Monday, March 16, 2020

Aloy Polintan Reviews Magnificat: Mama Mary's Pilgrim Sites (edited by Cecilia Brainard)

Book Review by Aloy Polintan

Book: Magnificat: Mama Mary's Pilgrim Sites

Collected and Edited by Cecila Manguerra Brainard

Anvil, 2012, softcover, 168 pages, ISBN 9789712727115
Available in Amazon Kindle

This book collects 24 Marian devotees’ accounts of their experiences in Marian pilgrim sites. The sites are found in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, India, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United States, and there are eight Pilgrim sites in the Philippines. The book includes short write-ups of other international pilgrim sites and some Catholic Prayers. The book has an Imprimatur issued by Archbishop Tagle of Manila.

Flash Book Review No. 95 by Aloy Polintan (twitter: @PolintanAloy)
"And whatever form Mother Mary chooses to make herself known to me, be it as visible as an apparition or a subtle whisper, I knew I would receive her presence with wonder and gratitude."

This collection of personal essays on encounters with Mama Mary in Marian pilgrim sites around the world, culled and curated by critically acclaimed writer and editor Cecilia Brainard, brings us into a journey of bewilderment and adoration, having us amazed at how people of different ages, professions and cultures responded to the invitation to ask for Mary's intercession in their lives' aspirations and circumstances, as well as drawing us back and forth to recognizing how miracles attributed to Her can change our perspectives, and thus deepen our faith.

We are brought to various sites with one driving force: to make Mary known to us. And this book is special because Filipino writers based in the Philippines and those assigned to jobs abroad or those who chose to live permanently overseas come together for a purpose: to find a home, more so in these most unhomely of times.

"I have come to appreciate the resilience of immigrants who have come before me, undaunted by the challenges of a homeland, armed with little more than faith, yet secure in the knowledge that God would become manifest wherever their journeys end."

Each essay is laid out with nothing but the assurance that the Holy Spirit is at work in the writer's life and his or her writings. We get a glimpse of the contributors' private lives, particularly the periods in their earthly journeys when journeying of the spirit was much needed and have always been at hand. After the trial, there was triumph. After sharpenings, there was transformation. After sicknesses and deaths, there was hope energizing those left and bereft. And all of these testaments were rendered with ardor, research, gracefulness and conviction.

"The psychological change in me is not only spiritual, but also richly emotional, creative and transformative."

These days when hope for healing is bordering on paranoia and restlessness, may this book, published by Anvil in 2012, serve not just a pinch, but a grip to a path "worthy of belief".

Bio: Aloy Polintan is the Senior High School Department Coordinator at the Divina Pastora College in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines

More informaton about Magnificat: Mama Mary's Pilgrim Sites:

Contributors are: Lucy Adao McGinley, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Angelita Caluag Cruz, Maria Ciocon, Celeste, Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, Millicent Dypiangco, Ma. Milagros T. Dumdum, Penelope V. Flores, Almira Astudillo Gilles, Ma. Teresita Herrera-Tan, Fe Aida Lacsamana-Reyes, Jaime C. Laya, Guia Lim, Linda Nietes-Little, Ma. Teresa Z. Lopez, Aimee Gaboya Ortega Lucero, Lynley Salome R. Ocampo, Ma. Cristina Padilla-Sendin, Marsha C. Paras, Rev. Dr. Sebastian Periannan, Brian Ascalon Roley, Julia H. Wolski, and Linda Yamamoto.

Praise for Magnificat
“This is another outstanding book by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. Profoundly Marian and beautifully written by the contributors as these are their personal experiences! To our fellow devotees and would-be devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you will surely fall in love with Magnificat: Mama Mary’s Pilgrim Sites and love Our Blessed Mother even more.” (Bishop Leopoldo C. Jaucian, SVD, DD, Bishop of Bangued, Philippines)

“The devotion to Mama Mary is strong in the hearts of every Filipino.” (Father James B. Reuter, SJ)

“The Magnificat has always been a testament to God’s paradoxical dealings with his people. This book assembles a tableau of witnesses to how a fleeting visit with Mary can turn into a life-changing introduction to her Son. Through their stories the author offers their readers the distinct possibility of setting the stage for a personal, if vicarious, epiphany.” (Father Dionisio M. Miranda, SVD, President, University of San Carlos in Cebu)

“Running as a leitmotif in all the essays in this book is the writers’ palpable love for Mama Mary. Each writer has undergone a change in his or her life or outlook following a visit to a Marian site. Some may have experienced a “miracle,” or felt consoled and renewed; others a deepening of spirituality, or an epiphany, an insight into the divine. Although we know that Jesus is the only Way to the Father, it is our belief in the power of Mary’s intercession to her Son, borne out of the Bible’s Cana story, that makes us all turn to Her, whom Her divine Son will never refuse. Kudos to Cecilia Manguerra Brainard for putting together an engaging collection of stories that magnify the humble handmaid of the Lord.” (Erlinda E. Panlilio, Writer and Editor)

Tags: book review, Marian, Mama Mary, Catholic, religion, Christianity, anthology

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