TITLE: Seeing Mary: Belief, Politics, and Practice at Marian Apparition Sites
SPEAKER: Anne Pryor
EVENT DATE: 2008/06/03
RUNNING TIME: 64 minutes
What happens in a community after a Catholic claims to see and hear Mary, the Blessed Mother? Always a challenging situation, the claims are contested while individuals try to discern the credibility of the visionary and the apparition. Those who choose to believe develop devotional practices to honor Mary at the site made sacred through her visit. These devotions are both ancient and emergent, drawing on Catholic traditions while incorporating new technologies and contexts. This talk focuses on the politics and practice of apparitions in communities in the United States, ranging from the 1950s events in Necedah, Wisc., to the current ongoing apparition in Emmitsburg, Md. Looking at these examples provides insights into the beliefs that structure contemporary Marian devotion.
Speaker Biography: Anne Pryor has had a life-long fascination with Marian devotion, starting with sensuous Queen of the May crownings in her Catholic parish, when she was a child in New York. She has formalized this interest over the past twenty-five years through research as a cultural anthropologist, studying apparitions of Mary and multiple other forms of Marian devotion across the United States and in Mexico, Canada, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and other European sites. She is currently writing a novel about pilgrimage to a Marian apparition in Kentucky. Dr. Pryor works at the Wisconsin Arts Board where she specializes in folk arts education. She is a co-founder of Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture, project director of the award-winning websites Wisconsin Folks and Wisconsin Weather Stories, and co-editor of the award-winning curriculum Quilting Circles, Learning Communities.
SERIES: Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series