Prayer to Mary, the Mother of God, has been and continues to be an integral part of our Catholic heritage. So often the Hail Mary or an invocation to Mary falls from the lips of Catholics. But have you ever wondered about the origin of some of the most popular prayers to Mary? In The Greatest Marian Prayers, Anthony Buono describes the origin of twelve great Marian prayers. He begins by situating prayer to Mary in the history and theology of the Church. He then outlines the history of appeals to Mary as these have grown through the centuries. In each of the twelve chapters--beginning with the Hail Mary, the most popular prayer to Mary--the author presents the biblical and historical origin of a famous Marian prayer and then shows how each prayer relates to our life today. Other prayers discussed include the Hail, Holy Queen (a favorite of St. Alphonsus Liguori), the Angelus and Memorare. With the exception of the Akathist Hymn from the Eastern Catholic tradition, Buono gives the full text of each prayer. It would have been helpful also to have the text of the Akathist Hymn as a whole rather than in parts throughout the chapter. A welcome addition to the volume is an appendix, 'Sixty Classic Payers of Catholics to Mary.' This small book is an excellent tool for all who want to deepen their devotion to Mary.
John Gouger, C.Ss.R.
National Catholic Register
[The book] is a worthwhile addition to any serious Catholic's shelf; indeed, a case for its indispensability could be made solely on the strength of its appendix of 60 Marian prayers. This includes prayers from Church Fathers like St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine, to medieval saints like St. Catherine of Siena and St. Anselm, to modern prayers by St. Maximilian Kolbe and Pope John XXIII. Included there is the most beautiful paean of praise ever written in honor of Mary: Dante Alighieri's magnificent "figlia del tuo Figlio" from the final canto of the Divine Comedy, a prayer he puts on the lips of St. Bernard of Clairvaus. Buono's book may help make those immortal words known by more Catholics -- and perhaps come to their lips spontaneously in times of prayer.
Raymond de Souza
The Bible Today
This attractive book is designed for a general audience and provides historical background and commentary on the most well-known and solid Marian prayers. Whenever possible, Buono traces the biblical roots of the prayer (as, for example, in the 'Hail Mary') and its further development in later Christian tradition. This is not meant to be a dispassionate historical work, however, but to lead the reader to a deeper appreciation of the strong Catholic piety expressed in these revered Marian prayers.
Donald Senior, C.P.
If most people were asked to name the oldest Marian prayer they would probably respond by saying the Hail Mary -- good answer, but wrong. The Sub Tuum (in English, "We fly unto your patronage") predates the complete Hail Mary. After a brief reflection on Marian prayer through the 16th century, the book offers historical development and reflection on 12 Marian prayers. Among them are the Hail Mary, the Angelus, the Stabat Mater, the Magnificat and the Memorare. The book is interesting and insightful to read and could easily serve as the basis for a parish course on Marian prayer.
Rev. Henry Mancuso