During my recuperation from a gall-bladder operation at St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1945, I began collecting titles of Our Lady. In 1950 I published a small pamphlet of 555 titles, which I had compiled from the Raccolta, a book listing prayers indulgenced by the Church. My pamphlet, Titles of Our Lady, had an Imprimatur from Archbishop Ritter, of St. Louis. I sent a few copies to Pope Pius XII, the reigning pontiff at that time, and received a cordial letter in reply. This was an incentive to enlarge the collection. Until recent years I discarded all titles without an Imprimatur. Since then I have included titles of Mary found in the Documents of Vatican II, and other sources from high ecclesiastical authority. (See references.)
The object of the collection is to make Mary better known and loved. Pope Pius X said: "Can anyone fail to see that there is no surer or more direct road than by Mary to unite all mankind in Christ, that we may be holy and immaculate in the sight of God?" (33-137). Mary is the chosen daughter of the Heavenly Father, mother of the Divine Son and spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is the Queen of Heaven according to the teaching of the Catholic Church. If God honored her so highly, we need not hesitate to honor her, provided we do not give her divine honor which belongs to God alone. From on the cross, Christ gave her to us as our Mother. She is able and ever ready to help us. Since this is approximately the two-thousandth anniversary of her birth (the exact date is debatable), it seems to be an appropriate time to publish this collection of her titles and praises.
The titles listed in this collection are not all of equal significance.. Of greatest importance are those from the Scriptures and the Liturgy of the Church. Many of the titles are found in the prayers and writings of canonized saints. Other titles come from shrines of the Blessed Virgin. Some of the shrines are sites of apparitions, such as Lourdes and Fatima. Other titles have been derived from devotional pamphlets and books. They express, in a variety of beautiful ways, the role of Mary in our salvation. Some of the titles are subject to misinterpretation. For example, the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of "Advocate," "Auxilatrix," and "Mediatrix". According to Vatican II, no creature is to be classed with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. "But just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways, both by sacred ministers and by the faithful, and as the same goodness of God is in reality communicated diversely to his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise among creatures to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing of this unique source." (87-82)
The titles are divided into categories, each indicating some particular role or attribute of Mary. If there are not many titles of one kind, they are listed under "Miscellaneous." An introduction precedes a few of the categories. Within each category the titles are arranged alphabetically, followed by their reference and page numbers. Several categories are divided into two alphabets. The first consists of titles whose first word corresponds with the key word of the category. The second alphabet contains all other titles in that category. A uniform system of capitalization and punctuation was adopted.
Each title has a reference number, followed by the page number. The reference numbers refer to the books and other references from which the titles were taken. A list of the references, with bibliographic information, can be found in the back of the book.
I am particularly indebted to my wife, Margaret, and my daughter Eileen, who spent countless hours editing, checking and proofreading, to make this collection suitable for publication. A thanks is also due my granddaughter, Catherine Smythe Silvey, for her professional advice on the layout of the book. To my nephews, William and Michael Conrad, experienced printers, who volunteered to print my collection of titles for publication, I owe special gratitude. Also the facilities of The Clarion Printing Company Inc. of Columbia, Illinois, owned and operated by the Conrad family, were generously placed at my disposal. To everyone who has contributed to the production of this book, as well as to all the family and friends who have contributed through the years by their interest, prayers and encouragement, I am sincerely grateful.
Florent E. Franke, M.D.
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