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Reviewed by BARBARA BECKWITH

I HAVE VISITED some of the smaller shrines pictured in this book such as Einseideln in Switzerland, Montserrat in Spain, Knock in Ireland, Altötting in Germany, Mariazell in Austria and Sinj in Croatia. This book makes me see anew and meditate on the images of Mary I have seen. Someday I'll make it to major shrines in Europe like Lourdes in France, Fatima in Portugal or Jasna Gora (Czestochowa) in Poland

I HAVE VISITED some of the smaller shrines pictured in this book such as Einseideln in Switzerland, Montserrat in Spain, Knock in Ireland, Altötting in Germany, Mariazell in Austria and Sinj in Croatia. This book makes me see anew and meditate on the images of Mary I have seen. Someday I'll make it to major shrines in Europe like Lourdes in France, Fatima in Portugal or Jasna Gora (Czestochowa) in Poland.

This is indeed a "deluxe photo/art book," as the publisher claims. More than 200 photos were taken by Janusz Rosikon´, who spent five years making pilgrimages to 70 Marian shrines in Europe. Rosikon´ is a member of the Polish Union of Journalists; his photos have been published in Time and Newsweek. It is obvious that taking these photos of Marian shrines was a labor of love for him.

The book includes Forewords by Cardinal Jozef Glemp of Poland and Cardinal Andre Maria Deskur, former president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and head of the International Pontifical Marian Academy. Deskur quotes Pope John Paul II's words about Marian sanctuaries: "Sanctuaries are the Church's capital, because they are the focal points from which the Word of God is proclaimed and where the sacraments are celebrated, where prayers are held and the Church congregates on a stage greater than a parish. They are the sites where pilgrims' experiences merge with the life of the Virgin and the experiences of the nation, the country and every region with the unceasing love of the Church and its Mother."

Twelve Polish writers contributed the text and captions on the various shrines, trying to put them in historical and religious context.

But it is the photos that shine. The faces of the madonnas are haunting, well-lit and in detail. Even if you would go to these shrines, you would not see these statues and pictures so clearly. The photos of pilgrims, praying alone, in crowds and in public processions, fingering rosaries, lighting candles and carrying banners, are also inspiring. Even the exteriors of the shrines, like Rocamadour in France, which "clings to a vertical rock, as if suspended between the earth and the sky," are superbly photographed, in this case with clouds in the background to give the picture some depth.

It's wonderful to realize this book covers madonnas from Ireland to Russia, including many Eastern European countries, a living testament to the pope's view of a Europe that is "breathing with both lungs."

If you have been to any of these shrines, or want to take a great armchair trip to visit 70 at once.

Reviewed by BARBARA BECKWITH