Studying Marian devotion around the world should take place after students have learned the basic theological concepts behind adoration of Mary and the saints. They should demonstrate understanding of the difference between worship and veneration, articulate Mary’s place in salvation history, and have been exposed to a few examples of local Marian devotion (e.g., images of Mary in stained glass, depictions of the pieta).
Teacher presentation and preparation
Expose students to the diversity of ways in which Mary is integrated into worship around the world through series of images and videos. It is not necessary to go into detail, but rather to give students a general sense of the diversity of worship that their study will uncover.
Students will utilize their foundational theological knowledge and skills to compare and contrast Marian worship in different countries (recommended number = 3). They will conduct basic research to hypothesize on reasons for differences in Marian devotion amongst cultures, and note key areas of difference and similarities.
Suggested assignment details
In small groups, students are assigned three countries they are to investigate to compare and contrast Marian devotion. Their task is to create a short presentation that describes Marian devotion in each context, accounts for cultural differences (e.g., Mary’s depiction in ___ might be explained by the local influence of ___), illustrates areas of differences and similarity (e.g., a venn diagram). Additionally, students can independently write short essays on what theological ideas remain constant (or not) amidst the diversity. At least three in-class hours should be devoted to the assignment, not including presentation time. The likelihood of success is increased if the teacher first models a good presentation.