This panel addresses initiatives related to Marian politics and prophecies during the Cold War period. It seeks to analyze the ways apparitional narratives and Marian movements have functioned in religious discourses aimed against the "forces of evil" within the global religious-political arena.
In recent years, scholars like William Christian, Jr., Thomas Kselman, and Elisabeth Claverie have opened up important areas of research at the intersection of visionary culture, religion, and politics. In their studies, they have shown how Marian apparition sites have become focal points for a convergence of lived religion and secular political agendas. A particularly interesting convergence of visionary Marianism and international politics is apparent during the years of the Cold War. After the Second World War, there was a remarkable rise in the West of religiously inflected rhetoric against what was characterized as "godless communism" in the Soviet-bloc nations, led by the centralized and hierarchically organized Roman Catholic Church. Not only did its leaders urge their followers to resist atheistic socialism, but along with many prominent Catholic laity and conservative movements they marshaled the support of various Catholic groups and religious orders into a virtual holy war, taking advantage of the energies of the tens of thousands of Catholics who were drawn by and devoted to Marian apparitions. Thus, this panel addresses grassroots and Church initiatives related to Marian politics and prophecies during the Cold War (1945-1989) period. We are particularly interested in bringing together papers on case studies from both sides of the "Iron Curtain" as well as non-aligned areas of the globe in order to analyze the ways apparitional messages, narratives and Marian movements functioned and how the Virgin Mary was recast during this period: from a representation of popular devotionalism into a political instrument of modernity.