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Marial exposition at Château-Richer

12/09/2006: Canada

Our MARIAL EXPOSITION that focussed on Mary through the ages, the arts and philately will remain, for the community of Château-Richer, among the best memories of this year. In effect, this EXPO, organised thanks to the initiative of Brother Paul-André Lavoie, took place between the month of Mary and the 15th August, the patronal feast day of the Institute. It attracted more than one thousand visitors. It included more than 12000 pieces.

We need to stress that this Expo was able to be presented to the public thanks to the co-operation of the brothers of the house, several of whom participated firstly in its preparation and in its material organisation in placing carefully and tastefully all the elements that we wanted to highlight. Several brothers accepted to guide the visitors and to present the various elements on show to them. Among these elements, we were able to include statues and other things of great value that came from the religious patrimony of other religious communities. We are grateful for their co-operation.

We also benefited from the co-operation of some newspapers and magazines who advertised this religious event held on the Beaupré coast.

A few elements to note
Among the elements of this exposition, I would like to mention five:
1- A large painting on the various titles that have been given to Mary in the litanies. This painting is by a great Italian painter, Le Tintoret (1518-1594). Original or copy: we leave the detail to the experts… “Regina angelorum” presents several chubby angels in its company.
2- Our Lady of the Butterflies. A picture of the Virgin prepared by using the multicolour wings of African butterflies. A loan from the Little Franciscans of Mary. The artist: an African from Bangui, Central Africa.
3- Philately honouring Mary. A collection, perhaps unique in Canada, of stamps coming from various countries wanting to honour Mary and the servants of Mary. These 11,000 stamps occupied 8 large albums.
4- Marial publications. We showed quite a number of volumes treating the Virgin Mary, some coming from our former Marial library at Valcartier founded in 1965 but, unfortunately, a collection that was not followed up.
5- Some statues, numerous and varied, that created a happy impression. This demonstrated to us the vigour of religious artistic art. Thanks to the religious communities who loaned us the majority of these statues.

Let’s open the Visitors Book
The VISITORS BOOK in which visitors could write their personal comments reveals the effect that this EXPO could have on some people. Here are a few extracts that particularly show the impact that such an activity can have on visitors.

• I am amazed at the beauty and the spiritual richness that is here before my eyes.
• This exposition can invite many people to pray and to thank Mary under so many names.
• What a beautiful occasion to deepen our Marial knowledge!
• I thank the Lord for having inspired you to realise such an exposition to the glory of our heavenly Mother.
• Congratulations! So beautiful! Thank you for looking after these magnificent works and giving us a sense of Mary.
• A beautiful day with Mary!
• What spiritual richness and so well presented! We are happy that we were able to visit this exposition, guided by an extraordinary man!
• Thank you for having made us discover Mary under all these facets.
• May Mary come close to us each day with her Son and may we love him tenderly.
• Bravo for this brilliant exposition which has boosted my Marial piety. So many memories!
• The Marists must work to make Mary loved, our Good Mother and Ordinary Resource. This is what you have done with this exposition.
• Marial beauties, you fascinate us! Our thanks to the Marist hearts for having given us this rich Marial patrimony.
• Thank you for the background music during the Marial visit. We pray with musical and artistic beauty.

Unfortunately we must stop this short summary here even though we find ourselves before hundreds of testimonies varying between a signature, one line, to an entire full page, testimonies that deserve to be known!

From where did these visitors come?
Several indicated this in signing the Visitors Book.
Ontario, Niagara Falls, Cochrane, North Bay, Pain Court, Sorel Tracy Sherbrooke, Quebec, Montreal, Bordeaux (France), Obala (Cameroon), Sayabec, Ste-Foy, St-Ferréol des Neiges, Zimbabwe, Chicoutimi, Drummondville, Granby, Thetford, Malawi, Toronto, St-Hyacinthe, Laval, La Baie, Longueil, etc., etc.

A Marial visit is a praying pilgrimage
A small group of visitors wanted to make this like a Marial pilgrimage… After having slowly walked through the exposition, led by a guide, with all the elements on show, they started to pray and to sing together before a large statue of Our Lady. The organiser of this visit improvised a magnificent prayer as a charismatic soul would know how to do, a prayer that the guide wanted to record thanks to a tape recorder. One of them asked if they could make an offering for the pleasure of having experienced a visit of such quality… an offering that would allow us to improve such an exposition in the future.

Future Marial expositions

They will next take place at Champagnat College Iberville, Laval College and in the Mgr Vachon Pavilion.

Brother Laurent Potvin

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