Behold Thy Mother:
Getting to Know the Blessed Virgin Mary

A free online course designed for the lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Detroit and those seeking to Unleash the Gospel! 



Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Help of Christians, Star of the Sea . . . . The Blessed Virgin Mary goes by many titles. Why do Catholics love her so? And how can we foster our relationship with Mary and learn to imitate her virtues?

In this short online course, Dr. Robert Fastiggi, Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair of Dogmatic Theology and Christology, will offer reflections on the beautiful teachings of our Catholic faith about Mary: her role as Mother of God, her Perpetual Virginity, her Immaculate Conception, and her Assumption into Heaven. But Mary is not just a figure of the past. Sacred Heart Major Seminary faculty will also introduce us to Mary’s apparitions to people living in very different times and places, such as Lourdes, France; Fatima, Portugal; Guadalupe, Mexico; and Kibeho, Rwanda. Come and join us this Advent as we get to know the Blessed Virgin Mary!

– Dr. Matthew T. Gerlach

Dean, Institute for Lay Ministry

How is this course structured?

This FREE non-credit course is being offered online using the seminary's learning management system, Canvas. Upon signing up for the course, students will receive a username and password for accessing the online class.

The class will be conducted online giving students the freedom to engage with the material and complete course tasks around their own schedule. The class will consist of four modules which can be completed according to the individual's own pace.

Each module will be hosted by Dr. Robert Fastiggi, Professor of Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart, and feature one of our distinguished faculty members. Each module will  include:

- Featured Lecture (~20 minutes)
- Marian Apparition Lecture (~10 minutes)

- Supplemental Reading Material (~30 minutes)
- Personal Assessment Quiz

The goal of the course is not to deliver a high level of rigor or stress, but instead expose any Catholic who wants to learn more about the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Consider this a retreat experience for the lay faithful, done at your own pace and guided by five globally esteemed professors from Sacred Heart, all of whom help form holy, healthy, and joyful priests—as well as deacons, religious, and lay leaders—for service of the gospel. This is an opportunity to grow a deeper relationship and spend time with the Lord. 

What will be covered?  

Four Great Marian Dogmas  |  Dr. Robert Fastiggi

Fastiggi-photo-SHMS.jpg_0Module 1: Role as Mother of God

Module 2: Perpetual Virginity

Module 3: Immaculate Conception

Module 4: Assumption into Heaven

Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair of Dogmatic Theology & Christology  - Instructor Bio 


Our Lady of Guadalupe | Dr. Janet Diaz

Janet DiazDr. Janet Diaz beautifully illustrates the apparition of the Blessed Mary to Juan Diego in 1531 on the Hill of Tepeyac (modern day Mexico City).

Part-time Faculty, Director of Evangelization, Church of the Holy Family, Novi - Instructor Bio 



Our Lady of Lourdes | Dr. Donald Wallenfang (OCDS)

Dr. WallenfangDr. Donald Wallenfang will present the apparition of the Virgin Mary appearing to 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 in Lourdes, France and the series of events that followed.

Professor of Theology/Philosophy - Instructor Bio 



Our Lady of Kibeho | Fr. John Vandenakker (CC)

Vandenakker_Fr_John-3550Fr. John Vandenakker shares the story of the Our Lady appearing to three college students in Southwestern Rwanda in the 1980's and her apocalyptic warning for Rwanda

Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology & Director of Graduate Pastoral Formation - Instructor Bio 


Our Lady of Fatima | Dr. Ralph Martin

Ralph MartinDr. Ralph Martin recounts the beautiful story of Mary's apparitions in 1917 to three school-aged children in Fatima, Portugal and her forepromised "Miracle of the Sun."

Professor of Theology & Director of Graduate Programs in the New Evangelization - Instructor Bio 


“For Mary is exactly what God wants us to be, what he wants his Church to be: A Mother who is tender and lowly, poor in material goods and rich in love, free of sin and united to Jesus, keeping God in our hearts and our neighbor in our lives.”
– Pope Francis
Register today or request information to learn more about the course and other offerings at Sacred Heart.