IMF Students Develop Resources to Foster Holiness in a Marian Way

This semester (Fall 2023) the Institute for Ministry Formation students enrolled in Dr. Helene Paharik’s Ecclesiology and Mariology course were required to create resources for Spiritual Directors and formators which foster growth in holiness with Mary as their final project.

One student created a beautiful booklet that offers a “visio divino” of sacred images of the Blessed Mother. This resource includes scripture references, citations from the Catholic tradition, and reflection questions.

Another student project, “In Persona Maria: The Charism of Mary and Consecrated Virginity,” will be particularly useful for those accompanying consecrated virgins. The author cites Cardinal Cantalamessa’s reflection on virginity, “You do not choose celibacy or virginity to enter into the Kingdom, but because the Kingdom has entered into you…the Lord has taken possession of you, chosen you, and you feel the need to remain free to respond fully to that choice.”

Two projects focus on the cultivation of virtue in a Marian mode based upon the title of Mary as the Ladder of Heaven. Augustine, John Damascene, Ambrose Autpert, all refer to Mary as the ladder of heaven. The expression has various meanings. The first meaning describes a descending movement: Mary is called a ladder because she brought Jesus Christ into this world. The second understanding describes an ascending movement. Mary is called “ladder” because she is herself a model of spiritual ascent by degrees. These two resources demonstrate how one may grow in a virtuous life step by step with Mary. One student wrote his resource with men in mind, in a masculine mode of Marian devotion.