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"Reading alongside Mary"

Our Candlemas Eve Lecture in honour of Dr Cathy Oakes


This is a reminder that our Candlemas Eve Lecture will take place on 1st February 2024

at at 7:00 pm GMT (01:00 pm CT; 02:00 pm ET; 08:00 pm in Norway).

This event is organised in honour of our late colleague Dr Cathy Oakes, who was an art historian and one of the founding members of the Centre for Marian Studies. Cathy was an expert in medieval Marian iconography and her untimely death in 2019 remains a great loss to our charity on both a personal and academic level.


This year our guest speaker is Professor Laura Saetveit Miles, author of the highly acclaimed monograph The Virgin Mary's Book at the Annunciation (Boydell & Brewer, 2020). We are delighted that she has accepted our invitation and are looking forward to her presentation, which is entitled “Reading alongside the Virgin Mary in Late-medieval Books of Hours Annunciation Scenes”. Her lecture will focus on two rare and fascinating versions of the standard Annunciation scene, as they are developed in both devotional literature and illuminations in Books of Hours. One type of representation captures the moment before Gabriel arrives; the other type depicts the reader herself as part of the scene. Some versions even combine these two. Where do these variations come from, and what do they mean? This neglected story of imitatio Mariae sheds new light on what Mary’s role in the Incarnation meant for medieval Christians across Europe.


Professor Miles teaches British literature in the Department of Foreign Languages, University of Bergen, Norway. Before that she was a fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows, and received a PhD, MA, and MPhil from Yale University, and an MPhil from Cambridge University. She researches religious and literary culture in medieval England, especially women’s writing, monastic textual communities, and visionary genres. Her current project explores the cult of St. Birgitta of Sweden in medieval England and is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.


We hope that you will be able to join us for this wonderful tribute to Cathy. If you have not already done so, please fill in the form to register:



The free Zoom link will be sent out on 31st January 2024.



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