Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brainard pays homage to Marian devotion sites By Lorenzo Paran III

Brainard pays homage to Marian devotion sites

By Lorenzo Paran III 

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, left, editor of “Magnificat: Mama Mary’s Pilgrim Sites,” and two of the book’s contributors—Philippine Expressions Bookshop owner Linda Nietes, middle, and Lucy Adao McGinley—show copies of the book on Sept. 9, 2012, at the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture in San Pedro, Calif.

Prolific writer and anthologist Cecilia Manguerra Brainard has released another book, and this time the subject is especially close to her heart.

“Magnificat: Mama Mary’s Pilgrim Sites,” edited by Brainard, gathers 24 essays by Filipino writers on the subject of Marian devotion sites.

“I’m a devotee to Our Lady and had been wanting to do a book as my gift to her,” Brainard said in 2011 while she was seeking essays for the collection.

“Magnificat” pays homage to Marian devotion sites around the world. Sites in the Philippines that are featured in the book include the Our Lady of Antipolo in Rizal and Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan. Also featured are the Our Lady of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Black Madonna in Poland, Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, and perhaps the most well known, Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
The essays include those by Philippine Daily Inquirer opinion columnist Ma. Ceres P. Doyo; Jaime C. Laya, former Philippine Minister of Education, Culture and Sports;  San Francisco State University professor Penelope V. Flores;and Filipino-American novelist Brian Ascalon Roley.

Brainard, who as writer and editor has now published 19 books, has previously touched on the subject of religion and her Christian faith.

“Finding God: True Stories of Spiritual Encounters,” which Brainard co-edited with Marily Y. Orosa and published in 2009, features Filipino writers describing life-changing experiences concerning their faith and spirituality.

“Out of Cebu,” Brainard’s collection of personal essays, published in 2012, also briefly touches on the figure of Mary.

Brainard, who lives in Santa Monica, Calif., launched “Magnificat” on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2012, during the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture in San Pedro, Calif.

The significance of the date will not be lost to Marian devotees. Sept. 8 is widely celebrated in the Catholic world as Mary’s birthday.

Philippine Expressions Bookshop hosted a book signing during the two-day festival, held at Point Fermin Park, that featured Brainard, children’s book author Leslie Ryan; muralist Eliseo Art Silva, author of “Filipinos of Greater Philadelphia”; Lucy Adao McGinley, whose essay is featured in “Magnificat”; Albert Mortiz, author of “Beyond San Andreas” and “Oblation: A Revelation of Cultural Awareness and Understanding and Adventures in European Travel”; and this writer.

Philippine Expressions Bookshop owner Linda Nietes also contributed to “Magnificat.”

Brainard’s other anthologies include “Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America,” “Journey of 100 Years: Reflections on the Centennial of Philippine Independence” (co-edited with Edmundo F. Litton), “Growing Up Filipino,” “Growing Up Filipino II” and “Behind the Walls: Life of Convent Girls” (co-edited with Marily Y. Orosa).

For more information on “Magnificat,” go to www.ceciliabrainard.com.
The book, published by Anvil, is available at Philippine Expressions Bookshop and at bookstores in the Philippines.

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