I was getting together this collection of images of the Virgin Mary earlier this week, and lo and behold!, there were seven (sort of… I couldn’t pick just one of the Chinese madonnas). Well, duh, guess what I though of?
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No, it isn’t what you think: this will not be about the university. As I mentioned in a previous post, “Notre Dame” is simply French for “Our Lady.” Since May was traditionally dedicated to honoring her, I decided to do a photo collection of some of the various images of Mary, especially the ones that have accumulated all over my fridge or caught my eye. (If you donate money to one charity, it seems like a dozen more get your name. “Hey! There’s someone with money to hand out at this address…” Which is how I heard from the Archdiocese of Alaska and got an unusual Madonna and child from them.)
1. Our Lady of Peking/Beijing (there are several versions, but this is my favorite, and the one we used for our youngest’s baptism announcement). A version of it is in the Beitang (North Church), where we went to mass when we were in Beijing to adopt our youngest.
Alternate Our Lady of China from the National Shrine in DC.
2. Of course, there’s Our Lady of Guadalupe. After all the turmoil of the Spanish conquest, the threat of impending war between the remaining Aztecs and the Spanish (in spite of the bishop’s efforts to avert bloodshed or abuse), etc. … she reassured Juan Diego in Nahuatl, his native tongue, “Am I not here, who am your mother? Are you not as close as the crossing of my arms?”
3. Our Lady of the Arctic Snows, from the Archdiocese of Fairbanks (I was about to give up and go with my grainy scan of the 2″x2″ copy clipped off their fundraising literature). Definitely not PETA-friendly, since they’re both wearing solid fur.
4. From the Sisters of Life (The Madonnina, better known as The Madonna of the Streets by Roberto Ferruzzi)
5. One of my earliest “alternate” images of Mary, from the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. This one is from Japan, and the cream-colored sleeves are inlaid with pearls instead of the usual mosaic tiles. Notice that they preserved the traditional Western coloration of Mary’s clothes in red and blue. (Catholics of each nation were invited to donate a mosaic in honor of Mary; the American one is… well, kind of modern and ugly, from what I remember. Not my taste at all.) (See original photo here, kindly provided for free use.)
6. And, while looking for a copyright-free shot of the Japanese mosaic, I also found this one, donated by the Catholics of Thailand (photo from Wikimedia here.) I love how they used their style, but kept the serpent getting stomped and the red and blue in Mary’s clothing.
7. Finally, I just love Tomie dePaola’s stuff. We have his The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica (he illustrated it), and first “met” him through Pascual and the Kitchen Angels (which is how St. Pascual and the kitchen cat ended up on the inside of one of our kitchen cabinet doors). I also love Our Lady of Refuge. When I first visited the Vatican as a Navy midshipman, the chaplain had gotten permission to use one of the chapels under St. Peter’s for mass on Sunday. It was the Hungarian Chapel (I think), with a bronze of Mary holding Jesus over the altar. The baby was peeking out from under her veil. Off to one side, life size, was king Wenceslaus, walking down the steps into the chapel, reverently offering his crown to the Christ child.
And there’s so many more that I could’ve added…