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‘Marian Studies’ Volume 67: Now Online and in Print

By Danielle Peters

Research presented at the 67th annual conference of the Mariological Society of America focused on the theme “Theological Foundations of Devotion to the Heart of Mary,” chosen in light of the centennial of Mary’s apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, where Our Lady called for the consecration to her Immaculate Heart. This research now appears in Volume 67 of Marian Studies, available for download free on eCommons, the University of Dayton’s institutional repository. A print version is also available for $15.

Message of Fatima

Several papers addressed the message of Fatima. Arthur B. Calkins offered a theological explanation on “Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” While this topic is barely considered in modern theology, it was a strong and recurring message of the apparitions at Fatima and the subsequent apparitions to Sister Lúcia. The speaker emphasized that in our day, too, the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is practiced in the Church, encouraged by mystics, and sanctioned by the Holy See. Dwight Campbell focused on “Theological Foundations for Eucharistic Reparation to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the Context of Messages Given to St. Margaret Mary and at Fatima.” His paper examined the teachings of Pope Pius XI and of Pope St. John Paul II, as well as the writings of more recent authors who have treated the topic of reparation to the Two Hearts.

Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Other speakers presented their research on the foundations of the devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Virginia Kimball investigated “The Heart of Mary in Light of a Biblical Anthropology of the Heart: Mother and Mystic.” Kimball emphasized that understanding the anthropology of Hebraic biblical culture provides a mystical depth to the Heart of Mary. James K. Hanna spoke on “The Patristic Pre-History of Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” While devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart emerged in the Middle Ages and flourished after the apparitions at Lourdes, Rue du Bac and Fatima, Hanna showed that its roots run deep in tradition and are evident in the writings of the church fathers as well as in the texts of ancient liturgies. Brother Lawrence Scrivani, S.M., presented “Understanding the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Context of the Two-Hearts Alliance.” This approach appears in trace form with the Latin fathers Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome. The devotional development in medieval spirituality and the theological development during the 16th century took explicit form only after the Fatima apparitions.

The French School of Spirituality figured importantly in promoting the devotion to the Heart of Mary. Robert Fastiggi spoke on the “Theological Foundations for Devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary according to St. John Eudes (1601-1680).” Eudes, a French priest and theologian, is best known for his work The Admirable Heart of the Most Sacred Mother of God, published shortly before his death in 1680. In this treatise, Eudes emphasized that Mary’s heart is so intimately united to Christ’s that they form one mystical heart. Deyanira Flores presented “By Mary’s Heart We Love the Heart of Jesus: The Teachings of St. Louis M. de Montfort on Mary’s Heart.” She elaborated de Montfort’s (1673-1716) rich and complete doctrine on Mary’s Heart — its relationship to Jesus’ mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption so relevant for our spiritual life even today. De Montfort famously asserted that the quickest and easiest way to the Heart of Jesus is total consecration to the Heart of Mary. 

In “To Know Salvation: Marian Consecration as Antidote to New Gnosticism,” Maura Hearden Fehlner observed that Catholics of the third millennium are surrounded by subtle new gnosticisms that challenge true Christian gnosis. Father Thomas A. Thompson, S.M., directed attention to “The Cordimarian Spirituality of St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) and the Claretians.” Proposing the Heart of Mary as the symbol of her love and dedication, the Claretians promoted devotion to her Heart in their publications and, after 1917, helped to inspire the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary requested at Fatima.

Devotion is alive and well

The talks presented at the conference showed that research on and devotion to the Heart of Mary is alive and well, and the “International Academic Marian Bibliography, 2015–2016,” prepared by Thompson, demonstrates the abundance of Marian materials available from scholars and academic societies.

— Danielle Peters is a member of the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary. She served as the MSA vice president (2014-16) and was confirmed in 2016  as the MSA president (2016-1). She earned her doctorate from the International Marian Research Institute in 2008. She has taught Mariology in several places and is a research fellow of the Institute for Church Life (University of Notre Dame) specializing in Mariology.

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