Karen E. Park, St. Norbert College Professor of theology and religious studies, will present the fall 2023 Pilgrim Forum Lecture, “Lively Conversations: Meeting Our Mother and Each Other at U.S. Shrines to the Virgin Mary,” at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the Hendrickson Dining Room of the F. K. Bemis International Center at St. Norbert College. Park will discuss the metaphor of conversation as a way to understand shrines to Mary across the U.S. using examples from her forthcoming edited volume, “American Patroness: Marian Shrines and the Making of U.S. Catholicism.”
The United States is home to hundreds of shrines to the Virgin Mary, from large suburban complexes to tiny urban backyard lots. These sites are where immigrants from places as far-flung as Mexico and Vietnam, Haiti and Poland, come to meet their mother in a land far from home and to define themselves as both Americans and Catholics. They are places where lively and complex conversations take place — conversations about faith and identity, power and gender, and hope and fear.
The Pilgrim Forum is a series dedicated to sharing information and spurring thought and discussion around important aspects of the Catholic Faith and Tradition. Once each semester, speakers present thought-provoking ideas that invite attendees to understand more deeply what they believe.