Growing to Know and Love Mary from a Worldwide Perspective

As distant lands have come closer through the wonder of air travel and the Internet, new doors have been opened and many of us seek to learn more about the practice of Catholicism in other parts of the world. Watching the sea of humanity present at the recent events at the Vatican, I marveled at the flags and faces representing so many fellow Christians from around the globe. The universality of our faith struck me as I watched an Italian mother, a young Caucasian and an African gentleman all clutch their rosaries in the moments leading up to the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy.

Thanks to a wonderful new book by Ann Ball, we can learn more about stories, devotions and images of Mary from around the world. In The Other Faces of Mary (Crossroads, December 2004, paperback, 160 pages), Ball introduces us to Mary through the eyes of our fellow Catholics in places such as Vietnam, Nigeria, India, Japan and more. Ball and the many contributors to this book share with us a beautiful gift – the wonderful pictures that accompany the stories and reflections in this book left me wanting to travel to these places and see my own Faith through fresh eyes.

I spoke recently with Ann Ball about The Other Faces of Mary.

Q: Ann Ball, author of The Other Faces of Mary and numerous other wonderful Catholic resources, thank you for your time and participation in this interview. Could you please begin by telling us a bit about yourself and your own faith journey?

A: Lisa, I am a convert. I grew up in a small town in an area which was still mission territory for the Catholics when I was a child so there was a lot of mis-information about the church. As an adult, through an unusual set of circumstances I wound up teaching at a Catholic school. My dad always had a St. Christopher medal on his keychain and I found a book in the library of that little school about St. Christopher. I read it and got hooked on reading about the saints – finished reading an entire series of children’s books on the saints that year. The following year, we moved and I taught at another Catholic school. One day when I was having the children decorate a bulletin board for Our Lady, one of the sisters saw what we were doing and whispered to me, “She’ll get you – just wait and see.” Some years later when I announced my intention to join the church, that sister’s response was simple “I told

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