Danielle Peters

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It is commonly accepted that devotio, as an act of virtue of religion and distinguished from devotional practices, implies a stable interior disposition and readiness to serve God joyfully and generously. Accordingly, authentic Marian devotion equips heart, mind and will to be receptive for a deeper understanding and fulfillment of God’s ways in imitation and through the intercession of Our Lady. Marialis Cultus, 34, denotes that “Devotion to the Blessed Virgin must also pay close attention to certain findings of the human sciences.”

Forty years after Marialis Cultus (MC) and twenty-five years after St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (MD)—on the dignity and vocation of women, this paper seeks to explore the anthropological dimension of Marian devotion (MC 29, 36, 37) in view and support of the formation of the “feminine genius” (MD 9, 10, 11). For this purpose we will—as our foundation—present the anthropological teaching of Vatican II. Next we will highlight how these anthropological concepts are exemplified in the Blessed Virgin Mary. Beginning with MC we will survey texts from the pontificates of Paul VI and of his successor John Paul II. The latter’s teaching in particular has shed light on the anthropological dimension of Marian devotion. During the Marian Year 1987/88, he gifted the Church with the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Mater (RM) in which he proposed anthropological aspects of Mary’s journey of faith as these relate to that of each Christian. At the closing of the same year, John Paul II found it opportune to meditate on the dignity and vocation of woman by emphasizing that Mary’s person and mission bear special significance for the feminine genius (MD 31) for which she is archetype. It is this feminine genius which will occupy us for the rest of the paper.


Copyright © 2014, Mariological Society of America



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