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In the News: March 21, 2016

By Michael Duricy


Read recent items about Mary in both Catholic and secular news. Also see International Marian Research Institute news and updates.

ML/IMRI Features

Marian Events

Mary in the Catholic Press

Mary in the Secular Press

Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute Features


Catherine O'Brien, Ph.D., Kingston University, London, author of The Celluloid Madonna: From Scripture to Screen presented The Virgin Mary on Screen: Mother and Disciple on Tuesday March 15, 2016, at the University of Notre Dame. This lecture is part of the academic course Know Your Catholic Faith: Mary in the Movies. Click here to view the entire 130 minute talk [which includes a number of film clips] on YouTube. Michael Duricy is scheduled to present Interpreting Marian Allusions in Film on April 19, 2016 at the same venue.


Mary in Media: Books, Films, Music, etc.

Marian Helper digital magazine

Check out the FREE digital edition of the latest issue of Marian Helper magazine. In the cover story, Father Joseph, MIC, invites all Marian Helpers to make a consecration to Divine Mercy on what will probably be the greatest moment of mercy in our lifetimes. Don't miss their "Year of Mercy Special Edition."


From the Marian Treasure Chest

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M., sent us the text immediately below.

Portrait of a Prayer by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

The Angelus is a prayer practice rich in doctrine and devotion. This prayer honors the Annunciation of the Lord and commemorates the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God becoming the Son of Mary for our salvation, the union of the divine nature with human nature. The Angelus takes its name from its first word in the Latin version of the prayer.

Praying the Angelus recalls the dialog between the Archangel Gabriel and Mary by reciting three versicles and responses with a Hail Mary after each set, another versicle and response, and then a concluding prayer. Traditionally, this was done while the local church bell tolled at 6 a.m., 12 p.m. (noon), and 6 p.m.  Older people will recall this experience.

The Angelus traces its beginnings to the thirteenth century. In that era, bells were often inscribed with the Angelic Salutation. Before the Second Vatican Council's liturgical renewal, the concluding prayer was the Postcommunion Prayer for Masses of Our Lady in Advent; but now it is the Opening Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

Although the origin of the Angelus is obscure, it is certain that the morning, midday, and evening practice of praying the Angelus did not develop simultaneously. By the sixteenth century, the various customs were unified. The morning prayer was recited to commemorate Christ's resurrection; at noon, Christ's passion; and in the evening, to recall the Incarnation, since St. Bonaventure taught that Gabriel's visit to Mary came at evening.

Since the fifteenth century to the present day, the Angelus prayer has been recommended by many popes. In our time, St. John XXIII began to recite the Angelus each Sunday at noon as a Christian family prayer with the pilgrims and Romans gathered below his residence window in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. Venerable Pope Paul VI expounded at some length on the value of the Angelus in the last section of his apostolic exhortation on proper devotion to Mary, Marialis Cultus (1974).

Even before I began school, I remember our parish church bell--St. James in San Francisco's Mission district--recalling the angel Gabriel's Annunciation to Mary of the Incarnation. In those years, unlike today, most parishes tolled the Angelus daily. Then, in the third grade, Sister M. Benvenuta, O.P., taught us to pray the Angelus. From that time I listened carefully to the ringing of the church bell for the Angelus--three tolls for each of the invocations and nine for the concluding prayer.

Later in my education, I was introduced to the renowned painting by Jean-François Millet entitled The Angelus. The famous painting depicts a young man and a young woman standing in a field. They are farmers. He holds his cap reverently as he stands with head bowed. She, in a white cap and long blue apron over her dress, clasps her hands as a prayerful look sets her face. They pause in prayer near the end of the workday.

At the woman's feet is a basket of potatoes, and at her far side rests a wheelbarrow full of empty sacks. At the side of the man is a pitchfork spiked upright in the ground. The breaking clouds are blushed with light as birds flit in the twilight. The viewer can almost hear the bells ringing from the spire of the church in the distant right of the painting.

The artist was born in 1814 in Grunchy, a hamlet ten miles west of Cherbourg in northwest France. This inland area off the rugged coast was countryside of undulating downs beyond the moors.

Jean-Louis, the painter's father, possessed real artistic talent, though all his life was spent tilling the fields. He loved music and directed the village choir; he studied the forms of trees and plants; he made clay models when time permitted.

Jean-François absorbed his father's appreciation for beauty and art. In his father he found an exemplar to emulate. Jean-François also was impressed by his parents' piety and devotion.

As a boy, Jean-François traced prints from the family Bible and then tried freehand. From the beginning, his parents and the parish priests recognized that he was extraordinary. The priests were careful to educate him the best they could in mythology, Greek, Latin, as well as in translation. He became familiar with the work of William Shakespeare, John Milton and Robert Burns. All this time Jean-François was at home working on the family farm. He became a man of culture with the heart of a peasant. Later, he declared of himself, "A peasant I was born and a peasant I will die."

His parents and the villagers commented favorably on his work. His father realized that he must go to Cherbourg to study art. It was at this point that Jean-François' lifelong work as an artist began. Later, in Paris, he fined-tuned his painting skills for twelve years.

Because he disliked Paris and city life, he was delighted to return to the country. Barbizon became his home until the time of his death in 1875.

It was in 1859 that Jean-François Millet painted The Angelus. Vivid were his memories of the Angelus bell ringing while peasants were still working at twilight. Often he had seen his father standing, bareheaded, cap in hand, and his mother, with bowed head and folded hands, at the sound of the evening Angelus bell.

Millet recorded that impression to show the quiet peace of twilight, the rosy glow of sunset engulfing the fields, the church bells filling the evening air and the devout attitude of the peasants. Surely he succeeded.

When his agent, Sensier, first saw the picture on Millet's easel, the painter turned to him and asked, "Well, what do you think of it?"

"It is the Angelus," replied Sensier.

"Yes," Millet said with satisfaction. "Can you hear the bells?"

Millet believed he had painted a great picture, but his genius was not recognized and acknowledged until after his death. In 1889, fourteen years after his death, Millet's painting, The Angelus, was put up for auction, after the person who had bought the painting from Millet had died.

Prior to the auction, the French government asked Antonin Proust, Director of Fine Arts, to buy the painting to keep it in France. Bidding was frantic in the crowded gallery the morning of the auction, mainly between Proust and two American dealers. When the sale was almost settled, two more Americans arrived and new bidding continued. Finally, Proust offered 533,000 francs, about $94,000.

A pause occurred in the bidding. Then the gavel fell, and The Angelus was declared the property of France. The people in attendance were elated.

However, the French government declined to ratify the purchase for so large a sum. The Angelus went to the next highest bidder, an American agent. Custom house officials made the duty exorbitant, almost $12,000. But they agreed to waive the claim on condition that the picture  remain only six month in America. Another Frenchman, M. Chauchard, bought the painting upon its return to France.

Eventually, The Angelus found its way into the Louvre Museum in Paris. Today, we can still enjoy Jean-François Millet's masterpiece in the Louvre. There the story of The Angelus by Millet concludes.


Marian Events

Holy Angels Parish and One More Soul invite you to a celebration of Jesus taking human nature in Mary's Womb. Mass for the Solemnity of the Annunciation will be held on Monday, April 4, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. with Father Greg Konerman serving as Celebrant and Homilist. There will be a special blessing for Mothers (and families) awaiting birth, and for families who have suffered the loss of a child. Following Mass there will be a presentation on Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin. Light refreshments will be served. Attendees may park in the Holy Angels parking lot or the P Lot at the University of Dayton. The address of the parish is 1322 Brown Street, Dayton, Ohio 45409. For more information call 937-626-0027 or email


Mary in the Catholic Press

The Home of Joseph, the Just One in Nazareth from Zenit March 18, 2016

One of the highlights of our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land was the time spent in Nazareth and the visit to the excavations under the convent of the Sisters of Nazareth. While Nazareth is well-known for the imposing Basilica of the Annunciation, built over the grotto of the Annunciation to Mary, and entrusted to the care of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, less known are the fascinating excavations under the convent of the Sisters of Nazareth just across the street from the Annunciation Basilica. The relatively unknown site of the Sisters of Nazareth has revealed a house dating to the first century and now thought to be the place where Jesus was brought up by Mary and Joseph. The house is partly made of mortar-and-stone walls, and was cut into a rocky hillside. These excavations are slowly coming to be recognized as the "House and Church of the Nutrition" (where the Holy Family settled and lived) and the nearby tomb of the Just One of Nazareth, St. Joseph....

Click here to read the complete article.


Mary in the Secular Press

The director and editors of All About Mary 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.

Film Review: Mary of Nazareth (Church Life blog) August 19, 2014

The recent film on the Blessed Virgin, Mary of Nazareth, directed by Giacomo Campiotti, chronicles the life of the Our Lady from the early childhood to the Resurrection of her Son, Jesus. It has received many endorsements and may well be counted among the classics.

In his remarks after viewing the movie, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI pointed out that "it is not easy to characterize the figure of any mother, because the riches of the maternal life are difficult to describe, but this is even more challenging when it comes to Mary of Nazareth, who is the mother of Jesus, the Son of God made man." Thus it is with Campiotti's production. Like most cinematic Marian narratives, this motion picture draws heavily from Holy Scripture, thus presenting, in Benedict XVI's words, a "respectful approach to the life of the Virgin Mary." In addition, numerous scenes stem from apocryphal sources, such as Mary's presentation in the temple, or from legends, as for example that Mary wove Jesus' seamless robe, which are not foreign to a Catholic audience. However, any screenwriter confronted with the challenge to fashion an original work of art needs to creatively balance the authentic historical sources with his own vision of the plot. This film on Our Lady is no exception....

Click here to read the complete article.

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