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Photo of an opened children’s book with an illuminated musical score of the hymn Ave Maria on the left page and a hand-painted illustration of the Blessed Virgin Mary being visited by the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation on the right page. Below the Annunciation image is the text from the first line of the Hail Mary prayer: “Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.”

Plan a Visit: ‘Mary in Catholic Education’

By Michelle Schweickart

The Marian Library’s upcoming exhibit Mary in Catholic Education will be open to visitors from March 4 through June 28 in the Marian Library Gallery on the seventh floor of Roesch Library. This exhibit is a collaborative effort between teacher education students from two sections of Jennifer Adams’ Foundations of Literacy Through Literature class and Marian Library faculty and staff. During class visits to the Marian Library, students explored literature through the lens of how Catholic ideals have been shared with different audiences and through various media—from Catholic comic books to an 18th-century primer and Marianist manga.    

Experiential Learning in the Marian Library

In the fall of 2023, Adams and her students visited the Marian Library to explore Marian-themed comic books, storybooks, a prayer book for girls, holy cards and a catechism book on Mary’s influence in the Church. Students worked in small groups to select materials related to their project topics and apply concepts of literacy to Catholic educational resources from a 1732 primer to a wooden rosary with nontoxic paint for young Catholics. Once they’d selected their materials, the students were asked to design displays and write interpretative text and object labels. The Mary in Catholic Education exhibit highlights the work of these students and their insights into Catholic education and religious literacy.

One student shared their thoughts on this unique learning experience: 

"The experience this semester of being able to have class visits in the library and studying all the different materials they had on Catholic culture has broadened my understanding of what it means to be literate."

Marian Library faculty and staff also curated a display case with materials from the Marian Library collections that exemplify Mary’s role in Catholic education and religious literacy — including Italian scrapbook pages from the 1950s to an 1829 Polish edition of a biblical history for children. The exhibit also features quotes from University of Dayton community members and invites visitors to share their own thoughts on Mary’s role in Catholic education.   

How to Go

To plan your visit, see Mary in Catholic Education

— Michelle Schweickart is a library specialist in the Marian Library. 

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