Father Bertrand Buby, S.M., opened the newest version of his book, Mary of Galilee — Volume I: Mary in the New Testament, and didn’t recognize much beyond a reprinted letter in the back of the piece, a bibliography and his photo.
He trusts, however, that this version is true to the original published in 1994 and reprinted close to a dozen times. A friend told him it was.
Because of his ties to Dayton’s Chinese Catholic community, Buby’s three-volume work found its way to Taiwan and diocesan priest Father John Lai, who said he wanted to share it with his congregation.
Father Lai, who has a doctoral degree in theology from Urbaniana, a prestigious Catholic theological university in Rome, gave it to his sister-in-law Rosa Lai, who has a doctorate in education from Australian Catholic University. She completed the translation of Volume 1 in a year. An academic foundation based at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan covered the cost of publication.
Father Lai received the book from his sister, Maria Worthy, one of Buby’s parishioners in Dayton. With a master’s degree in computer science and another in Chinese literature from a university in Taiwan, Worthy first read Buby’s book in English, and then read the Chinese translation her relatives completed.
“She said it’s an excellent translation and helped her understand the English version better than she did on first read,” Buby says. “It might be the first book translated into Chinese for a Marianist.”
Buby says he’s impressed by the art used for the cover of the Chinese translation, which features a stained-glass motif with multiple images of Mary and Jesus. Nearly all of the words inside are in Chinese, save for “The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation” (the 1988 Letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education delivered in Rome), the bibliography and Buby’s name and title printed below his picture.
Buby smiles when he reiterates that he can’t read a word of the book, but he’s glad his Chinese parishioners can. He meets with the group, which includes current students and alumni, every six weeks for Bible study either at the Marianist community house on Stonemill or at the home of one of the participants. About 15 people attend the sessions.
Now, thanks to the Lai family’s support, Buby can share more of his scholarship with Chinese Catholics near and far. His books examine the earliest texts the church has used to develop its tradition of Mary.
Buby is celebrating his 50th year as a Marianist — he was ordained March 14, 1964, in Fribourg, Switzerland. He is among 17 Marianists who will be recognized in August for Jubilee anniversaries in the Society of Mary.
“I look at it as a little gift from God during my anniversary year,” Buby says.