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Mary, the Support of the Church


Jean-Claude Colin often spoke of Mary as the support of the Church at the beginning and at the end. This seems to be his way of referring to the inspiration Courveille experienced at Le Puy. Presented here is the dossier of texts gathered by J. Coste, S.M., in Acta Societatis Mariae, vol. 5, pp. 264-271. In several cases a wider context is offered than was needed for Coste’s purposes. These are marked with a (+) in the apparatus. At the end of the dossier is added a text of Fr. Peter Julian Eymard that also speaks of Mary as the support of the Church.

The support of the newborn Church and at the end of time

Text 18

February 6, 1872. Colin. Words of encouragement at the Chapter. [Coste text Q (+) = Minutes of the chapter = OM 846, 32]:

“See how the protection of the blessed Virgin on our behalf has been evident in these unhappy times. How many other societies have been put to the test and ours spared. This is a proof that we have nothing to fear for the future. It is true that the future does not belong to us. But, as the blessed Virgin supported the newborn Church, so she will be the support of the Church at the end of time. Let us cling to her spirit, and she will be with us always; let us hold her by the hand. To think as Mary, judge as Mary, act as Mary. By imitating the blessed Virgin, we imitate her Son, of whom she is the most perfect image. We are her beloved children. We want to be present to the Son through the Mother. The more wretched we are, the more we ought to have confidence.”

The support of the Church at all times

Text 19

February 8, 1846. Eymard. Extract from a letter to M. Frédéric Salvioni, professor at the major seminary of Milan. [Archivio Istituto Missioni Estere, t. 28, Corrispondenza, Religiosi, pp. 747-750, § 15f; for another extract from this letter, see OM 908]:

The blessed Virgin has been at all times the support and the protectress of the Church, but one might be tempted to say that perhaps never have her maternal feelings been more in favor of men than in the 19th century. What works of zeal and of salvation have appeared everywhere under her auspices! Not to mention many others, is it not a new proof of her tenderness, I dare say, toward the men of our unfortunate times that there appears in our days a society of Marist priests, that is, a society under the name of Mary, and of a third order of the same society that counts already more than 800 lay brothers who take vows approved by the bishops, have their own government, live in community and devote themselves, like the Brothers of Christian Schools, to the education of children, especially in rural parishes.
And there is also a Marist third order for people who live in the world, and this third order itself has been enriched with indulgences by the Sovereign Pontiff.

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