A Bit of History


Marian (Cordimarian) consecration & personal devotion, often internalized on a deep emotional level, is the force and impulse for missionary activity, especially for the popular missions. No profound theology.


            Cordimarian aspect of personal & community devotion and apostolate were expanded and made much more explicit and central, both on theoretical and practical ‘levels’. Sometimes described as Cordimarian “maximalism”.

a) “Universalist” theory of Claretian identity:

  • GENUS: save all people of whole world by all possible means.
  • SPECIES: As consecrated Sons of Heart of Mary, .in all our ministry spread the devotion to Mary under the explicit title of immaculate Heart of Mary. (cf. Circular letter of Fr. Nicholas García, sup. gen.)

b) Practical consequences:

  • Specialists in Mariology; (usually “maximalist” tendency).
  • Scholarly Mariological & Cordimarian studies, publications, reviews (“Ephemerides Mariologicae), societies, etc.
  • Popular magazines; varieties of “Immaculate Heart Messenger”.
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Basilica in Rome, & many IHM large churches constructed elsewhere by CMFs.
  • Consecration of World & individual nations to IHM.
  • Arch confraternity of the IHM propagated throughout…
  • Special IHM scapular.
  • Organized tour of IHM statue to individual homes.
  • First Saturdays, Month of August, IHM solemn feast (Aug. 22) each with special devotions, novenas, etc;

c) Vatican Council II

            Instead of a separate decree on Mary (for which Claretians at the Council   -, fought), Council placed Mary within the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (“Lumen Gentium “), chapter 8. Thus not a “separate side altar”, but integrated.

3.1967 to the Present….

a) 1967 General Chapter:

  • Insisted on missionary identity (vocation, charism, and mission)
  • For this, filial consecration to Mary, under the title of IHM is central, font of spirituality & mission.- “Spreading devotion” to IHM is important, but only secondary & marginal in the selection and scope of Claretian mission and apostolic activities.

b) Period of Crisis:

  • Not in magisterium; e.g., cf. “Marialis Cultus” by Paul VI, “Redemptoris Mater” by John Paul H, etc.
  • Not in Liturgy; cf. new Mass formularies & lectionaries, etc.
  • Not in “popular religiosity” which continued normally.

Crisis existed mostly in “intellectual1 environments:

  • Value “service” over “privileges”.
  • Value “community” over “individual”.
  • Value “centrality” over “marginal”:
  • “To the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit”.
  • Devotions often were not updated in theology & language.
  • Special studies show Mary is at the heart of the Christian Mystery:
  • The Incarnation;
  • The Paschal Mystery. (cf. Lumen Gentium, chap. 8)
  • Tendencies in documents, devotion, mission:
  • less sentimental.
  • More biblical! & theological.
  • Transit from mostly “devotional” to deeper personal “consecration”,
  • Centered within the over-all “mission”.
  • Circular Letter of Fr.Leghisa on IHM. (1978)
  • -CPR 12,59.
  • Fr. Gustavo Alonso’s questionnaire to all CMFs.
  • -Place of Mary in the “Theology of Liberation”.
  • Re-evaluation of popular religiosity.
  • Mary seen as model of liberation.

c) Toward a solution:

d) Special Claretian steps at renewal

e) Renewed awareness of Mary in Latín America & other áreas of “South”

f) Clearly placed “in the heart of the Christian Mystery,”

Mary is in a special way for us Claretians:

  • our Mother;
  • the one who inspired the Congregation
  • our model in the following of Christ
  • our model ‘m our association with Christ’s saving work
  • the first disciple of Christ

-the one whose special concern is the formation of apostles. (cf. CPR 59)

(Ted Cirone, CMF, notes revised, April 05)