and sisters!

In these days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to contemplate in a special way the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, who lived with a unique intensity the time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Today I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph. In today's Gospel, St. Luke presents the Virgin Mary as "betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David," (Luke 1:27).

... A silence through which Joseph, together with Mary, guard the Word of God, known through sacred Scripture, comparing it continually to the events of the life of Jesus; a silence interwoven with constant prayer, a prayer of blessing of the Lord, of adoration of his holy will and of boundless confidence in his providence.

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English he said:]

As the celebration of Our Lord's birth draws near let us join with Mary in prayerful trust, ready to embrace God's will as a sign of hope for our world. During these last days of the holy season of Advent, I invoke upon you and your families God's abundant blessings of joy and peace.

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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.

Documentary; Impact on a Culture
[Source: The Houston Chronicle, December 8, 2005]

"Guadalupe, Mother of All Mexico", an award-winning hour-long documentary, explores the enduring impact of the Virgin Mary on Mexican culture. Houston filmmakers Partricia Lacy Collins and Robert S. Cozens will introduce the movie, which is narrated by actor Edward James Olmos. Here, pilgrims carrying the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe enter the Basilica of Guadalupe on her feast day.

2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Brown Auditorium Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. Free; 713-639-7515 or

Weeping or not, Mary is a Magnet
[Source: Sacramento Bee (California), December 6, 2005]

Whether a statue of the Virgin Mary is crying or not, there is no denying the star power of the Madonna.

The mother of Jesus Christ made the cover of Time magazine earlier this year. Month after month, crowds journey to places around the world where the virgin mother is believed to have appeared.

Over the next few days, Catholics will celebrate two feasts in her honor - the Immaculate Conception on Thursday and Our Lady of Guadalupe on Monday.

"There is a tremendous appeal to Mary, and it is growing," said the Rev. James Murphy, rector of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in downtown Sacramento, who noted that for centuries, great painters have made her a prominent subject.

In southeast Sacramento County, an outdoor statue of Mary has become the center of attention at the humble Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church on Jackson Road. Since late November, believers have come to view the statue, which has a red streak running from the corner of her left eye. A priest wiped the streak away Nov. 9, but when it reappeared Nov. 20, many viewed it as tears of blood being shed.

The "weeping Mary" has drawn crowds and national media attention.

No one has actually seen tears flowing. The Diocese of Sacramento has no current plans to investigate. Others consider it a common stain or possible hoax.

And still the people come.

They bring candles and flowers, bundled-up babies, and hearts filled with prayers and petitions.

"I believe it is a miracle," said Florence Champaco, a 56-year-old woman who lives in Elk Grove and is attending school to learn medical billing. She has visited nearly every day since she first heard about the statue on television, including last Thursday in the pouring rain.

"I just come to pray," Champaco said Monday, as she stood as close as she could to the fence line, about 10 feet from the statue.

According to author Joe Nickell, who wrote "Looking for a Miracle," the red streak is a hoax, but not without possible value. Such events often can draw believers and nonbelievers to the church.

"People are anxious to see something tangible," he said. "Rather than go to church and maybe hear a sermon, you could just go be near a miracle."

For Champaco, this was not the first time she'd sought a miracle. Fifteen years ago, she traveled to St. Dominic's Church in Colfax, about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, to view what she and many others believed was an image of Mary. The phenomenon later was determined by a physics professor to be a reflection of sunlight.

Over the years, such sightings have been reported hundreds of times throughout the world. Sometimes the locations have been predictable, such as in stained glass windows. Others have been bizarre, such as a Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich that sold for $28,000 a year ago on eBay.

Most, Murphy said, can be explained by natural causes.

"The authentic ones are rare," he said, mentioning reported appearances by Mary in Fatima, Portugal, and Lourdes, France. "The church is extremely careful."

In coming days, Catholics will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, another event considered authentic, Murphy said. The feast commemorates Mary's appearance to a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego in 1531. Her image is said to have appeared on his cloak.

From experts to plain folks, some have a believe-first mentality, while others are much harder to convince.

Thomas Haselrig, a cook at 21st Street Bar and Grill, wanted proof before he would drive miles to see a weeping statue.

"Has anybody gone up to touch the statue to see what it is?" Haselrig asked.

But Maryvic McCann, who attends St. Lawrence Catholic Church in North Highlands, was ready to believe, even before seeing for herself.

"If it's a hoax, I really feel sad, but right now, I believe it's true," she said.

Among experts, many are doubtful.

Nickell, a senior research fellow for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal in New York, called the event a "clumsy, obvious hoax."

He cited the fact that nobody has seen blood flowing, the presence of "tears" from only one eye, and the location of "tears" on the outside of the eye.

He took issue with the church for not acting quickly to test the substance.

"If a statue is a fraud or a hoax, or even just a mistake, it should be determined and that should be that," Nickell said. "If it's a fake, then it should be repudiated."

Murphy, however, said it is too early to do such tests. "For now we're simply going to wait."

Lorraine Warren, a Connecticut investigator of paranormal events for over 50 years, admitted to a believe-first approach.

"Until you can disprove it, look at it as real," Warren said. "Miraculous things do happen, but you have to be careful."

When told about the local statue, she asked careful questions. When did it start? Where was the statue? Who discovered it? How often does it cry?

She found it intriguing that the alleged appearance of tears came near the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"I hope and pray to God that this is a miraculous thing," said Warren, who with her husband formed the New England Society for Psychic Research.

The desire for miracles runs deep within people, said the Rev. Michael Russo, professor in the Department of Communications at Saint Mary's College in Moraga.

"I think there is an enormous desire for some connection with the world around them that the Creator exists and is good to them," Russo said.

Out on Jackson Road, as night fell Monday, dozens of candles formed a warm glow around the statue of Mary. It was cold and quiet.

And tears or no tears, the people kept coming.

Colombian Villagers Live at Foot of Danger
[Source: USA Today, December 6, 2005]

In the pre-dawn darkness, hundreds of people march and chant prayers to their local protector, the Virgin Mary of Rosario.

The reason for this procession, held daily for the past two weeks, looms above the village. At this hour, the Galeras volcano is a black silhouette. Aside from its rough outline, the only clue to the volcano's threatening presence is a whiff of sulfur in the air.

Government experts, including volcanologist Martha Calvache, say that after a year of increased activity, Colombia's most-active volcano is set to erupt. An explosion could come in weeks, or days. The government has demanded that the 9,000 people who live in the immediate danger zone evacuate. That includes the 4,500 people of Genoy, the largest town at the base of the volcano, which is about 300 miles southeast of the capital.

Recently, President Alvaro Uribe repeated his call for the villagers to move to temporary camps set up by the government. "We can't continue with this risk. We are working to evacuate definitively the 9,000 people who live there," he said as he stepped off his presidential plane at the start of a visit to the danger zone late last month.

Most of the people who live around the base of the volcano are ignoring the government's pleas to leave. Ever Rosbaldo, who is overseeing the evacuation for the local mayor's office, says that of the 716 families who live in and around Genoy, 200 families have left for the 10 camps the government has set up just outside the danger zone.

Villagers in Genoy say their devotion to the Virgin Mary and friendship with the volcano will keep them safe. "We are the guardians of the volcano. We know and understand him because our town has lived next to him for hundreds of years, and he's never done anything to us," says Henry Navarro, 24, a music student who is staying.

Calvache, a volcano expert who works for the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining, says the predicted eruption could destroy the entire village.

An explosion of noxious gases such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide from the steaming crater could suffocate villagers, Calvache warns. Pyroclastic flows--1,000-degree clouds of vapor and solids--could incinerate the area surrounding the base of the volcano, including the outskirts of Pasto, one of the largest cities in southern Colombia.

Though the villagers claim Galeras has never harmed Genoy, the volcano has killed before. In 1993, a mini-eruption sent burning rocks raining down on the slopes. Nine people, including six scientists who were hiking up the volcano, died.

"He can get angry with those who don't treat him with respect," says Teodolfo Yakamo, 74, a musician and village resident. "When our fathers took us there, they told us it was sacred ground and that we couldn't play or shout up there, but must be respectful."

The volcano has become the source of legends and myths. Generations of grandparents have told children of gold mines buried deep in the volcano and a race of people who live in the crater and play friendly games of bowling similar to the French boules with solitary farmers who happen to pass by--a tale eerily like American writer Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle, the story of a man who was lured by Catskills mountain men to drink, bowl and sleep for 20 years.

One legend, relayed by Don Daniel Enriques, 85, who is from the nearby village of Narino, has it that Galeras was once calmed for 15 years by the sacrifice of a young child. Genoy residents deny this.

Many villagers may be steadfast about staying, but they all got a rude wake-up call--literally--on Nov. 24. At 2:46 a.m., the volcano spewed ash for about an hour. The cloud deposited ash as it drifted as far as 30 miles away.

Jose Criollo, 66, says it was too close a call. The farmer, worried that gases would harm his children, moved his eight-member family to one of the government's camps. However, he has decided he would rather brave the volcano than live in discomfort in the camp.

"I'm going back to Genoy ... because it's uncomfortable living here," he says, pointing to his tent. It looks like it could accommodate four adults. "The government has been exaggerating the danger."

Local officials disagree. "I hope it doesn't come to this, but I think the government will have to forcibly evacuate the zone at some point," says Rosbaldo, the official from the mayor's office.

The villagers say they are prepared to stay and resist any forced evacuation. "Are the people prepared to fight? Well, the evacuation order came through a long time ago, and we're still here. So in one way, we're already fighting the government," says Rene Martinez, 21, a Genoy resident.

Behind Martinez in the village square, two local musicians--one of them is Yakamo--sing a song they have dedicated to Galeras. "Even if the volcano was all turned to flames, here we know that faith moves mountains," Yakamo sings.

In the background, the volcano puffs a thick column of white smoke into the clear blue sky.

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