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Many gathered here at this symposium on the consecrated life are members of these Marian congregations founded in the nineteenth century and are now interested in reclaiming some of these insights into the qualities of the person of Mary as manifested in the charisms, traditions, and roots of their congregations. This recovery is motivated not only by the desire for a deeper personal understanding but also for making these insights available to a larger and contemporary audience. Sometimes the charisms of the past, expressed in what today may appear to be a limited context, are not understood.

The language of the nineteenth century may at times seem quaint, patronizing, and devoid of any social dimension. Sentiments, especially those that relate to the person of Mary, may appear limited. The challenge today is to insert these charisms into a larger biblical and theological context -- something that was not available to our spiritual ancestors.