Our Lady of Good Studies – Marshall McLuhan’s favorite title of BVM

"Annunciation" by Maerten van Heemskerck (1546)
“Annunciation” by Maerten van Heemskerck (1546)

Many of you are students, or know a student — and students are needing prayers about this time of year. (Exams!)

While speaking with ‘Rosary Priest’ Father Patrick Peyton, convert to Catholicism and media professor Marshall McLuhan revealed his favorite title of the Blessed Virgin Mary — Our Mother (Our Lady) of Good Studies:

I think of Our Lady as a perpetual means of aid in my studies. I think of her as Our Mother of Good Studies all the time. She herself, having spent her years in the temple as a young girl studying the scriptures, has always been made as the patron of studies, has she not?

This seems to me, at a time like this, as a very great role for her to play, because the things we now have to study in the world are rather tremendous and new.

[…] She is not only a Mother of Good Studies but a mother of all the joy and all the excitement and satisfaction to be found in study and in understanding. Her own relation to these things was joyful, and her whole being is playful and joyful. She is also Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mercy, but in this relationship with studies there is that of joyful discovery.

We live in a world in which discovery is not only a source of joy but discovery is now possible on a fantastic new scale. In the Electric Age, the amount of information available to man about himself and about the rest of mankind and about the world we live in – the amount of information available instantly and totally at all times is beyond anything that previous ages ever knew. So I think of her as having an especially important role to play in this age of tremendous learning.

Chris Castagnoli shares the following prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas to Our Lady that he found in a 1916 prayer book — contemporary to McLuhan. May all you students find joy in your studies!

O Mary, Mother of fair love, of fear, of knowledge, and of holy hope, by whose loving care and intercession many, otherwise poor in intellect, have wonderfully advanced in knowledge and in holiness, thee do I choose as the guide and patroness of my studies; and I humbly implore, through the deep tenderness of thy maternal love, and especially through that eternal Wisdom who deigned to take from thee our flesh and who gifted thee beyond all the saints with heavenly light, that thou wouldst obtain for me by thy intercession the grace of the Holy Spirit that I may be able to grasp with strong intellect, retain in memory, proclaim by word and deed, and teach others all things which bring honor to thee and to thy Son, and which for me and for others are salutary for eternal life. Amen.



  1. Reblogged this on inspirit*ational and commented:
    As a journalist and Catholic, I had to re-blog this post today. I might mention, I am also preparing for an exam. So, I spent a little preparation time on the internet seeking prayers for exam takers I could add to my own.

    This blog post proved particularly interesting to me. It mentioned Marshall McLuhan. Anyone who has ever studied journalism knows the name Marshall McLuhan. A man of insight, he is well known and respected in the field of media.

    I am taking a final exam in Financial Accounting. The course is from Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, online through Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/). It is an introductory course — fundamentals. I am a creative type. I don’t do numbers. So why did I sign up? I love to learn. I never stop learning. I wanted to be more literate when talking business. I wanted to do more than just read the text (checking grammar and finding typos) and judge the layout of annual reports. I really wanted to understand and decipher what the numbers were saying.

    The past few weeks have been busier than I expected. I have not had the time to devote to this course as planned. Dr. Brian Bushee is entertaining and informative. But, once again, I don’t do numbers. Getting it (the information) is hard and retaining it, harder still.

    Frustration has been a constant visitor these past few week. I was looking forward to the end of this course. Then I read this post. McLuhan spoke of “Joy and all the excitement and satisfaction to be found in study and in understanding.” Huh? Really?

    Oh, yeah. I remember. I had lost the joy of discovery. Can one blog post bring such enlightenment? Well, after a lot of prayer, reflection and time, this blog post proved to be the impetus I needed to change my outlook about this course.

    I am relearning my lessons through joy of discovery lenses. I started out with them but must have displaced them for a while. They are back on to stay.

    I know now that joy of discovery and study are essential to learning and preparation. Prayer is an important part of that equation as well. For everyone facing exams, I am praying for you as well.
    — Tanya Goodman

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