Monday November 13, 2017

Father René Laurentin and the Marian Library

By Kayla Harris, Librarian/Archivist

Father René Laurentin, noted theologian and former instructor for the International Marian Research Institute, passed away on September 10, 2017 at the age of 99. Fr. Laurentin was a prominent and influential figure in Mariology, and was well known for his investigations into purported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

A recent New York Times obituary discusses some of Fr. Laurentin’s numerous writings including 150 books, six volumes of which center around Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the most widely known apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The obituary features a photograph of Fr. Laurentin from the Marian Library’s Photograph Collection, a portion of which is digitized and available online. The collection features several other photos of Fr. Laurentin, including a particularly fun one of him skiing in the 1970’s.

In addition to videos, books (including translations in multiple languages), and pamphlets in the general collection, the Marian Library holds the Father René Laurentin Collection, 1948-2003. This archival collection contains published articles, manuscripts, lectures, and course materials primarily from classes Fr. Laurentin taught during Marian summer institutes and at the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton. More information about Fr. Laurentin’s personal history and achievements can be found in the biographical note in the finding aid.

Fr. Laurentin’s voice can be heard in recently digitized audio files from another archival collection at the Marian Library. The National Marian Charismatic Conference lectures contains cassette recordings from sessions presented at the National Marian Charismatic Conference held in Dayton, Ohio in 1979 and 1980. Fr. Laurentin spoke both years alongside other noted theologians of the era on the themes “The Church, the Charismatics, and Mary” and “Mary the Woman in the Church.” Contact Marian Library archivist Kayla Harris to learn more about accessing these recordings and other archival collections.

Father René Laurentin’s passing leaves a void in Catholic theology and Mariology but his legacy will live on through his numerous writings.

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