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Blueish toned background with the MSA shield on the right, which is light blue with a yellow cross in the center and contains and a white lily in the center of the cross and a gold crown in the upper left corner and a white banner below the shield that says "Mater Sapientiae;" On the far left is a monotone image of Diego Velazquez's "Immaculate Conception;" In the center is a the publication's cover.

‘Mary and the Sacraments of Initiation’

By Maureen Schlangen

In the latest issue of the journal Marian Studies, leading scholars explore the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the care, formation and spiritual nourishment of the faithful through Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.

Volume 68 — the proceedings of the 2017 annual meeting of the Mariological Society of America — collects the scholarly work presented on the meeting’s theme, “Mary and the Sacraments of Initiation.”

“As spiritual mother, Mary gives birth to Christians and nurtures them spiritually,” says Sister Danielle M. Peters, MSA’s president. “Her ongoing maternal role includes a formative and educational influence on every child of God. This formation aims at the fostering of the supernatural life and divine grace received with the sacraments but is not limited to it.”

Quoting Pope Paul VI in his 1967 apostolic exhortation Signum Magnum — “No human mother can limit her task solely to the procreation of new human beings; she must also undertake the task of nourishing them and educating them. So it is with the Blessed Virgin Mary” — Peters calls attention to Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, which asserts, “This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation … and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. … By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth … until they are led into the happiness of their true home.”

The articles in Volume 68 shed light on Mary’s role in the sacramental life of the Church and in each Christian — a theme that has received only marginal attention in recent theological, magisterial and pastoral documents, Peters says.

“To my knowledge, the 2017 and 2018 MSA meetings represent the first time that two academic conferences have investigated the Marian dimension of the sacraments,” she says. “It is hoped that the articles derived from these conferences will not only reap fruit for scholarly investigations, but also for pastoral applications.”

About ‘Marian Studies’

Marian Studies is an open-access journal available on eCommons, the University of Dayton’s institutional repository. Since the journal became available online in June 2014, its articles — dating back to 1950 — have been downloaded more than 300,000 times. To browse and download — or to order a printed issue of Volume 68 for $16 — see the journal website:

The journal’s editor is Robert Fastiggi, the Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair of Dogmatic Theology and Christology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. James Koelsch, a graduate of the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton with a doctorate in sacred theology, was the volume’s copy editor.

About the Mariological Society of America

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 meeting and in its publication, Marian Studies, the Society seeks to promote original research in Marian doctrine and devotion.

The Mariological Society of America was founded in October 1949. Since 1950, it has met annually in various cities throughout the United States. Since 1979, the office of the executive secretary of the MSA has been located at the Marian Library of the University of Dayton.

— Maureen Schlangen is e-scholarship and communications manager in the University Libraries.

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