News from the
Marian Library
Mary in the Catholic Press Mary in the
Secular Press


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.


  News from the Marian Library

Mary in Books, Films and Music

Marian Content in New Opera

Jonathan Harvey, who has contributed material on Mary and Media in the past, informed us of Marian content in a recent opera. Here are the details he provided:

The new Russian opera of Lolita has three passages in which a boy's chorus breaks in to a Santa Maria. The exact context is not entirely clear to me. In the original novel, there is a brief suggestion that Lolita is a Christ figure (she is briefly described as standing in a 'crucified' posture). Her real name is Dolores. Nabokov has described her as being simultaneously pawn and queen.

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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 stations for Radio Maria WHJM (FM 88.7) in Anna, Ohio and WULM (AM 1600) in Springfield, 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, July 2, 2008, Francesca Franchina speaks with Donna Folsas about Saint Philomena and her confraternities promoting purity of heart in body, mind and soul. To participate in the program call in (during the live show) with comments, experiences, questions 866-333-6279. Toll Free.

The broadcast may also be heard on-line at [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 from anywhere in the world. Send email to Francesca with questions, comments, suggestions at 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.

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Alumni Update

Alejandro Caadas, an IMRI student, visited The Marian Library with his family on June 27, 2008.  He plans to provide us with additional material for La Pagina Maria, the Spanish-language section of The Mary Page.

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From the Marian Treasure Chest

The "Hail Mary" (by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.)

Even those who are not avid football fans know the term "Hail Mary pass" used by sports announcers to describe a desperation throw by a quarterback hoping for a score.  Even though this play has a very low rate of completion, practically every playbook from professional to amateur levels includes such a play.  From football the term has passed to other sports and areas of life to describe an act that almost requires divine intervention to succeed.

The term "Hail Mary pass" was coined by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, a Hall of Famer and a Catholic.  After his game-winning, last-minute touchdown pass in a December 1975 game, he explained what happened to reporters.  He threw the ball as hard as he could to receiver Drew Pearson downfield, then prayed a Hail Mary.  Pearson caught the desperate pass and ran into the end zone for a touchdown.

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Current Exhibit

The Art of Illustration

The Marian Library gallery will show works of Anne Simoneau from July 1 through September 5, 2008. The Marian Library will arrange the exhibit as a series of clusters, including Mary; the brown scapular, or the brown cloth made famous by Our Lady of Mount Carmel; the Eucharist; Jesus and the saints; and children and families at prayer. For more information, click, into the June 26 article from UD's Campus News Digest.  Click here for virtual exhibit.

Visit also our year-long Crche exhibit featuring paper nativities of Bill and Annie Baker and works of Malaika Favorite.

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.

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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 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) and AM 1600, an affiliate in Springfield, Ohio, which air regular Marian talks from UD's Marian Library every Wednesday at 11:30 am EST.]

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Summer 2008 semester commenced on June 16, 2008.  The course schedule is available online.

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In relation to the season, we encourage you to review Summer Time with Mary, and Mary in the Life of the Parish Symposium.  Also, we have updated  Korean-language News through June 30, 2008 and posted a new reader question: What can you say about "Our Lady of Gentle Love"?

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Mother's Heart Helped Tell Mary's Story, Says Author
Scriptwriter Talks of Challenges Behind Vatican-sponsored Musical
Source: Zenit (Rome), June 11, 2008

Putting words in the mouth of the Virgin Mary and having them sponsored by the Vatican is no easy task, but scriptwriter Maria Pia Liotta says that reflecting on her own motherly heart made it easier.

Liotta is the co-author (with Adele Dorothy Ciampa) of a musical about the Virgin Mary and her ongoing role in history, which has gained the sponsorship of various Vatican officials and organizations.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, and the Pontifical Councils of Culture and Social Communications are sponsoring Mary of Nazareth: A Story That Continues. The work will premiere Tuesday in Paul VI Hall.

Liotta's daughter, soprano Alma Manera, plays the lead role as Mary.

"The topic is very difficult and very delicate," Liotta acknowledged to ZENIT. "Believe me, it was an inspiration from the start. [] Nevertheless, to put words on Mary's lips was very natural, because I tried to look into my interior self as mother; many times I tried to reflect on how a mother would react or act in face of specific situations and events. I think that, in the end, when one makes use of a mother's heart, everything becomes much simpler."

And Manera said that she took the role of starring in her mother's musical with "responsibility, happiness and joy."

"The fact of being able to share with the most important person in one's life such a unique experience--of which she is author--is a most beautiful expression that brings the Lord close," Manera said. "We are instruments in his hands."

More eloquent than words

Liotta acknowledged that certain moments in Mary's life were particularly difficult to portray. The Annunciation, she said, was the hardest.

Yet, the writer stated that she is "in love with every instant, with every second of this script and, consequently, with its realization, because it is something that I have experienced very profoundly."

She explained, "Often words were not necessary, because Mary doesn't need words; she has her gestures and physical expression, which are serene but quick, which are more eloquent than a word."

Still though, Liotta continued, "How can one recount the Annunciation? It is a great challenge, as are many other moments. So I tried to avoid many words and to concentrate especially on the language of gestures and of music."

And Manera tried to prepare herself well to represent Jesus' Mother.

"I have always had devotion to Mary," she admitted. "The preparation is absolutely simple, natural. There is a profound search with no desire to add anything more; therefore, without exaggerations, exaltations, emphasis. Everything is draped with sobriety."

But there are challenges, the singer-actress admitted: "The emotions are transversal and very many. Everything is pure, it is poetry written in the gestures through the choreography, written in the words and in the music. Simply stated, one must follow a profound intuition, an inspiration."

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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 Plea to Uncover Our Lady from Censors
Source: Daily Mail (London), June 24, 2008

Catholic artists should be encouraged to depict the Virgin Mary partially nude, according to the Vatican s official newspaper.

L Osservatore Romano yesterday declared it is time to undo four centuries of prudishness of previously traditional representations of the Madonna as an earthy mother breastfeeding her new-born son.

The latest edition ran two articles by respected art critics who said that for nearly 1,500 years, Our Lady was portrayed partly-clothed and shamelessly nursing the Christ child.

One blamed Protestant prudery for changing the trends in religious art that led to the Virgin being covered up and left critics wondering if the infant Jesus was bottle-fed instead.

Such currents were so strong that even the nudes in Michelangelo s Sistine Chapel were covered up for fear of giving offence, and today the best places to see pictures of Mary nursing Jesus are not churches but major art galleries housing Renaissance paintings.

Commentators see the move as an attempt to reverse the course of history.

The hugely influential newspaper which is often seen as the mouthpiece of the Pope has called for the artistic and spiritual rehabilitation of loving and tender images of Mary breastfeeding.

The intervention could inspire a revival in sacred art that would spell an end to four-hundred years of dressing up the Virgin to make her look respectable.

One article, written by Italian Church historian Lucetta Scaraffia, claimed a vast iconography of traditional Christian art had been censored by the modern age because images depicting Our Lady s naked breast for her child were deemed unseemly.

It said that artists later depicted the nursing Mary fully clothed because the Protestant reformers were generally critical of the carnality and unbecoming nature of many sacred images.

But Miss Scaraffia argued that later depictions had diminished the Madonna's human side.

She said that when the early Christian artists represented the Virgin breastfeeding, they had sought to reveal the reality of God's incarnation, and that Mary nursing her child is an image so concrete and loving it recalls her giving herself as completely to her son as he gave himself completely for others with his death and Resurrection.

Jesus was a baby like all others, Miss Scaraffia added. His divinity does not exclude his humanity.

A second piece, written by Fr Enrico dal Covolo, a professor of classic and Christian literature in Rome, said: The Virgin Mary who nurses her son Jesus is one of the most eloquent signs that the word of God truly and undoubtedly became flesh.

The articles coincided with the release of a two-volume work documenting the variety in iconography and history of Mary. Called The Sword And Milk, by Tommaso Claudio Mineo, this was presented to the public at a Vatican-sponsored event last week shortly after its publication.

Images of a semi-nude Mary breastfeeding can be traced back to early Christian times. But they came to an abrupt end around the sixteenth or seventeenth century with the emergence of Calvinism and other hardline Protestant faiths that viewed representations of sexuality as essentially sinful.

Though such ideas were resisted by Rome, they were accepted by Catholics particularly in Ireland, France and northern Europe.

The result is that very few, if any, Catholic churches or newspapers will dare to show such imagery even today.

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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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Liturgical Season

Marian Commemoration Days

To celebrate the month of July 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 July.

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Marian Events

Symposium Sponsored by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute

Title: Mary in the Life of the Parish

Date: July 21-23, 2008

A compelling Symposium for Priests and Pastoral Ministers will be held at The University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio (overnight accommodations on campus).  Topics will include Catechesis, Liturgy, Outreach, Shrines, Apparitions, and Devotions. The program will include a concert of contemporary and traditional music, a banquet, and fellowship with parishes from across the Midwest.

For more information please email Father Francois Rossier, S.M. at or phone him or Michelle Foley at 937-229-4214 or click here.

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The Mary Page web site is updated frequently. Please stop in again and see What's New.

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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 Monday, 06/30/2008 14:09:22 EDT by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to

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