During this period leading up to the Feastday of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, I will be making the novena I posted about last year here and here, in which different aspects of Our Lady’s beautiful Icon are meditated upon each day. To all those who are making a novena at this time, may you be filled with trust and confidence in Mary’s love and solicitude for all her children.
I also wanted to share with you today a beautiful video I just discovered. It is of etched-glass windows at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Foremost, Alberta, Canada. The windows were created by Mary Mehlen, and there is one representing each of the Seven Sacraments, as well as one in honour of Mary and another in tribute to all who minister. Many thanks to the YouTube channel allsaintsparish for providing this beautiful footage for all to enjoy.
I am so surprised and pleased! Albert, of twelve star productions, is the director of the documentary I told you about here, and he has left a comment on my post, giving us more information about the documentary on the Icons of Sr. Magnificat Macé. Here is what Albert wrote:
“My name is Albert. I am the director for the Sister Documentary. I just happened to randomly find that you had linked to the trailer. I was pleasantly surprised. I am sorry it is late, but I did just finish the docu. the other week. We will be looking to put it on EWTN and have the DVD available for purchase. Keep an eye on the website for info. Thanks for helping support our efforts. There are more projects coming!”
Albert, thank you so much for letting us know. We’re really looking forward to it, and please feel free to email me with news or updates at any time (you can get my email address from my “About” page).
Anyone who wants to find out more about this and other possible upcoming projects, you can also go to the website of Corpus Christi Watershed.
In, “Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The Icon, Favors and Shrines”, the Redemptorist Fathers write:
“An icon is much more than a simple representation of events or persons of the past. An icon makes present that which it remembers. It is a meeting point between the mystery of God and the reality of Man.”
But what of the icon-writers, those co-creators who are inspired by God to bring to fruition this “meeting point between the mystery of God and the reality of Man”? The Redemptorists tell us that an icon is the “fruit of prayer”, that the artists compose their icons “in an atmosphere of penance and prayer”, and while doing so, “they would think of those who one day would pray before the icon…”
In our own little online world, I am aware of three iconographers: dear Laura, who so recently went home to be with the Lord; Terry Nelson, of Abbey-Roads2, and Renée, of Crazyacres.
Also, I have just recently come upon a sweet French contemplative nun by the name of Sister Magnificat Macé, and have the most wonderful things to share with you, one of which is a Youtube trailer for an upcoming documentary about her iconography (release date was to be Spring 2007, but I do not know if it is actually finished yet or not).
We also have an interview with Sr. Magnificat on the website of Corpus Christi Watershed, and last but not least, the website of Catholic Solitudes, the hermitage in Hebbronville, Texas where Sr. Magnificat lives and works.
The Icons of Sr. Magnificat
If you are a lover of all things Merton, but are not familiar with Beth’s blog, louie, louie, I encourage you to scoot over and spend a week (or two or three) reading her archives.
But first, sit back and enjoy one of Beth’s recent posts, in which she explains how it came to be that Merton acquired a beautiful icon of the Virgin and Child, and the powerful effect it had on him.
On my “Inter-Religious Dialogue Page”, I have linked to another recent post of Beth’s, in which she gives us a quote from Merton that captures both the core of my own beliefs on the subject of inter-religious dialogue as well as the reasons why I created the “Page” in the first place. As time permits, I will continue to add to this Page (primarily in video format).
In my research on the Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, I happened upon Golgotha Monastery, home of the Transalpine Redemptorists. It is located in Papa Stronsay, an island in Orkney, north of Scotland.
On their website, they speak at length of the history of the Mother of God being referred to as Stella Maris, Star of the Sea, from St. Jerome in 400 A.D. to St. Bonaventure (d. 1274), who wrote: “This name is most fitting for Mary, who is to us as a star above the sea….She guides to the landfall in Heaven those who navigate the sea of this world in the ship of innocence or penance. Well do we compare Mary to a star of the sea, because of her shining purity, her brightness, all that she does for us.”
They also speak of the beautiful hymn, Ave Maris Stella! (Hail, Star of the Sea!), as having been composed between 800 and 900 A.D., and tell us that the first monks on Papa Stronsay sung it in 900 A.D. They go on to say: “Papa Stronsay resounds with this hymn again every night as the Fathers and Brothers make their way to the chapel for Night Prayers.”
So here is the beautiful hymn, Ave Maris Stella, as performed by Ambrose Karels, on the CD entitled, “Star of the Sea” . For the lyrics in Latin and English, you may go to the bottom of this page on the website of the Transalpine Redemptorists.
Living icons. We know it is possible. We’ve witnessed it. We must search our hearts to discover what is hindering us. What is holding us back?
Prayer to Jesus
by Mother Teresa, read by Bill Simpson on the CD entitled, “Quotations and Affirmations that Sustain, Inspire and Empower”.
Recently, a commentor said that she knew someone who, “wanted with all his soul to become a holy icon.”
Does this sound strange? It shouldn’t, really. In, “Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The Icon, Favors and Shrines”, the Redemptorist Fathers write:
“The Greek word ‘eikon’, from which comes the word ‘icon’, means ‘image’. Christians first used the word to describe Jesus Christ: He is the image (icon) of the invisible God (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3). The baptized, as well, since they are identified with Christ, are formed into the image (icon) of God and temples of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14).”