One Body, Many Parts

By Olivia Gillingham, Library Specialist in the Marian Library

Photograph: Marian Library Summer Institute, 1966

There are many people and components to the Marian Library that allow its mission of making the Virgin Mary better known, loved and served to be possible. One of these is the International Marian Research Institute (IMRI), which shares space with the Marian Library on the seventh floor.

A year ago this month, the University of Dayton and Marianist community lost Rev. Francois Rossier, S.M., Executive Director of IMRI. During his time as director, Fr. Rossier was dedicated to spreading love and knowledge of Mary both worldwide and within the University. Some of his contributions included helping the Marian Library launch its All About Mary page and creating a Marian concentration for the master’s degree in theological studies along with a Marian studies certificate through collaboration with UD’s religious studies program.

Fr. Rossier’s work continued the mission of IMRI, which grew out of the Marian Library’s summer institutes. The summer institutes (first held in 1953) were annual conferences featuring well-known Mariologists and other speakers. In 1974, after Pope Paul VI wrote his apostolic letter Marialis cultus proposing a renewed approach to Marian devotion, Fr. Theodore Koehler, S.M., a French Marianist and director of the Marian Library at the time, developed the annual summer institutes at the Marian Library into a six-week program. He called the program the Marian Library Institute, and later it became known as the International Marian Research Institute.

In 1975, the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education issued a degree to temporarily join the IMRI faculty to the Pontifical Theological Faculty Marianum in Rome. In 1983, another decree from the Congregation incorporated the IMRI faculty into the Marianum, making possible the conferral of both the Licentiate and the Doctorate in Sacred Theology with specialization in Marian studies. Presently IMRI continues to offer its certificate as well as the Marian concentration in the University’s master’s degree program in Theological studies.

You can learn more about IMRI and its shared history with the Marian Library here, and check out our timeline to see how the Library has grown over 75 years!



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