“This is a tremendous opportunity to work in solidarity with bishops, theologians, and Marian leaders worldwide to champion Our Lady’s causes, which are so important for our world today,” said Miravalle, who has written 15 books and participated in nearly 800 television and radio shows on Marian subjects. He has also served as a consultant to Marian documentaries on NBC, PBS, and the National Geographic Channel, and has been interviewed by a wide range of secular and Catholic media including the BBC, FOX News, EWTN, and the National Catholic Register.
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mother has always been central to Franciscan spirituality, said Dr. Daniel Kempton, chief academic officer at Franciscan University, adding, “It is very fitting and even vital that Franciscan University continue to honor Mary, Our Mother, and to express this affection for Mary in its scholarly and teaching missions. Certainly, this chair was motivated by the donor’s and the University’s jointly held commitment to the study of Mary, and our shared respect for Dr. Miravalle’s prominence and importance as one of the world’s leading Mariologists.”
The new chair builds on other academic advancements that are making Franciscan University a national center for Mariological study. These include the new Marian concentration in Franciscan University’s MA Theology Program and the appointment of a second Mariologist, Brother Daniel Maria Klimek, TOR, who will begin teaching full-time at the University in fall 2018, when Miravalle’s appointment to the new chair begins.
The chair is named in honor of arguably the most Marian pope of all time.
“The Mariological genius of St. John Paul II provides us with a depth and breadth of theological insights regarding Our Lady, which the Church will be pondering for decades to come, and beyond. His papal motto, Totus Tuus, (entirely yours), which comes from the St. Louis de Monfort consecration prayer to Mary, conveys the quintessential unity of truth and love of Our Lady in an intimate, devotional way and of how Mary leads us to her son, Jesus,” said Miravalle.
A “funded chair,” the St. John Paul II Chair of Mariology received financial support for an initial four-year period by the Zita and James Gavin Foundation, which supports Catholic and Marian-related activities.
“This is a rare and generous gift, for which the University is extremely grateful,” said Kempton.
Founded in 1946 by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in 70 programs of study including liberal arts, professional, and pre-professional studies in an academically excellent and passionately Catholic learning environment.