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The 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.
Mary in Books, Films and Music
Brother John Samaha, S.M. sent us the following comments on an important recent text about the Virgin Mary.
The Pontifical International Marian Academy (PAMI) issued a foundational document on the mission of Mariology in the Jubilee Year 2000. Mother of the Lord: Memory, Presence, Hope is the English translation made by Father Thomas Thompson, S.M., Director of The Marian Library at the University of Dayton.
This excellent study and handbook about Marian doctrine and devotion was published in Italian, and later translated into French and English. It is addressed to students of Mariology, Marian and Mariological societies, to rectors of Marian shrines, and to all interested in the future of Marian study and devotion. This work presents a comprehensive overview of the challenges and questions facing Marian theological studies today, and is steeped in Scripture, the great teachers of the Church, texts of the liturgy, the ecumenical councils, and magisterial statements. Based on these sources, its purpose is to clarify controversy and point the direction to further development in knowing and appreciating Mary, and to cooperating with the Mother of the Lord and our Mother in the plan of salvation. This is a seminal work for all interested in Marian studies.
Radio Maria From The Marian Library
Francesca Franchina, MS. Ed., a long-time member of the Marianist Family, will be doing a series of Marian broadcasts through the local station for Radio Maria WHJM (FM 88.7) in Anna, Ohio. Called "Francesca and Friends: Why Mary?", the program airs every Wednesday from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM EST focusing on what is going on in the world about Mary, how to speak with others about Mary, and Mary in Scripture.
On Wednesday, February 27, 2008, Francesca Franchina discusses Marian Pilgrimages and Shrines of Argentina and the July 2008 Marian Symposium topics to be held at the University of Dayton with Father Francois Rossier, S.M. and Michelle Foley of the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
The broadcast may also be heard on-line at radiomaria.us [Click on the BVMary photo ... Scroll down to RADIO MARIA USA (English) ... Click on the windows icon or whichever media program you have on your PC.]. The web site also provides access to some previous broadcasts. We'll keep you informed about future programs. An encore of each show is broadcast Monday night from 8:30-9:30 pm EST one week after the original.
Her series, Through the Tummy to the Heart, airs every Tuesday except the first Tuesday from 5:00-5:45 PM on RADIO MARIA WHJM and also online. The series encores Saturdays from 3:00-3:45 pm. Tune in 88.7 FM (WHJM) in the northern Archdiocese of Cincinnati and on line at www.radiomaria.us from anywhere in the world. Send email to Francesca with questions, comments, suggestions at email@example.com. Send email while the programs are going on if you cannot get through or if you are listening outside of the USA. CALL IN TOLL FREE; PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM (during the live show); 1-866-333-6279.
On Tuesday, February 26, 2008, Francesca discusses prayers of reparation, holy hours, adoration and the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Belpasso in Catania, Sicily to Rosaria Toscano from 1986-1988. Francesca shares her favorite recipes for Italian meatless Lenten dishes: Baccala (cod fish stew; and fast, easy and delicious Pizza Fritte.
From the Marian Treasure Chest
Why Pray the Rosary? (by Brother John Samaha, S.M.)
More than a century ago a proud university student boarded a train in France and sat next to an older man who seemed to be a peasant of comfortable means. The brash student noticed the older gentleman was slipping beads through his fingers. He was praying the rosary.
"Sir, do you still believe in such outdated things?" the student inquired. "Yes, I do. Don't you?" the man responded. The student laughed and admitted, "I do not believe in such silly things. Take my advice. Throw the rosary out the window, and learn what science has to say about it."
"Science? I do not understand this science. Perhaps you can explain it to me," the old man said humbly, tears welling in his eyes.
The university student noticed that the aging gentleman was deeply moved. To avoid hurting further the older person's feelings, he said, "Please give me your address and I will send you some literature that will explain the matter to you." The old man fumbled in the inside pocket of his coat and pulled out his card. On reading the card, the student lowered his head in shame and was speechless. The card read: Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research, Paris. The deluded student had encountered his country's leading chemist and bacteriologist, and a scientist of worldwide renown.
When Words Become Pictures: Our Lady Calligraphed
The Marian Library gallery is showing the works of Dayton Artist, Ann Bain, from January 15 to March 30, 2008. Click here for virtual exhibit.
The Marian Library Gallery is located on the seventh floor of Roesch Library. Free and open to the public, hours are Mon-Fri, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm or by appointment. Call 937-229-4214 or 4254.
Koehler International Student Award
It is time for interested students to apply for the Koehler International Student Award. If you know international students at the University of Dayton who would be eligible, please encourage them to apply. The following description contains all the pertinent information.
International students (with non-immigrant visa)--undergraduate or graduate--are eligible for the Koehler Award. The award was established by Professor Susan L. Tsui (U. D. Library, now retired) with the Lackner Award funds presented to her in 1995 by the U. D. Marianists. The award is named in honor, now in memory, of Father Theodore A. Koehler, S.M., a native of Strasbourg, France, who directed The Marian Library from 1969 to 1986. He founded and directed The International Marian Research Institute (IMRI) there, 1974 to 1986, and was the Director-Emeritus of The Marian Library, an IMRI professor, and an active scholar until his death on May 15, 2001.
The Koehler Award, intended to help international students purchase textbooks, consists of $100.00 (or more) in textbook credits at the campus bookstore. The exact amount of the award and the number of individuals who receive the award each year varies, depending on the funds available. Criteria for winning this award include financial need, a good academic record, and personal characteristics which reflect the Marianist tradition.
Candidates must submit an application form by March 7, 2008, including a brief statement about themselves (their educational goals, extracurricular and service activities, their career plans). Applicants will also be responsible for obtaining a faculty recommendation. The application form is available online at library.udayton.edu/awards/koehler.
Questions? Contact Cecilia Mushenheim (Chairperson, Koehler International Student Award Committee) at The Marian Library (Roesch Library, Room 708, Phone: 94294).
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: lapagedemarie.org; lapaginademaria.org; marypage.org; themarypage.org; marypage.udayton.edu; campus.udayton.edu/mary; and themarypage.net. The original address on the University of Dayton site, www.udayton.edu/mary, remains active as well.
Two important Catholic websites have added The Mary Page to their list of Media Partners. CatholicWeb.com highlights items from The Mary Page in their section on Catholic News. Catholic.net includes a Mary Channel on their navbar with articles from The Mary Page. Please visit these sites in return. We expect continued collaboration with them in the future.
Radio Maria broadcasts from Milan Italy, heard in forty-nine countries; WHJM broadcasts out of Louisiana across USA, including FM 88.7, an affiliate station in Anna, Ohio (north of Dayton) which airs regular Marian talks from UD's Marian Library every Wednesday at 11:30 am EST.
International Marian Research Institute Course ScheduleIMRI courses for the Summer 2008 semester are scheduled to commence on June 16, 2008. The course schedule is available online.
We have posted Poetic Lenten Meditations for each day in the season written by Dr. Virginia M. Kimball as well as Poetry for the Lenten Season written by various authors. We have also posted the Summer 2008 course schedule for the International Marian Research Institute and our answer to a reader's question, Who is "Our Lady of the Fire?" and the Findings of the German Mariological Consortium on the Influence of Mary on John Paul II. We have also updated Who is "Our Lady of Regla"?," What is the latest news on Mary's House in Ephesus?, Is there an "Our Lady of America" in Ohio?, and The Hail Mary in various languages.
Cardinal Urges Cuban Youth to Pray Rosary
Pray the rosary with confidence and bring the love of Christ to people of Cuba, the Pope's secretary of state urged the youth of the island nation.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said this Saturday during the recitation of the rosary with youth gathered at the shrine of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre in Santiago de Cuba.
The Vatican representative is in Cuba until Tuesday to mark the tenth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to the island nation in 1988.
Speaking with the youth at the Marian shrine, the cardinal reflected on the rosary: "With the recitation of the rosary we learn from Mary how to contemplate the beauty of her Son's face and we experience the depth of his love. It is a recalling, a remembering, a salutary contemplation, a meditation and a supplication. It is a retracing of Jesus' life."
"The rosary, the best tradition of the art of prayer, is deeply rooted in life itself, in which it illuminates the mystery of the heart of man," said Cardinal Bertone. "In the recitation of the rosary there is a profound contemplative attitude of the mysteries of the life of the Lord, a slow meditation, while one says the prayers to Mary according to the best tradition of the art of prayer.
"It is particularly beneficial in a world sometimes dominated by hustle and bustle and by the proliferation of voices that distract us."
The cardinal then thanked the youth for their presence, "which speaks to us of a young country with a promising future. Show contemporary society that, as Pope John Paul II said, 'you can be modern and deeply faithful to Christ'."
He continued: "You are the heirs to the memory of the Christian communities who, through trials and difficulties, knew how to hand on their authentic faith in the course of history. Now it is up to you to be the present and the future of the Church of Cuba.
"You are the voice of those who do not have a voice. Today you are faced with new challenges, new and numerous problems, and new hopes too, above all in what regards the dignity and fundamental rights of the person."
"Cuban families, your families," urged Cardinal Bertone, "must be a powerful example in trials, and of joy and confidence in the future. Never forget the mission that the Lord has entrusted to you."
The cardinal added: "Take the rosary into your hands with confidence, rediscovering the face of Christ, and bringing his love and his Gospel into your daily life, in the university, in your workplace, in your circle and to your friends.
"Make the values of dialogue and reciprocal respect, of solidarity, of freedom and peace present with your witness. Promote hope and be ready to leave everything to follow Christ."
Cardinal Bertone, who arrived the day after Fidel Castro announced Tuesday he would step down as president, is set to meet Monday with Cuban officials in Havana, the day after Parliament announced Raul Castro as the new president of the nation.
The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
The bishop of Lourdes says the pilgrimage site in his diocese is like a promise that never betrays.
That's how Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes et Lourdes described the spot on February 10, eve of the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, during his homily at Mass celebrated in the grotto. "The apparitions in Lourdes," the bishop said, "like Lent, propose to us the same question, that of hope, to which our Pope has dedicated his second encyclical. In what do we place our hope? What are we ready to do to enter into the great hope?"
At the beginning of this jubilee year marking the 150th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions to Bernadette Soubirous, the prelate spoke with ZENIT about the current relevance of the message left by the "beautiful lady."
Q: In this year of special importance for your diocese, what message would you like to give to the faithful and pilgrims?
Bishop Perrier: If they come to Lourdes, they will be welcomed with warmth, and something very simple will be proposed to them: to follow the path of the jubilee, made up of four stages--the baptistery, where Bernadette was baptized; the ancient prison, which is a place typically evangelical; and naturally the sanctuaries; and the oratory where Bernadette received her First Communion.
Therefore, the message is to demonstrate that the phenomenon of the apparitions are framed within a Christian life, which is the Christian life of Bernadette and the Christian life of the parish of Lourdes. It is necessary to try to propose again the itinerary of a pilgrimage, which is a methodology currently in vogue, in the framework of an ordinary Christian life, in the Eucharist, even though today the number of priests has gone down a lot compared to other eras.
Those who come can trace this path. The message of Lourdes is not essentially in words, but rather in actions, words, gestures all taken together, to enter into the spirit of the apparitions, through this itinerary by means of the four points of the city and the sanctuaries.
And for all those who cannot come, there are ways to unite yourselves from afar. [The Website is in six languages, including English.] A retreat, or more precisely a novena, has been made, to associate oneself with the path of the jubilee, because for us, it is important that these people too can live the spirit of the jubilee, given that they don't have the possibility of being physically present, because of a lack of time or due to financial reasons.
Q: This jubilee year is an occasion to follow the footsteps of Bernadette Soubirous and rediscover the message the Virgin Mary gave us through her. Could you remind us of this message and tell us what is the current situation?
Bishop Perrier: There are various elements to the message. There is a strictly evangelical and constant aspect, which [is] that God chooses the humble and the little ones, because Bernadette was, moreover, uneducated. She was intelligent but she was not educated. She did not know how to read or write. She didn't go to catechesis and she belonged to a bankrupt family.
There is also the aspect of prayer: All of the episodes of the apparitions take place entirely in a climate of prayer. And there is, as well, the aspect of trust, that is, that the Virgin and Bernadette speak to each other, and sometimes don't even say anything. The encounter takes place in silence on eighteen occasions. There is, thus, this type of cooperation, of reciprocal familiarity between Bernadette and the Lady. And something of this remains. In Lourdes, people are not afraid. And that's why there are so many people. She presents herself as someone who can understand everything and can welcome everything.
And there's an aspect of penance that can't be forgotten. This aspect does not appear at the beginning nor at the end of the apparitions, but rather in the middle. Five of the apparitions are very focused on penance and during a time of penance is when the fountain is discovered, which today is very associated with Lourdes, because immediately Lourdes was spread around the world.
And then, there is the name. Finally the Virgin wanted to say her name. She ended saying "I am the Immaculate Conception." Thus, there is total purity, there is complete innocence, this perfect integrity of liberty.
As you can see, there are many aspects in this message. And precisely because there are a lot, everyone can find something. In any case, this is not a message that can be summarized only in the few words that have been repeated. The message includes as well the gestures, the attitudes, the time that has passed. All of this is the message. It is like in the Gospel: There are not just the words of the Gospel that Christ proclaimed; it is the whole of the life of Christ to which the Gospels bear witness.
Q: Compared to the past, what are the expectations of the faithful and the pilgrims who come to Lourdes?
Bishop Perrier: There are two answers to your question. The first is that no one can know precisely because the people who come here are not questioned. They are not pressed with questions; they aren't submitted to surveys. They don't have to fill out questionnaires. They are not told: If you want "x" or "y," stand in the line on the left; if you want "a" or "b," the line on the right. Each one is left a great spiritual liberty. Thus, from this point of view, we do not have an opinion survey. We don't have objectives like those who do marketing.
Regarding the motivations of the people, one could note a certain constancy, rather than a great renewal. Both theses could be maintained. I'm not so sure that the motivations of today are that different from those of a century ago, as could be thought. The world has changed, but I'm not sure that in the depths of his heart, man has changed in this regard, because in the end, it's notable that the same signs attract people: the rock, the grotto, the water, the light. One hundred and fifty years ago, it was like it is now. What that means is that all of this goes to the depths of the human being.
Q: The fact that the figure of the believer has changed today, that his way of acting has become an interior, more personal obligation--does that influence the behavior of the pilgrims or the faithful in their way of showing today their love for Lourdes?
Bishop Perrier: Pilgrimages in Christianity have never been obligatory so they are not despised by our generation as a duty. I think that they have always been the object of a truly volunteer spirit. So I think that corresponds very well with today: All of the pilgrimage spots, the sanctuaries, in all religions, get along well with current times.
This is both good and not so good. It's good because it allows this spiritual dimension of the human being to manifest itself, to not be totally repressed. The totalitarian regimes have always tried to impede pilgrimage spots. Under the Polish communist regime, it was impossible to find a sign showing the way to Czestochowa. Thus, it's true that this [dimension] exists, but it's not enough, because a Christian life cannot be built, not to mention a militant or committed life, only with the fact of going infrequently to a pilgrimage spot every few years. But it's better than nothing. Thus, pilgrimages and sanctuaries have a recognized place today in evangelization.
Q: For many years, a pilgrimage has been seen from the outside as a request for a miraculous cure. Is that still true?
Bishop Perrier: I don't think anyone comes for starters because of that. Certainly in the history of Lourdes, this has had an important place. But I think that today, healing is spoken of in all senses of the word. It can be the healing of a relationship, a more psychological healing, a physical healing, an interior healing. Then there's reconciliation. So it's something very open. The word healing now has a greater connotation, not just a physical sense.
Q: Last year, you saw a necessity to take a position on the question of the healings and miracles linked to Lourdes, defining new focuses, before the healings. Why did you see that as necessary?
Bishop Perrier: Because medicine has changed so much that applying traditional criteria has become very difficult. We have entered into an era of probabilities. They tell us that there are great probabilities that this person has had such-and-such disease and that effectively he had very little opportunity of being healed of it. But rarely will they tell us that it is absolutely, 100% certain that this person had such-and-such a disease and that it is absolutely certain that he would have died three days later.
The doctor of today talks of prognoses of life. Now then, the criteria normally oblige speaking in a formal and absolute way: "Yes, she had such-and-such sickness and it was totally incurable." Today, you don't talk like that. So, it's not that theology has changed, but rather that medicine has changed.
Q: Do you still receive a lot of petitions to recognize miraculous cures?
Bishop Perrier: Every year, about forty cases are presented to the medical offices, but it is known that this is a low percentage of those people who, in fact, have benefited from a cure, from a grace. Many people don't realize this process exists. And among those who know, many are not interested in presenting their case. To get into the process of recognizing [the cure] is a maze, so it's obvious people don't want to start it.
It has to be recognized that it's very complicated as a process. ... On the other hand, countless very old testimonies are received, of things that happened fifty years ago.
Lourdes has had a worldwide projection almost since the beginning. This continues, so we take advantage of the means offered today so that people can unite themselves to our thanksgiving.
European and American University Students to Meet Pope
On Saturday, March 1, to mark the Sixth European Day for Universities, the Holy Father will preside at a Marian prayer vigil in the Paul VI Hall. The theme of the vigil will be: "Europe and the Americas together to build a civilization of love."
The Day has been promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) and the vicariate of Rome's office for pastoral care in universities.
The university students gathered in the Paul VI Hall will be linked by satellite to other students in various European and American cities: Naples, Italy; Bucharest, Romania; Toledo, Spain; Avignon, France; Minsk, Belarus; Washington DC, U.S.A.; Mexico City, Mexico; Havana, Cuba, Aparecida, Brazil, and Loja, Ecuador.
At 5 p.m. the Holy Father will lead the praying of the Rosary, then address some words to the participants before distributing copies of his Encyclical Spe salvi to a number of student representatives.
Reporter Impressed by Lourdes Research
To mark the 150th anniversary of Mary's apparitions in Lourdes, renowned Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli interviewed Father René Laurentin, perhaps the foremost expert on Our Lady's appearances to Bernadette Soubirous. The book-interview resulting from Tornielli's dialogue with Father Laurentin is called "Lourdes, inchiesta sul mistero a 150 anni dalle apparizioni" (Lourdes: An Investigation of the Mystery 150 Years After the Apparitions), and is published in Italian by Ediciones ART.
In the volume, the French theologian recounts what happened in Lourdes between February and July, 1858, and the happenings that characterized the life of St. Bernadette, including her vocation to religious life, and the experience of suffering and illness that marked her even as a child. ZENIT spoke with Tornielli, who said he was impressed by Father Laurentin, "the priest who, on the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of the apparitions, now a half-century ago, on the request of the Bishop of Tarbes et Lourdes, Bishop Pierre-Marie Théas, searched for, analyzed and published all the available documents about the happenings of 1858."
According to Tornielli, Father Laurentin "has been the protagonist in an unprecedented investigation. Because of this, his person, and above all, his writings will remain an irreplaceable point of reference for anyone who wants to approach the mystery of Lourdes."
Il Giornale's Vatican reporter also said he was impressed by the amount of criticism against St. Bernadette in an attempt to deny the "Lourdes phenomenon." Tornielli explained to ZENIT that "if was not easy for Lourdes to affirm itself in nineteenth-century France, homeland of anticlericalism. From the beginning, the apparitions were at the center of attacks, criticism and attempts to disprove them."
In the book, Father Laurentin tells how, after the first apparitions, there were those who said the "beautiful lady" who Bernadette saw was in reality the attractive spouse of the local pharmacist who had a clandestine meeting in the grotto with an official of the cavalry. The lady, the report claimed, pretended to be the Virgin to confuse the girl who had caught her in adultery. The woman, who according to the tale had chosen a dirty and cold grotto for her meeting that February 11, was in reality at home in bed, because she had just two days before given birth to her fifth child. She would herself deny the allegations and denounced those who had slandered her reputation.
Tornielli notes how even the well-known author Émile Zola tried to portray "poor Bernadette as a miserable victim of hysterics and malnutrition." Zola, who arrived in Lourdes in 1892, was present at two instantaneous cures, which he relates in his novel Lourdes, nevertheless claiming that the "two people who experienced the miracle died shortly thereafter, and thus the supposed cure had been brief and above all illusory."
"Unfortunately," Tornielli related, "one of the cured women did not give up and continued protesting in the newspapers, saying that she was just as alive and healthy as the author. In the effort to discredit Lourdes, Zola went to the extent of going to see her to offer her money in exchange for her silence. Miserable stories, over which history, the truth, has triumphed."
The director and editors of The 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.
Vatican toughens rules on sainthood
The Vatican on Monday issued new guidelines aimed at making it more difficult to become a saint.
The tougher standards follow the papacy of the late John Paul II, who set a record pace in nominating candidates for sainthood.
Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said in a news conference that local bishops who investigate potential saints must work with "greater sobriety and rigor" to build a candidate's case.
He said there was "confusion" at the local level of dioceses, where the cause for sainthood begins.
John Paul named more saints than all his predecessors combined since current procedures were instituted in the 1500s, and critics contend that the bumper crop tended to cheapen the process. In twenty-seven years as pope, he canonized nearly five-hundred saints and beatified 1,338 people. Beatification is the last step before canonization.
Pope Benedict XVI has not exactly slowed down, either.
"The causes for beatification have not decreased. Indeed, they have increased," Martins said, adding that Benedict possessed "great sensitivity to the holiness of the church."
The new guidelines also emphasize respect for the five-year waiting period after the death of a candidate before his or her "cause" can be initiated. The rule can be bent only by a pope: John Paul did it for Mother Teresa, and Benedict accelerated the process for John Paul and, last week, for Sister Lucia Marto, the last of three shepherd children who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.
Although the sainthood campaign for John Paul has been strong, Martins said it would not be speeded up further. "He will certainly not be beatified on April 2, the third anniversary of his death," the cardinal said.
As for other famous cases, Martins said the beatification of Archbishop of San Salvador Oscar Romero, shot to death in 1980 as he said Mass, was pending, but the cause for Pope Pius XII, the controversial World War II pope, was proceeding. Pius has been criticized in some quarters for failing to speak out sufficiently against the Holocaust, but Martins said the pope was "prudent" in his quiet diplomacy.
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!
Marian Commemoration Days
To celebrate the month of February with Mary:
The 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.
International Mariological Congress
Lourdes, September 4-8, 2008
The program is organized by the Pontifical International Marian Academy (PAMI) and can be found at accademiamariana.org/congresso.
In addition to the plenary sessions (given on the PAMI website), there are three times for the presentations in the different language sections:
Those wishing to make a presentation at the English-language section should send the title plus a synopsis of the address to Father Thomas A. Thompson, S.M., (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 15, 2008.
The Mary Page web site is updated frequently. Please stop in again and see What's New.