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Record Type: Review   ID: 129

Encountering Mary: From La Salette to Medjugorje

Zimdars-Swartz, Sandra L.

 Much is written about Marian apparitions, but what Zimdars-Swartz has done is study the exceptional human experiences associated with the Virgin Mary in whatever form. Although some are apparitions, "the vast majority tell of less spectacular experiences, such as of the sun behaving strangely or of rosary beads changing color" (p. xiv). Her interest is in documenting "the process of transformation of these ordinary places into holy places, where many thousands...believe they have encountered the Virgin Mary and her healing graces and messages" (pp. xiii-xiv) and in the encounter, even if physical ailments may not be healed, they found "peace with themselves and their situation and...their suffering, if not physically alleviated, was at least being transformed into something meaningful" (p. xiii). The author is a scholar of religion, and she approached the phenomenology of these experiences from that viewpoint. However, she also points to the need for a multidisciplinary approach in which scholars trained in many disciplines as their special expertise to shed new light on these experiences. The book is in two parts, and she examines six sites of apparitions in considerable detail, three in each part. Part I is on Apparitions as Religious Experiences and in three chapters she considers LaSaletta, Lourdes, and Fatima; the second part, Apparitions as Religious Knowledge, in three chapters she examines La Saletta, Fatima, Garabandal, and Medjugorje. The final chapter presents "The Fundamentals of Modern Apparition Worldviews." Suggestions for further study and reading are given in an appendix.
Publisher Information:Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991. 342p. Bibl: 319-332; Chap. notes: 279-318; 8 illus; Index: 333-342
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