Friday, June 4, 2010

Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes. White on white with a blue sash and all the pretty scenery you can imagine. This is truly a photographer's wet dream. And she's looking dreamily off into the distance, which makes her perfect for modeling some sort of skin cream.

St. Bernadette Soubirous began seeing the vision of Our Lady in a cave just outside the town of Lourdes when she was fourteen. She was beaten for claiming to have seen the apparition, and continued to go to the grotto. She dug up a spring, drank the water, and became disheveled, but soon the water was being reported as miraculous when given to medical patients. On March 25, 1858, Bernadette was told "I am the Immaculate Conception." In 1860 the local Bishop finally approved the apparition. It is now one of the most frequented Marian shrines in the world.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fabulous Marian Wardrobe Week Continues!

The Fabulous Marian Wardrobe Week continues with Our Lady of the Rosary. Pretty, no?

Our Lady of the Rosary has a kind of haphazard origination. In the sixteenth century at the battle of Lepanto, the Holy League held back Muslim forces. This victory was attributed to the Virgin Mary as that very day a rosary procession had been offered in St. Mark's Square in Rome in her honor. There's no real standard in her depiction, except that most modern depictions have her dressed in all white with, of course, a rosary, and bearing the Immaculate Heart. One of my favorites, actually.

So, we have white on white with nice blue undertones. The Marian blue is a standard based in medieval art in which Cobalt, the most expensive mineral at the time, was used to adorn the Virgin as a means of honoring her above all other women. Prior to this you see a lot of red (cadmium) and darker tones. But now it's almost universal to have at least a portion of the Marian wardrobe done in blue. This particular image is nicely done as you can tell she's wearing the white of the Carmelite Order, but the blue undertones behind the incredibly saturated Immaculate Heart make the entire ensemble kick. A+!

As far as Our Lady of the Rosary giving us the Rosary, unfortunately, that's not true. Colloquial wisdom holds that Our Lady instructed St. Dominic in the rosary. A cursory search on Google provides us with the original story that Irish monks began praying the 150 psalms of David every day. Lay people responded with the Lord's Prayer after every Psalm, and began carrying around pebbles or beaded ropes when not in earshot of the monks. When the Irish monks began to evangelize in Europe, this devotion was brought with them. The Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!) became the response to the psalms and eventually replaced them. Various other forms of devotions utilizing the 150 prayer model saw a standardization effort that combined the various forms and voila! The rosary as we have it today!

And just to show that I know my stuff, I'm going to provide you with the Hail Mary in Latin, just because I love you all. :)

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fabulous Marian Wardrobe Week!

Alright. To kick off the Fabulous Marian Wardrobe Week (I know....Wednesday.....but we'll have seven days of Mary in her finest!) I'm going to use the Patron Saint of the Americas: Our Lady of Guadalupe!
So....first things first.

Green on gold. Very fashionable, always classy. The star motif over a rather forward-thinking paisley marks her as a trend-setter. And the all-over halo? Come on, that's just classy is what that is. Why skimp when you can splurge? And being the Mother of God, I say she can't possibly splurge enough. However, if there's anything I'd change about her outfit, it's that the entire thing is saturated with that faded, Goodwill coloring. Brighten it up, sister! We as Catholics already feel the guilt of the world, give us some splash! Also, with the rise in popularity of electronic and techno music, she should be wearing day-glo instead of sandy Spanish Colonial. Washed out colors? Out. Neon? Totally in. And get some jelly bracelets or those new SillyBandz(c) (Totally a trademarked name....I might get sued! Yay!) and paint your nails! Oh....and give that angel a rest and get some real shoes. I know you didn't blow your whole wardrobe budget on that halo!

Ok. Now....on to the fun part of "Let's Learn About This Particular Vision!" This way I'm excommunicated for something OTHER than being blasphemous and disrespectful with a saint.

Our Lady of Guadalupe was not an actual visitation. This is a very different apparition than...say...Our Lady of Lourdes or Our Lady of Fatima in which Mary herself came down and physically appeared before somebody. Instead, the image above miraculously appeared before a peasant named Juan Diego near Mexico City on December 21, 1531. So important is this image to Mexican Catholics specifically and Catholics in general that the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic shrine in the world. It was used by Miguel Hidalgo to inspire his troops during the War of Mexican Independence (successfully apparently) and continues to be used by those seeking the aide of the Ever Virgin Mother of Christ.

She holds the titles "Queen of Mexico," "Empress of the Americas," and "Patroness of the Americas," and, indeed, in 1961, Pope John XXIII named her "Mother of the Americas," making her the de-facto patron saint of the New World.

Of her miracles, the most marvelous is that the original apparition has remained intact despite several incidents including an ammonia spill said to have mended itself without outside help. Additionally, it is said that within her eyes it is possible to discern the images of all who were present when Juan Diego presented the apparition to the Bishop. What's intriguing about this particular miracle is that the image is seen in triplicate, a phenomenon known to occur in human eyes.

Here is the Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, intercede for the Church, protect the Holy Father, help all who invoke you in their necessities. Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the Grace of a firm faith and sure hope amid the bitterness of life, as well as an ardent love and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.

And an indirect intercession:

O God of power and mercy, You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through Your justice present in our hearts, may Your peace reign in the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. +Amen.

On that note, I leave you with Our Lady of Guadalupe. Oh, for those who don't know, in a prayer, when there is a "+" sign, it's a reminder to cross yourself at that point.

Tomorrow I think I'm going to go out on a limb and utilize one of the less-universally-accepted apparitions. Or I'll just plaster the web with images of the Virgin. SEE YOU THEN!