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Under Mary's Mantle, Our Lady's Love for Canada.

Rev. Emile-Marie Briere, Under Mary's Mantle, Our Lady's Love for Canada, Madonna House Publications (2888 Dafoe Road, Combermere, ON, K0J 1L0), $15.95 plus handling.

This book, launched by Madonna House to celebrate the Jubilee, proclaims Mary's love for Canada, and the Marian spirituality of those who founded the Church, built Catholic institutions and evangelized the people during the last three hundred years. It shows in detail how conquering the far-flung wilderness for Christ through love and service was a venture in faith under the inspiration of the Blessed Virgin.

This heroic achievement is due in large part to the many missionaries, explorers and workers who have consecrated their lives to God under the guidance of Mary. Devotion to her Immaculate Heart and trust in her motherly love inspired preachers, martyrs, mystics, educators and medical workers with enthusiastic zeal to penetrate the vast reaches of Canada and to develop in it a Christian civilization.

This is the theme of Father Briere's compelling book about the "deep Marian roots" of Canada and the Marian apostles who founded the Canadian Church.

The poetic and prophetic introduction by Richard J. Payne gives a vision of Canada as a land always cherished by Mary, and destined to play an important role in building a culture of life in the world. Father Briere gives flesh to this vision with the stories of many Canadian holy people who have explored the country and founded the Church in Canada "under Mary's mantle."

The book is divided into four sections. The first gives the background of Marian spirituality in the Church and shows how this gave inspiration and courage to the founding fathers and mothers of the new country. In this section a chapter on the theological importance of devotion expressed through pilgrimages to shrines, and another on the history of the Rosary, explain the significance of these forms of piety in the life of the Church.

The heart of the book, however, is the dazzling array of holy and heroic people who endured danger and hardship, loneliness and pain, to found and form the nation of Canada. The great variety of their gifts, and their works, span the history of Canada from the sixteenth century to modern times. Through the account of their works we are given an overview of this history as the work of the Blessed Virgin herself, who inspired our forerunners in the Faith with courageous zeal.

The concise, authentic biographies and stories of more than thirty-five "saints" and a list of eighteen others (and the list is not exhaustive) show the astounding faith of missionary workers, men and women from all classes, all striving to follow God's plan under Mary's guidance. Their witness to the love of Mary for Canada is overwhelming. The present generation are the beneficiaries of those heroic men and women who built the Canadian Church and country on a Marian foundation.

To mark the 'Jubilee of the Marian Age in Canada,' significant benchmarks of devotion to Mary are listed, showing a variety of officially approved events and the founding of publications and associations across the country during the last hundred years.

While devotion to Mary has fallen off in the recent past, Father Briere holds that a wave of Marian spirituality is flooding the world anew. "The questing Madonna" of the new era is calling her children back to her motherly arms. Devotion to Mary radiates out from Madonna House in Combermere, founded by Catherine Doherty, a great modern apostle of the laity. Under the aegis of Our Lady of Combermere, many "Madonna Houses" have been founded in Canada, from the Yukon to Toronto, from Edmonton to the Maritimes, and in many other parts of the world as well. Father Briere tells how joining Madonna House fulfilled his own mission to the laity and developed his devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Canada was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during the Marian Congress held in Ottawa in 1947. It is still an adolescent land struggling to be unified, to find its own identity and to develop a Christian culture, a culture of life. This book both tells how Canada was born and nurtured "under the mantle of Mary," and expresses faith that this loving Mother will never abandon her cherished land.

Lettie Morse is an author, one of the founders of the Christian Family Movement in Canada, a member of the Catholic Women's League and a former president of REAL Women of Canada.

Under Mary's Mantle may be ordered by phone 1-888-703-7110 toll free.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Morse, Lettie
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2000
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