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The Marian Spirituality of the Medieval Religious Orders: Devotion to Mary Among the Dominicans in the Thirteenth Century

– Father Denis Vincent Wiseman, O.P.

Published in Marian Studies, Volume 52 (2002) 

This paper explores the relationship between Mary and the Dominican Order in the thirteenth century. This period is especially poignant not only because the attitudes and practices that developed in this period have been foundational for what has followed, but also because we Dominicans possess a rich collection of early writings, some of which we call our folklore, the stories of Dominic and the early friars and nuns. I will situate the Dominican devotion to Mary within the original purpose of the Order itself and trace the manifestations of this devotion as found in the actual practices of the friars, by examining the underlying Marian beliefs present in the first accounts, in the early art sponsored by the Order, as well as in the early Dominican theological reflections on Mary. Such practices and beliefs laid the foundation for the Dominican propagation of Marian devotions in the form of lay confraternities. I hope that these details—interesting to me as a member of the Order—will not prove as tedious as the slides or videos of someone else’s family.

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