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In the News: Posted July 20, 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

Teresa Monaghen will participate in the National Convention held by the Pro Sanctity Movement from July 31, 2015 - August 2, 2015 at their Retreat Center in Elkhorn, Nebraska. Click here to see the program or here to register. The deadline for registration is July 24, 2015.
Mary in Books, Films, and Music

Resources to Help You Pray the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Praying the Rosary with Pope Francis; Rosary/Aid for the Church in Need; and A Rosary for Peace/Prayer Book.


From the Marian Treasure Chest

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M., sent us the article below published in Messenger of Mary Immaculate, July-August 2015, pages 6-7.

The Rose: A Marian Symbol

"Say it with flowers!" From the beginning, Christians often expressed their religious spirit and belief with flowers. The rose was a popular religious symbol from earliest times.

And in 2002 St. John Paul II renewed this interest with his Apostolic Letter, The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, and declared 2003 the Year of the Rosary.

Why did the rose become an important symbol through the Christian ages? Is there a biblical foundation? Although wild roses grew in Palestine at the time of Jesus, the rose is mentioned neither in the Hebrew Scriptures nor in the New Testament.

In Greco-Roman culture the rose represented beauty, the season of spring, and love. It also spoke of the fleetness of time, and therefore, inferred death and the next world. In Rome the feast called rosalia was a celebration of the dead.

In western Christian iconography, the first use of the rose appears in scenes representing the next world, paradise, together with the lily and other flowers. These flowers also became symbols of virtues and of categories of the elect; for example, the red rose for martyrs and the lily for virgins.

The rose as the queen of flowers was evidently a privileged symbol for Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth. The rose is a symbol of Christ, too, as we see in the German Christmas song from a poem by Goethe, Es ist ein' Ros'entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming).

The Marian symbolism is well illustrated by Dante in his description of paradise. His guide, Beatrice, invites him to contemplate among the heavenly inhabitants the beauty of Mary, the Mother of God: "Why are you so enamored of my face that you do not turn your gaze to the beautiful garden which blossoms under the radiance of Christ? There is the Rose in which the Divine Word became flesh; here are the lilies whose perfume guides you in the right ways." (Paradiso, 23 71-75)

But Dante uses also a more general symbolism of the rose, that of the universe (Paradiso, 31, 1-3), like the lotus in Asia. Indeed, with its multiple petals the rose is a beautiful image of our expanding cosmos.

Wonderful examples of this symbolism are found in the gothic cathedrals and their rose windows, the circular, stained glass windows that enhance the three entrances of these churches. These immense roses symbolize the world of salvation offered and revealed by God to our lost human race through the Old and New Testaments.

Christ is at the center of these rose windows, where He appears usually as judge or in the mystery of His Incarnation. In the later example, we see Mary presenting the Child Jesus. All around are figures and scenes of the Bible illustrating the history of our salvation. In this artistic creation the universal symbolism of the rose found one of its most exalted expressions.

The symbolism of the rose assumed a Marian association in a privileged manner through two themes: the rose garden and the devotion of the rosary.

During the Middle Ages, the theme of the rose garden developed from the symbolism of the rose in the literature of courtly love, using the rose as the symbol of the beloved lady.

Later the influence of the Song of Songs led to the rose symbolizing the mystical union between Christ and his Church, or between God and each member of His people. Because Mary was honored as the model of our union with God, the rose became a privileged symbol of the union between Christ and Mary. The Litany of Loreto includes the title, "Mystical Rose."

Mary holding a rose (and not a scepter) appears in the art of the thirteenth century. The theme of Mary in a rose garden or under a rose arbor or before a tapestry of roses inspired many artists of the Rhineland.

During the Renaissance, the rose garden theme came to represent human love and lovers. But at the same time the religious, Marian symbolism of the rose was popularized by the devotion of the rosary.

The structured prayer form of 150 Hail Marys was termed a "rosary." This expression came from the Latin rosarium or rosaries, a name given to works collecting the best of some teaching. For example, Arnold of Villanova wrote a Rosarius Philosophorum, explaining that it was a compendium, a thesaurus, a treasury of philosophy. Here the symbolism of the rosary ended in abstract use. In contrast, the rosary stands as a precious anthology of spirituality.

Our Lady of the Rosary is Our Lady of the roses, because the flowers are the symbols of greeting offered to the Mother of God. We greet her with spiritual flowers.

In a different perspective, Mary and the Child Jesus offer the rosary to their devotees. In his Feast of the Rosary (1506), Albrecht Dürer represents Jesus and Mary handing out crowns of roses.

The internationally-renowned Marian Library at the University of Dayton (the world's largest assemblage of Marian publications and materials), possesses a number of artistic portrayals of the rosary. Some contain a circle of fifteen medallions depicting the main events of the lives of Jesus and Mary, which constitute the rosary prayer. Ten roses representing the ten Hail Marys that accompany the contemplation of each mystery of the Christian faith separate each medallion from the others.

Another use of the rose as a spiritual symbol is emblematic. The rose became a moral emblem to illustrate various adages or maxims. For example, "Life is a rose. Its beauty fades rapidly." Or, "As the rose blossoms under the sun, I shall blossom under the eyes of God."

In another emblem, the rose of our life blossoms among the thorns: pain, hard work, wickedness, disappointment. But God brings good out of our miseries.

The late, revered Mariologist, Father Theodore A. Koehler, S.M., summarized the universal symbolism of the rose in Christian practice in this brief prayer:

May God look with favor upon our world, the rose he created, that it may more expand its petals and so glorify him, our Creator and Father, in imitation of the rose of Nazareth, Mary, the servant of the Lord.

Marian Events

The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary USA (ESBVM-USA) exists to advance the study of Mary, the Mother of Christ, in Christian biblical and spiritual perspectives, and in the light of such study, to promote ecumenical interchange and prayer. Its aim is to show that in Mary, Christians of many traditions may find a focus in their search for unity.

Their 2015 Weekend Conference theme is: The Virgin Mary in Christian Dialogue: Controversy, Convergence, and Vision. The mother of Jesus has stood at the heart of Christianity's most profound truths, passionate devotions, and fiery controversies. For centuries after the Protestant Reformation, the mere mention of Mary's name in certain contexts could ignite hot-tempered disagreements.

By the twentieth century, Christians began trying to repair divisions by coming together in formal dialogues. Marian topics were cautiously included in the later of these dialogues, and joint statements that described new appreciation for each other's Marian traditions--while still noting important areas of disagreement--were signed.

While great progress was made during these dialogues, very few people are aware of them and the way forward is not clear. The purpose of this conference is to continue the important work of Marian dialogues, assessing their relevance to contemporary religious thought and practice within the various Christian traditions and providing some discussion regarding future possibilities.

Join the ESBVM-USA for what promises to be a stimulating and enlightening weekend of conversation about the mother of our Lord!

The annual weekend conference of the ESBVM-USA will be held on the campus of Misericordia University in Dallas, PA, near Wilkes-Barre and Scranton from August 7-9, 2015. Click here for Directions to the campus from the university's website: or here for more information about the conference.


Mary in the Catholic Press

Pope Places Presidential Honors at Feet of Our Lady of Copacabana from Zenit (Rome) July 10, 2015

Earlier this morning, Pope Francis celebrated a private Mass at the residence of the Archbishop Emeritus of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.

According to the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father presented two decorative honors that were conferred onto him by Bolivian president Evo Morales, to a statue of the Our Lady of Copacabana, patroness of Bolivia.

The gifts, the Press Office stated, were presented by the Pope to the Blessed Mother "so that on looking at them she will take care of this beloved people with great maternal tenderness and protect them with Him."

Before placing the two honors on the statue, the Pope expressed his gratitude to the Bolivian people and their president, as well as explaining why he chose to leave them with Our Lady of Copacabana....

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.

Chapel Reopening (University of Dayton Magazine) Summer, 2015

The stained-glass windows in Immaculate Conception Chapel are again radiant as construction and renovation work wraps up this summer. A rosette window formerly hidden behind the organ in the choir loft can be seen from the inside for the first time, and new windows created in the style of the original stained-glass have been installed. The chapel is scheduled to be completed by the August 16 grand reopening....

Click here for more information.


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