Skip to main content


In the News: Posted April 28, 2015

By Michael Duricy

ML/IMRI Features

Marian Events

Mary in the Catholic Press

Mary in the Secular Press

Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute Features

Reader Comments

Great public service. The Marian insights of the presenters: incredible! Thank you Radio Maria, and IMRI.

Sincerely, Joe



Maria E. Garcia, will receive the diploma for her S.T.L. in Mariology at the Spring commencement to be held  Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the University of Dayton Arena. Faculty and Staff of ML/IMRI will join her at the Graduation Ceremony.

The University of Dayton will offer a free, live, Internet video feed of the 12:45 p.m. service to allow family and friends to participate, even if they cannot attend in person.  Please feel free to share this link with others:

Users will need to have Flash installed on their computers to watch the commencement ceremonies.  For a free download of Flash, go to

Please join us in congratulating Maria on this significant accomplishment, in thanking her for serving IMRI as a Graduate Assistant, and in wishing her success as she pursues the doctorate.

For the families of the graduates who may wish to visit, The Marian Library will be open Saturday afternoon, May 2, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm.


Mary in Books, Films, and Music

TV Series Faithfully Tells Story of Church's Beginnings

Easter Day saw the broadcast of a new twelve-part series on the American network, NBC, called A.D. The Bible Continues. For Catholics, the title could just as well be, A.D.- The Church is Founded. Based in the New Testament book, The Acts of the Apostles, the new television series is the brainchild of Catholic actress and producer, Roma Downey, and her husband, Mark Burnett.

"This production is for all Christians," she explained, "but we have worked with a Catholic publisher, Sophia Institute Press, to produce excellent Catholic study guides.”

We discussed how the series presents Mary, the mother of the Lord. Protestant film portrayals often neglect the important role of the Blessed Virgin. Downey assured me that Mary is portrayed at the foot of the cross as the Mother of Sorrows and is present at the center of the apostolic Church at the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholic doctrines are not explicit in the film, but they are portrayed accurately and visually as the kernel of the later doctrinal development.

Click here to see an informative article from Zenit, here to see a two-minute video clip with a character profile of Mary [played by Great Scacchi], and here to view episode four (43 minutes).


From the Marian Treasure Chest
Mary's Gold by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

While the Virgin Mary probably possessed no gold to smooth her life in the household of the Holy Family, she wears a crown of gold that circles the earth.  Flower gardens around the world blaze with golden blossoms that honor her. Every Marigold is s living memorial to her, a token of veneration and praise.

We have no certainty how this small golden flower was named for Mary. Perhaps some noble person found it growing in the garden of a Lady Chapel in the twelfth century, and was inspired to give it a new name. Or, missionaries to the Anglo-Saxons may have bestowed that title even earlier. Or, reverent Normans may have brought an Old French version of the name with them when they attacked Britain from the continent.

In any event, the name of this flower named for Mary was established early in the development of England as a nation, the England that came to be known as "Our Lady's Dowry." The early origin of the flower's title is indicated by the variety of ways in which it was spelled: Marygold, Marygowles, Marigolde, and much later Mary's gold. Slurred speech eventually shortened the name to a single word--Marigold.

In the late medieval period both the Dutch and Low German languages included equivalents of the English name: Marienbloemkijn in Dutch, and Marienblome in German.

Why this particular flower was selected to honor Our Lady is unknown. History does offer a few clues.  Perhaps the most important is that the plant called Marygold frequently appeared in bloom at Ladytide; that is, it bloomed during each of the festivals in honor of Mary. At that time the flower given her name was the most abundant source of golden blossoms. 

Later, botanists gave the plant the formal scientific name calendula oficinalis. This seemed logical since Marygold was in almost continuous bloom. It actually bore flowers on most or all of the calendulae, the first three days of the month. From a botanical viewpoint, it was considered "the calendar flower."

A native of the Mediterranean region, the plant reached Britain early in the Christian era. Angles and Saxons gave it guttural names which survived into modern times as "golds" and "rudds." But the flower came into prominence only after it was christened as a living memorial to Mary. Few plants have achieved greater esteem.

Flower petals, both fresh and dried, were used to give color and flavor to many types of soups and drinks. When Macualay wrote his famous History of England, he described typical rural activities of his countrymen in this way: "They brewed gooseberry wine, cured Marigolds, and made the crust for venison pastry."  This flower was so widely used as a condiment that is was known as the "herb-general of all pottage."

Shropshire housewives even made a special cheese from Marygold. Their base was colored curds of skim milk, about the consistency of cream cheese. Then they added petals of the flower for both color and flavor.

Medieval physicians listed the marigold as a medicinal plant. Boiled with sugar, it was used both internally and externally. A medical book dated 1578 declared, "The conserve that is made of the floures of Mary-goldes cureth the trembling of the harte." It was also recommended for sprains, wounds, and skin maladies. Even in the wars of the twentieth century, English soldiers were given medicinal oil extracted from modern varieties of the Marigold.

Some superstitions arose, but such practices were local and have long since faded into oblivion. 

Present-day scientists are still awed by the Marigold. Some botanists believe the flower holds the key to a few baffling problems of the plant world. People of science were interested in the golden flower centuries before it attracted the attention of western Christians. To a degree quite unique among medieval plants, Mary's gold exhibited a strange sensitivity to light from the sun. Every farmer and gardener knew the flower opened its half-shut eyes each morning about nine. For about six hours it slowly turned its head to follow the bright sun. About three in the afternoon it began folding its petals for another night of slumber.

Early observers had some interesting theories, but no systematic body of facts. Modern analysts have extended their knowledge of this phenomenon, but still stumble in a corridor enshrouded with mystery.

Today botanists refer to the Marigold's movement as phototropism (light-turning). Most, if not all, plants arrange their leaves, blossoms, and stems in response to light. Conspicuous movements by the Marigold and Sunflower simply dramatize a process taking place more slowly among practically all green-leaf organisms.

If the secret of the marigold could be unlocked, we would know how light energy stretching 93 million miles from the sun influences the movement of plants on earth.  But that riddle may not be solved in our lifetime.

Today few gardeners grow the exact plant to which earlier generations gave Mary's name. Related varieties discovered in the New World were brought to Europe in the sixteenth century. By 1542 it was recorded that only five American plants were established in Old World gardens. Four of these were vegetables. The fifth was the Marigold. Although it originated in Mexico, it reached England by two different paths--one passed through Africa and the other through France. Contemporary flower-lovers usually identify Marigolds into African and French varieties. 

No matter what its variety, the Marigold is rich in symbolism of Our Lady. The gold petals are likened to rays of light crowning her head, and the prodigal color related to the generous giving of herself to God's plan.

Sometimes described as "the flower of grief," the Marigold actually weeps on occasion. Droplets gather in the flower during the night, and drip off like tears when it opens in the morning. This characteristic moved Shakespeare to write in A Winter's Tale:

"The Marygold that goes to bed with the sun, And with him rises weeping."

Grief mixed with joy, poverty linked with abundance of good gifts--that is the Marigold's reflection of the Lady for whom it is named. If peoples and nations could achieve the spirit of Our Lady, whom this flower commemorates, all life would take on a new meaning and purpose. This ordinary and humble plant serves as a vivid and perennial challenge to new adventures of mind and spirit in fulfilling the Creator's design.

N.B. We recently posted material about the Marigold on the Facebook page for The Marian Library.


Marian Events

The MSA is a Catholic theological association dedicated to studying and making known the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the mystery of Christ and in the Church and in the history of salvation. Through its annual publication, Marian Studies, the Society seeks to promote original research in Marian doctrine and devotion.

The 2015 annual conference of the Mariological Society of America will be held at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory, North Carolina from May 19-22 on the theme: Mary and Holy Families Living Today. Attendance is open to all. One need not be a member of the MSA to attend. Click here to see the Conference Program or here to see the Registration Form.


Mary in the Catholic Press

Eucharistic Congress Planned for September in Knock, Ireland from Zenit (Dublin) April 3, 2015

A national Eucharistic Congress will be held in Knock, Ireland from September 26-27, 2015.

The Irish bishops' conference announced the congress as an opportunity to reflect on the fruits of the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, which was held in Dublin in 2012, and as a spiritual preparation for the next International Congress, scheduled to take place in Cebu, Philippines, in January 2016.  

The last National Eucharistic Congress in Ireland was celebrated at the Marian Shrine in Knock during June 2011 and it marked the one year countdown to the '50th International Congress 2012' in Dublin.

The story of the Knock shrine began on August 21, 1879, when Our Lady, Saint Joseph, and Saint John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. This miraculous apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old. Knock is an internationally-recognized Marian Shrine and was visited by Saint John Paul II as part of his 1979 papal pilgrimage to Ireland.

Click here to see the complete article from Zenit.


Mary in the Secular Press

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.

Mercy is the Great Marian Message for an Authentic Christian-Muslim Dialogue (La Stampa--Vatican Insider) April 10, 2015

Interview with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon and Primate of the Gauls

Eminence, you were the guest of honor at the Muslim-Christian Marian Celebration on 25 March, in Lebanon, on the Feast of the Annunciation. What do you retain in your heart from this rich and promising event, and why is Mary a bridge of fellowship with our Muslim brothers?

This truly is an exceptional encounter! For years, I heard about it; but I had the honor of being invited to participate in 2015 as a result of contacts made last year in Iraq and, especially, thanks to the twinning between Lyon and Mosul. We must first recall the context. Lebanon, which was war-torn for so long, remains at the heart of a region in a severely destabilized world. Now, this exemplary event of brotherhood and devotion in honor of the Virgin Mary takes place each year in the very land where Jesus walked. We were greatly surprised to see that, after just a few years, Lebanon decided to make March 25 a national holiday, precisely because of this gathering! I was able to measure how much the Muslims too are attached to Mary, perceiving her great sanctity and her unique position in the history of humanity. I appreciated the fact that there was no syncretism at this encounter. One could sense that all spoke out freely, expressing their prayers with confidence, without trying to erase the irreducible differences between the Christian faith and the Muslim faith. The alternation of speaking, songs, and sketches allowed the different expressions to voice the same attachment, a common admiration for the woman who gave us Jesus. On the following day, March 26, we were the guests of the Tripoli Mufti, who welcomed us with great delicacy. At the end of the meal, in a toast, he said, "I'll let my heart speak. I love you, my Christian brothers, I love you ... like the Virgin Mary loves you." You can imagine our embarrassment and our joy! ...

Click here to read the entire article.


Previous Post

Weekly Features: Week of April 27, 2015

Featured content for this week highlights the Easter Season, Serenity Pines Garden on the UD campus and much more. Marian commemoration days for the month of April are included.
Read More
Next Post

The Custom and Tradition of May Crowning

For many, the month of May brings to mind the beloved tradition of May Crowning.
Read More