Jean-Baptiste Armbruster, SM
Joseph Stefanelli, SM; and Joseph Roy, SM
A thorough investigation into Blessed Chaminade's devotion to Mary in his life and thought

by Jean-Baptiste Armbruster, SM
Translated by Joseph Roy, SM, and
Joseph Stefanelli, SM
45 pgs.

This publication, produced by the former Marianist Province of the Pacific, truly lives up to its name, as it provides a thorough investigation into Blessed Chaminade's devotion to Mary in his life and thought.

According to Father Jean-Baptiste Armbruster, SM, the work's author, "Chaminade's charism can be summed up in these words: a missionary spirit committed to the spread of the Christian faith; a filial love for Mary; and a resolve to progress in Christian perfection in order to establish in the Church and at its disposal a people of saints.

Armbruster's work explores this statement-–as it traces Chaminade's source of Mariology, both in terms of scholars who may have influenced the Founder and scriptural passages that were key to his thinking–-and examines our alliance with Mary in terms of being her children, following her son, and serving as her missionaries.

Devotion to Mary in Chaminade's Life and Thought was produced for the fiftieth anniversary of the Pacific Province.

Like François Sylvius, a Belgian theologian of the 17th century (1581-1649), and like Gregory XVI in his encyclical Mirari vos, Chaminade concludes his teaching with this simple exhortation: "Let us say to Mary: rejoice, O Virgin Mary, you alone have conquered all the heresies in the whole world, and pray to her so that, strengthened by her intercession, the believers might be found steadfast in faith."

A man of action, a Missionary Apostolic sent to service his faith in a Christian land, the Founder connects his thoughts in an irrefutable syllogism, "Now, in our own day, the great prevailing heresy is religious indifference." Here we are brought back to "our own day," to a religious analysis of our times, to the state of the faith, its precariousness as well as to its aspirations, in the times which are ours and in which we are engaged.

Let us pursue this further.

It is our firm belief that she will vanquish this heresy as she did all the others, for she is today as she always has been, the Incomparable Woman, that Promised Woman who is to crush the head of the serpent . . . To her, therefore, is reserved a great victory in our day, for to her belongs the glory of saving the faith from the shipwreck with which it is threatened among us.

Such is, then, the profound Marian conviction of the disciple of Chaminade. Thanks to this "in our day" which makes it apply to each epoch, this Chaminadean Marian charism achieves universality: it can be lived at all times and adapt itself to every place.

On the strength of this conviction, what do the disciples of Chaminade do? They hasten "to offer their feeble services, to labor under her orders, and to combat at her side." (MW 2, § 74) This is the inspiration of the vow of stability which Marianist men and women religious still make today.

"We are therefore in a particular manner the auxiliaries and the instruments of the Blessed Virgin in the great work of the reform of morals and in the preservation and the propagation of the faith, and thereby in the sanctification of our neighbor . . . happy to be able to spend in her service a life and a strength which are her due" (MW 2, § 75).


The Mary-Church Duality: Ecclesial Alliance with Mary

These last sentences of the Founder reveal the existence of a stable and permanent bond freely established between Mary and us, between us and Mary. This reciprocal bond results from the establishment of an alliance with Mary. Chaminade was aware of and extolled "consecration to Mary." But in the interior of his foundations there developed progressively the tradition of an alliance with Mary. This alliance is symbolized by the ring, which, from the beginning, all Marianist men and women religious have worn on their right hand.

1. Origins of a Marianist Marian Charism 
From the Son to the Mother, Per Filium ad Matrem
Sources of Chaminade's Mariology
A Call to Marian Holiness: Per Matrem ad Filium
2. "I Will Put Enmity between You and the Woman"
(Genesis 3:15) 
Charismatic Reading of Biblical Texts
The Woman of Calvary (John 19:25-27)
The Ecclesial Role of the "Incomparable Woman"
The Mary-Church Duality: Ecclesial Alliance with Mary
3. "The Virgin's Name was Mary (Luke 1:27) 
The Name of Mary
To Bear the Name of Mary
To Act in the Church in the Name of Mary
4. "Do Whatever He Tells You" (John 2:5) 
Mary, Disciple of Her Son Jesus
With Mary, To Become Disciples of Christ
To Act with Mary as Disciples: The Mission