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Born: Sept. 8th (Immaculate conception on Dec. 8th)
Died: Aug. 15th (Assumption)
FEast: January 1st

Patron of: 
all humanity, mothers  

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St. Mary
Mother of God

Bio

 

     Tradition holds that Mary, long before she was ever to know of her great purpose, was conceived without having Original Sin. She was the daughter of St. Anne, who wanted children but was barren and then promised Mary to God when she gave birth. We don't know anything of her life from that time onwards except that she had been engaged to Joseph until we hear of the angel Gabriel telling her she was to be Jesus' mother. After this, she visits her cousin Elizabeth who is also pregnant with John the Baptist, and we hear her beautiful words in the Magnificat.

The next thing we know is that she and Joseph must go to Bethlehem for the census, where Jesus is born in a stable because of the town being so full.

Not long after, the couple presents Jesus in the temple and then must flee with Jesus to Egypt to avoid the persecution and murder of babies by King Herod. They return to Nazareth, and Jesus goes missing for three days until they find him in the Temple speaking with the elders.

Between this time and the beginning of Jesus' ministry, St. Joseph likely passed away. We know nothing of Mary's life either until she instructs Jesus to do something at the Wedding at Cana, which becomes his first public miracle.

She likely followed him throughout his ministry, and was present at the Crucifixion, during which Jesus asked St. John to continue to care for her. She was with the Apostles at Pentecost and was likely at Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension as well.

One of the oldest Traditions holds that Mary was assumed completely - body included - into Heaven at the time of her death. This is celebrated with the feast of the Assumption.

She is known as Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Saints as the holiest of all human beings.

Prayer

 

many of us cannot imagine, but you know exactly how it is to have to flee the only home you know with no one and nowhere to go. You know the hopelessness, the loss, the pain, the fear. Let us have empathy to feel those things and never turn someone away who, like you, is a refugee.

Amen.

Art Reflection

 

This portrait of Mary was the first I created, and is based off of the simple portrait of a Syrian refugee. Her life as a refugee and sufferer were the main focuses of this specific icon. Despite her neutral and dingy clothing, she still wears a golden headband, symbolic of her dignity and heavenly crown.

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FEast: Sunday after Christmas
Patrons of: 
all families

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The Holy Family

Bio

 

     Devotion to the Holy Family has existed almost since the very beginning, and has resurfaced every so often with reminders from Popes and writers on the importance of family and good family role models.

We know that they trusted one another (Joseph agreeing to stick with Mary), protected one another (fleeing to Egypt), worried about one another (losing Jesus in the Temple), and were there for one another in the darkest times (Mary at Jesus' Crucifixion and death of Joseph).

This family likely felt every emotion and dealt with every trial that families still face today, and so it is comforting to know, as always, that we have saints on our side who know our struggles having lived them themselves.

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Prayer

 

You were imperfect, as all families are, but perfect in role modeling values for our own families. Help us to forgive each other, to strive to understand each other, to value each other, to see the dignity of each other, to want the best for each other, and to treat each other fairly and patiently. May our families be our peace and our homes. 
Amen.

Art Reflection

 

Most of all, I wanted the Holy Family to appear as natural as possible. They don't all have same style, expression, or maybe even the same thoughts going through their heads in this moment. That's always how it is with real families. But they are present with each other, and they hold each other and will continue to work, learn, and live together.

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FEast: Jan. 1st
Patron of:
All humanity, mothers

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Madonna + Child

The Magnificat

 

     My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for He has looked with favor on His humble servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed,
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His Name.
He has mercy on those who fear Him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel
for He has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise He made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen, Alleluia

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Prayer

 

You know how much support mothers need. If we could help these women out, despite any circumstance, they could thrive, be better mothers, have more opportunities,  and never have to question choosing life for their children, Show us how we must change  our lives and society  for them.

Amen.

Art Reflection

 

As a companion piece to the Holy Family, I wanted the warm, loving, divine gold and the spiritual, ethereal blue echoed in the colors. Mary's Jeans are ripped from navigating the long journey to Bethlehem while Pregnant and then giving birth in a barn. She has on her sweatshirt to keep out the night's cold and be as comfortable as she can. She has wrapped Jesus in the nicest piece of clothing that she brought and has a tattoo on her wrist of her immaculate heart. Jesus touches her, either with joy or with pain, and she feels either peace or fear, depending on the viewer's needs and ideas.

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FEast: July 9th, {Fatima} May 13th
Patron of:  Peace

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Our Lady of Peace

Bio

 

     Mary's title of "Queen of Peace" has lead to many depictions of her wearing all white and holding an olive branch - the symbol of peace.

This image is also based off of the image of Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. Three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal witnessed apparitions of Mary in 1917. In these visions, she shared secrets with the children. She appeared wearing all white trimmed with gold and was a glowing source of light. She was reported to also be holding a rosary and wearing a crown.

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Prayer

 

Our world is so preoccupied in so many things - show us the true meaning of peace. Show us how none of us can be at peace until we all can rest without fear of our lives, untreated pain, lack of resources, or loss of hope. We find peace when we can live without judgement, bias, or hatred. We find peace when our children can grow and thrive. Grant us this.

Amen.

Art Reflection

 

This image of Mary as Queen of Peace emphasizes the fact that the most peace we can know would be conditions under which a baby can sleep soundly. This piece is for all Mothers of color who mourn their lost children until the day racial justice can bring this kind of peace.

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FEast: Dec. 12th
Established by:  the Americas, indigenous people 

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Bio

 

     When Juan Diego was born in 1474, he lived in what is now Mexico City. He lived with his uncle and was a very spiritual man in the Aztec religion, but when Franciscan missionaries arrived, he and his wife were among the very first group to be baptized.


   One morning while he was on his way to Mass, on the outskirts of the city, a radiant woman stopped him along the way and introduced herself to him in his own language as St. Mary. She told him that not only was she the mother of Jesus, but also the mother of all who lived in this land. She asked him to build a chapel for her on the hill there.


   Juan took this request to the bishop, who did not believe him. When he encountered her again on his way back, he told her what the bishop had said, and that perhaps she needed to ask someone else to complete this mission - he did not think he was either worthy or capable enough. She refused, though, and said that she wanted only him. she said she would give him a sign to prove it the next day.


   That next day, though, his uncle fell very ill, and Juan had to stay to take care of him. Juan was distraught over the situation, However, on his path, Mary appeared to him and asked him “Am I not here, I who am your mother?” She told him that his uncle had already recovered while he was out, and asked him to instead climb the hill and gather flowers. She blessed them and told him to bring them to the bishop. When he arrived, he poured out the flowers, and they found the image of Mary on the cloth. All immediately believed him and agreed to his wishes.


   Juan Diego’s cloak with Mary’s image remained on display in a chapel and then the church while building proceeded on Tepeyac Hill. When the chapel was complete, a procession occurred to take the image to the hill. Juan Diego lived out the rest of his life on the hill, caring for the church and the people who made pilgrimages there. The image is still on display there, perfectly preserved.


   In 2002, Pope John Paul II finally canonized Juan Diego, making him the first saint indigenous to the Americas.

Prayer

 

As Pope Francis says, “We need to not raise walls, but bridges...” Remind us how it is not only hurtful, cowardly, and ignorant to build walls of any kind, but also that we miss out on so much because of those walls. Mary, be our protector, inspiration, and help as we learn how to tear down these walls and the wall from the place you clearly loved.

Amen.

Art Reflection

 

This image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has certainly generated some of the most controversy of my pieces, likely because it contains so much symbolism. Mary wears Traditional Mexican clothing and a flower crown that resembles the rays of light in the traditional image. She sheds a tear and holds red rosaries over her heart to symbolize her heart bleeding for the people at the border. In place of Satan as a snake, she crushes the border wall itself beneath her feet. he has a tattoo of a rose like the ones she gave Juan Diego in his miracle, and a Mexican boy takes the place of an angel, his wings the colors of the flag, and his expression just as tearful.

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The Visitation

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FEast: May 31st
Patron of:  mothers, pregnancy

Bio

 

     Only the Gospel of Luke says that John was Jesus’ relative, the son of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth.


   The story of St. Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah’s announcement of John’s birth by an angel when Elizabeth was too old mirrors the Old Testament story of Hannah and her son Samuel, and also resembles the traditional story of St. Anne as well.


   Luke’s version of John’s birth goes that when the angel told Zechariah, he did not believe and so he was given the punishment of not being able to speak until John was born. John’s name was also given to Zechariah by the angel.

 
   Luke also describes a meeting between Mary and Elizabeth while both were pregnant that has come to be known as the Visitation. Elizabeth described feeling John leap in her womb when Mary approached, giving her a sign that John had even recognized Jesus then as the son of God.

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Prayer

 

Both of you had no idea how this had happened, how you would manage, or what was to come, But you both said yes, and in the face of this change, you chose joy and celebration despite your certain anxiety and uncertainty. Help us to celebrate each other and our life changes as you did, in the knowledge our changes could be as miraculous as yours.

Amen.

Art Reflection

 

The goal for this images was to include both babies in the painting as well - and this is done through the women's sonograms. This is also another in which I did not want their expressions to be very clear. Most depictions show the women as overjoyed - which they were - to have both been recipients of miracles. But both also knew that hardships would come their way because of this, too, and neither knew the whole of what was to happen quite yet.

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FEast: The Saturday following the feast of the sacred Heart
Patron of:  love, motherhood, human life 

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Immaculate
Heart of Mary

Bio

 

     The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotion to Mary focusing on the joys and sorrows of her human heart filled with perfect love for God. It includes her compassion for the entire world as her children as well, and the heart is sometimes pictured with the seven swords representing her sorrows. This devotion is also linked to the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Most Chaste Heart of Joseph.

Prayer

 

Let us never forget just how real a woman you were. You laughed & your heart swelled. You sobbed & it broke into pieces. You loved & lost. You felt pain, excitement, fear, & peace. You worried, you ran, you slept, you breathed. Be with us in our every small human experience.

Amen.

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Art Reflection

 

This piece is a companion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus pieces, and when places together, Jesus is looking up to Mary. Since my mission is to portray Mary in as many ways as possible to be able to accommodate every viewer's different image of her or need they have of her, this is the most playful, relaxed, and least feminine version.

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FEast: all may
Patron of:  flowers, spring, mothers

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May Crowning

Bio

 

     May Crowning likely originated around the end of the 18th century due to the large number of feast days involving Mary that are found in the month of May. Four of Mary's apparitions also occurred in May, and many believe Mary chose that month as a special one herself.

Crowns have been found on images of Mary since the beginning, due to her title as Queen of the Saints, Queen of Heaven, and Queen of many other things. The most common images of this are of her Assumption, during which Jesus and God are crowning Mary.

Celebrations involving physically crowning a statue or image of Mary probably were not popular, though, until the 19th century. This was solidified in 1965 as Pope Paul VI wrote of May being Mary's month, and in 1987 when Pope John Paul II celebrated The Marian Year by declaring the crowning a ritual.

Prayer

 

May we bless you with flowers, Mother Mary, as you bless us each and every day  with beauty in this world. Show us how live beautifully, think beautifully, and feel beautiful, just like you. Surround us with beautiful things, and allow us to create beauty when there is none. 
Amen. 

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Art Reflection

 

This is my most delicate portrait of Mary, comparing her to the flowers she is honored with in May. I have fond memories of May crowning while growing up, and the celebration is such a beautiful one. I wanted to capture that kind of innocence, elegance, and freshness in this icon.

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Our Lady of Victory

Bio

 

     The Devotion to "Our Lady of Victory" comes from the Devotion to "Our Lady of the Rosary". When the rosary was given by Mary to St. Dominic as a prayer device, he was able to achieve the success he longed for. Later,  when a Pope was organizing troops to recapture Christian posts from the Ottoman Empire, he instructed his crew to pray the rosary. They succeeded as well, and Pope Pius V declared that Mary had been the force that led them to victory. He established a feast day to commemorate the battle.

Prayer

 

We’ve heard the incredibly true phrase None of us can thrive unless all of us thrive and are seen as equals. Mother Mary, guide us to this goal as we lift the voices of the oppressed and enkindle a burning desire for justice in each of our hearts. Let us fight for those who cannot. Amen. 

Art Reflection

 

This commission began my mission of creating "A Mary" for every type of person and need. This icon's purpose was to show her in a role other than her usual benign, quiet way. She was supposed to be ready to fight on behalf of her children, her family, or territory. WE often do forget the strength and fierce protection Mary offers us as our mother.

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