My History in Art

 

My personal history with Art

 

My name is Mary Catherine Bridget Davis Unrein. I am very happy Mom and Dad christened me with such a rich Irish blessing. I was also blessed being raised in a rich active Irish Catholic upbringing. And this is really where the subject matter of my artistic expression came from. I have been involved in art, and expressing myself through art from as long as I can remember. Art is my point of reference to understanding how I feel and what is going on inside of me. It doesn’t seem I can focus and keep developing without art. It is a true gift to me because it kept me grounded and authentic. Growing up in the Southern California in the 60’s wasn’t as difficult for me as some of my friends. I wouldn’t get into drugs or recklessness because I wanted this gift God gave me to reflect His grace not my bad behavior. I wanted the freedom of consciousness as it were to create and be free to express what was ever inside of me. I respected the gift God gave me and whatever artistic skills I was able to develop I wanted them to reflect Him.  I feel close to God in my art. God the Father, the creator and I are friends. This friendship is palatable especially when I am creating sacred art. This artwork became my visible prayers.

 

I would like to share my Mom and Dad because they have always been building blocks for me. Both are from Irish decent with Dad including some fighting Welsh having the name Joseph Jefferson Davis. I grew up with the Maryknoll Magazine, the local catholic newspaper, and very little TV. . My mother was involved with the altar society and my Dad the Holy Name Society and Knights of Columbus. I am one of six children I grew up with a special awareness that I had something special. I grew up being a part of a community of believers with great expectations of God and His love for His people on earth and that prayer changes thing. My younger brother one day asked my mom why does the public get parking spaces. We weren’t public we were Catholic.  I grew up with that identity of Catholic and I understood it was special. I grew up with Mom sharing the stories of the Irish being run out of Ireland because of their faith. Her maternal grandfather, Patrick O’Malley, who experienced this fate, raised mom.

 

Growing up the art classroom was my port in the storm, my haven of peace. It was giving shape to who I was and explored the possibilities of who I could become. It was like my passport to travel.  Go where no man dare have gone before. It was like I was a space voyager exploring new lands and new galaxies. Each new project was an adventure and challenge to bring myself and who I was to a creative solution and visible reality by what was inside me. . I always felt this would be my life, creating visual realities by what spirit and knowledge I was developing within. I always knew this was a gift from God and a heavenly connection.

 

I have always valued prayer.  In the seventh grade I was a member of the junior Legion of Mary. In high school as a member of the sodality for four years and I was elected Prefect in my senior year. My faith was always important to me. My faith became the source of the subjects I would choice to develop and create. My art was my prayer. And the most favorite subject matter for me to study was the face of Jesus Christ. Someone gave me a medal of the face of Jesus and I found it so passionately sorrowful and meaningful I wanted to draw it. I had some of that old felt red paper and was given some pastels and was it wonderful to inter into the passion and love of Jesus. This gift God gave me to visual create realities by the pray that was inside me became my joy and love. I felt somehow I was given a mission, a mission to bring that prayer to a world hard wired into materialism and fear.

 

In my last year of high school at St. Andrew’s in Pasadena, California, we were given a project to work with mosaics. There was an old church across the street from the high school that was being demolished and torn down. I went through the rubble and collected some of the pieces of stained glass and solder for this specific art project. With this material I found I created the head of Jesus crucified and used the pieces of broken red glass and the solder for Christ crown of thorns. I have this mosaic hanging in my studio today. It resonates in my soul even today when I reflect on it. Am I part of building Christ church? If we are not builders then who are we? We all have gifts to bring to the table for God to use to build His mystical body, our Catholic Church, all gifts are given to be use by the builder, God our Father, the creator of this great universe.

 

I went away to college and in my third year of I found myself in an atmosphere that made me question my direction and purpose. The times were full of unrest and change. That junior year Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were killed. The Viet Nam War was in full force and Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band with The Yellow Submarine was taking over the Beatles. Things were changing,

Drugs were becoming more accepted. I found in the art labs and in artwork hallucinogenic induced art was an accepted art form. And here I was finding myself disguising my subject matter so my spirituality couldn’t be revealed. I seemed very out of place. I found art not the vehicle I thought it was. I needed to get more realistic and practical with my life.

 

My future husband, Larry and I met when I was going to college and living on campus at Long Beach State in the 1967. It was the late 60’s; Larry was in the Navy and stationed in Long Beach between his tours in Viet Nam. I was getting more disillusioned about where I fit. I didn’t like art as a product of drug inducement and that seemed to be the norm of the day. My major was lithography and intaglio. It is a printing process that takes a lot of time. I was at school a lot and my creativity was not working in this setting. My mom always told me my art was a gift from God. It did not make sense to fool around with drugs to develop this gift. When I found myself doing a religious theme, like the Pieta in my wood carving, I tried to hide the images so they wouldn’t be recognized; I felt that this isn’t working right.  I left. I found my husband at school and that was enough.

 

Being married and taking care of children became my life and art was side lined. Life went on I was busy. Because of counseling with my daughter trying to get her through her teenage years as harmless as possible I realized I had been molested as a child. With this understanding and its damaging effects that comes with it, and the need to embrace my children with joy and confidence I needed a special prayer.  Larry was now a Los Angeles County Sheriff.  I started losing my focus and needed a way to move from fear to trust. I felt like I was shutting down and uncertain of myself and very disorientated.

 

This was the time a friend gave me a set of tapes to a Life in the Spirit Seminar by a Catholic Lay evangelist called Charlie Osborn. This was the grace I was praying for. The first time I prayed in tongues was in the kitchen cleaning the dishes and listening to tapes. I began again to realize I was an Ambassador of Gods. There I was washing dishes crying and praising God. As I was praying in the spirit and finding joy I felt strength again growing in my soul.  I experienced again my gifts and goodness. This touch of God’s life within me rekindled my hope and began to give me a new peace. I found a Charismatic prayer group. It became my port in the storm. I just loved having people pray over me. I didn’t understand it all but I knew these prayer warriors love God and was sharing that love with me. I felt loved and cared for.

 

It was at this time our new parish, St. Paul the Apostle, was beginning. This I was familiar with. I grew up building a new church, St. James the Less, with my parents.  So I started becoming involved and helped Fr. Mike Maher SS.CC. He belongs to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. For the first six years we held mass in a public Jr. High and the parish office was father’s rented rectory. Morning mass in the beginning was held up stairs in the chapel of the rectory. After Mass we have coffee in the kitchen and a group of us planned the activities of building a new parish. This was the parish office until another office was rented in a bank building. I got to help make the Jr. High Library a sacred space for mass on Sunday. I got good at wonder under, that’s a material to glue other material. I got very creative in developing the liturgical year signs and symbols through material and banners. It was so much fun. Fr. Pat Crowley SS.CC. Helped out and lived with Fr. Mike. Fr. Pat has a healing ministry and I found myself starting a Charismatic Prayer group with Fr. Pat. The prayer group met every Monday and we were privileged to enjoy his guidance and special ministry. Fr. Pat gave me a statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace, the patroness of their order. This was my first attempt at mold making in three dimensions but I did it. I fell in love with her and so did my mom.

 

At this time I met Fr. Mike Barry SS.CC. He was in charge of the Charismatic Renewal Community and asked me to draw the cover of the monthly news magazine, The Shout for Joy. With him being the director of the renewal in the diocese he asked if I would paint the backdrop for the upcoming Charismatic Conference titled, ‘Abba Abba’. I painted this 10 ft. by12 ft. image of God the Father holding a little boy on His shoulder with two large out stretched hands framing the painting.   While working on the painting my teenage unwed daughter told us she was pregnant. When Joshua was born he looked like that baby on God the Father’s shoulder. I was convicted that I needed to do this art for the glory and in obedience to the will of God. Shawn called her baby Joshua, a Hebrew form of Jesus. It seemed to me that God was pleased with my artistic efforts and my efforts to glorify Him. The artistic gifts He gave me were in line with His holy will for me. So I wanted to continue.

 

At this time I went back to school to finish my college degree. I started taking sculpture classes and found myself using broken pieces of pottery and broken abalone shells and cement to develop shapes and surface textures to represent the four seasons. These shapes looked like head stones. I didn’t see that until my mother showed me and told me her Irish born grandfather, Patrick O’Malley, the one who raised her was a stone cutter and these look like something he would have done. Then Fr. Fintan Morris, an Irish historian priest, told me I was a Celtic artist. This is because I was using things of nature to show and explain spiritual truths. I was so happy to hear all this because it gave me identity and I always loved my Irish heritage.  I went to Medjugorje on pilgrimage asking for God’s protection for my children, and grandchild and I came home with a lot of rocks. I made ocean of Mercy crosses. They had rock from Medjugorje and river rock from Arizona and shells from California and I would call them my Ocean of Mercy Crosses. They were my prayers made visible. Mary says stay at the cross. Graces come from the cross. For me to stay at the cross I had to make them.

 

So I got busy making a lot of crosses. Then a friend gave me an angel she bought in Medjugorje and I learned to make production molds. My business is called Joshua’s Stone because it is work of prayer from a mother asking for intercession for her children. Before walking to a prayer vigil in front of an abortion clinic we went to Mass and I heard this reading and it moved my heart to understand this was for me. It is Joshua 24. It speaks of the Israelites promising Joshua they would stay with Yahweh and he could die in peace. This happened under the oak tree at Sheckem. Joshua held up a rock and told the Israelites that this rock heard and witnessed their promise they made to God and that rock became a covenant stone, and Joshua put it in the Ark of the Covenant. Joshua’s Stone is my creative witness there is truly a faithful God and I believe. I felt I was commissioned by God himself to share this message of salvation for my family. Doing this work keeps me connected to my prayer for my family and the Mercy of God.

 

Remembering History Thru Catholic Art

 

As a Catholic artist I have been happy and honored to work and reproduce many precious artistic statues and plaques and medals that have been created and inspired by illuminating grace throughout the centuries of our catholic history.  What I have found in my work of mold making and recreating the works of the past is a wonderful connection of Our Lady’s intervention and instruction to, with, and for her children on earth.

We are children given to her at the cross who share with her that earthly journey to eternal life with her son Jesus. It is Mary’s ongoing passion to teach and lead and love us. So where does this take use in the 21 century?

 

As a people of God and the mystical body the church it is healthy and beneficial not to lose identity with our past. We need to keep our memory to maintain our identity. The impact of lost memory and authentic identity results in a turning inward and therefore a point where hope becomes harder and harder to be possessed or even conjured up as a memory. This seems to be a resting point a reality in our generation that is so saturated with new technology and mass indoctrination through media, entertainment and government propaganda. The diet of this onslaught of information has made us dizzy and questioning who we are and what we believe.  This has made the world of faith an issue of irrelative importance. It is relative only if it fits into to our own personal worldview of truth. Truth has become a relative issue, a personal matter. The pressure of this culture to just fit in and survive its cost of living and conforming mentality is a pressure cooker that has cost us our spiritual identity as Catholic Christians and got us sidetracked into believing the lies of the culture.

 

Where does all this false direction get its strength isn’t too hard to notice. God is now money and knowledge for much of our society. Matter was what matters. Our spirit is losing its rightful life to grow and influence our lives. It is becoming a management problem in the materialistic society. It has become an issue that needs to be fragmented and nullified. What matters is that we don’t matter. Control is king. This isn’t God’s will for us.

 

I can though show the points of grace that have been given us though out our history and the commitment to truth that has connected these points of grace expressed through our catholic church history and it’s art. This art has been a response of God’s people to connect with desire to transcend and reflects this hope and joy of being more and using the gifts God has given us. As I explore this creative thirst and desire for heavenly intervention and transformation I have been given the special journey of witnessing Mary, our heavenly mothers’ constant intervention and prayer for her children on earth through artistic images.

 

I have restricted this essay to involve and instruct about the statues and their history that I have been chosen to duplicate and share.  The explanation of these works bring the continuity of God’s love and involvement with his people and the Churches ever response to that responsibility to lead God’s people on the continual pilgrimage to our eternal heavenly destiny. This responsibility has not been taken lightly and has been a drama and encounter with opposition not for the faint of heart. And this is why I wish to bring this history to clarification.  We do seem to have a short memory but not Our Blessed Mother. All the brave souls that have dedicated themselves to her church have not been forgotten. Mary has a special place in her heart for those who promote her son and love Him.

 

My desire is to write and show the gift of three images. One is titled Our Lady Queen of Peace, of the 12 century, and the other image Our Lady gave us herself in Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1560, and Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, 1869. The history of these three images show a providential connection that illustrates her great love for her children on earth and her great love and hope for the church that her son started and died for.

 

Mary is weaving her seamless remnant and has been since she was given to us at the foot of the cross. As the facts develop and continual pattern develops as Mary is mothering her children with her maternal love. She is always instructing us about her Son, the incarnate word. The priestly vocation is brought into such an importance in these stories again no priest no Jesus. Mary has such an intimate bond with her priest because as she was body brought Jesus into this world, the anointed priest brings Jesus to her earth children.

 

Our Queen of Peace, Mary’s Weaving A Seamless Remnant.

 

This seamless remnant is a work of Our Heavenly mother’s love. When seeing and finding her creative love and her expression of this love of our eternal mother we participate with her through prayer and sacrifice. We children of earth are bonded in common with “Her Seamless Remnant” where the world is still through ignorance and sin still casting lots for it.

 

Mary has been given the task of crushing the head of Satan. In creating a seamless garment of Eucharistic prayer, fasting and penance she is calling on her children to respond and be a force for grace and retribution. The world is rebuking her ways and casting lots for this seamless remnant but the love and joy of Mary burns stronger than the world, the flesh, and the devil.

 

Reflecting in her involvement with the medial 12th century, this is the century that gave us St. Bernard of Clairvaux who besides developing monastic formation gave us this beautiful might prayer. This is where our story begins in sharing the three images I get to make.

 

The Miserere by St. Bernard:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,

That never was it known

That anyone who fled to your protection,

Implored your help

Or sought your intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you

O virgin of Virgins, my Mother.

To you I come; before you I stand,

Sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word incarnate,

Despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

 

St. Bernard (1090-1152) a great churchman is quoted as saying, “Our own generation enjoys the legacy bequeathed to it by that which preceded it. We frequently know more, not because we have moved ahead by our own natural ability, but because we are supported by the menial strength of others, and possess riches that we have inherited from our forefathers.” Bernard of Clairvaux used to compare us to punt dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.

 

This is the understanding of Our Mother’s intervention that develops her actualizing grace for her children. Without a doubt, the 12th century in Western Europe can be characterized as a flowering of civilization, indeed a renaissance. It is clear that all European social life during the Middle Ages was based upon several dominant ideals. These ideals were inspired by the Christian faith as interpreted by the Church. Not everyone lived up to these ideals, but they affected everyone.

 

In her wonderful book, “A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (1978), the historian Barbara Tuchman wrote that: Christianity was the matrix of medieval life: even cooking instructions called for boiling an egg “during the length of time wherein you say a Miserere.” It governed birth, marriage, and death, sex, and eating, made the rules for law and medicine, gave philosophy and scholarship their subject matter.”

 

While ambition and desire for worldly success were pretty much common in the 12 century, they were not always associated with a desire to make money. Improvement in one’s status was the most common ambition. Wealth was less important than such things like personal freedom, titles, high office or the reputation one earned as a scholar.  Today we are still influenced by the 12th century: in art, literature, educational systems and social relationship. The 12th century witnessed a growing desire for knowledge.

 

OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE STATUE

 

 

I was asked to duplicate a small image of Mary and the child Jesus while I was helping Fr. Pat Crowley SS.CC. and Fr. Mike Maher SS.CC. Both were of the order the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. We were beginning a new parish in Chino Hills, California, St. Paul the Apostle.  Fr. Pat was the spiritual director of our prayer group and he had a small statue that needed to be made since it was very difficult to find. He asked me if I could help the order by making them. This is the beginning of my adventure with making images of Mary and learning a bit of history that she has been interacting and interceding for her children and the Church of her son Jesus Christ. These artistic representations have appeared in history over and over again and have affected history.

 

The story of this image begins in medieval France. At this time in history an elegant statue was carved out of a dark wood for the Joyeuse family in France as a gift for a fiancée. The statue is of Our Lady holding the child Jesus in her left hand. Jesus is holding the world in His left hand and the cross in His right hand. Mary is holding an olive branch in her right hand. This statue is around 11 inches and many blessings, and healing has been attributed to Our Lady’s intercession. It was kept in the chapel in the family’s chateaux.

 

In the 1500 the statue was given to Henri de Joyeuse. The deeply religious duke built an oratory for the statue near his chateaux on the Rue Saint Honore. Shortly afterwards, he donated some of his land to the Capuchin Fathers, sacrificing even his oratory. The lovely statue was then placed on a rich platform above the gateway of the monastery. Here it remained for 70 years, with a lamp burning before it night and day.

 

According to the memoirs of the time (1630) a brilliant light was seen for several years shinning around the statue at night. This phenomenon attracted vast crowds. Pilgrimages were made and public prayers were said before the statue. On July 21, 1651, voices sounding like many children were suddenly heard singing the Salve Regina at the site. The news of this event spread throughout Paris; processions were organized. The sick were brought to Mary. The people’s devotion is said to have reached its peak when several cures were recorded. The most sensational was the cure of Louis the XIV in 1658.

 

In light of these happenings the Capuchins deemed it wise to remove the celebrated statute to safety. On September 24, 1651, the little but powerful image of Jesus and Mary was removed from its humble place solemnly installed in the Capuchin convent chapel. It was placed in a place of honor near the tomb of Henri do Joyese. Henri upon the death of his wife became a Capuchin monk in 1588.

 

In the late 1600s, to satisfy the great devotion of the people, it was decided that a larger chapel for the statue was needed. Mlle. De Guise, a descendent of the Joyeuse, provided funds for this endeavor to accommodate the crowds who flocked to implore Our Lady and her Son’s aid. On July 9, in the presence of the King and Queen of France, and surrounded by an immense gathering of Church dignitaries and faithful, the Papal Nuncio officiated, and carried the statue himself to its new chapel.

 

There the statue continued to be honored until 1790, when the religious persecution of the French Revolution drove the Capuchin fathers out of their monastery. The statue was given for safekeeping to Mlle. Papin, who in turn left the statue to the Duchess of Luynes, mlle. Pauline-Sophie d’Albert. Madame Coipel received the statue upon the death of her sister. Mlle. Papin in 1800. Within years, her daughter-in-law, the young Mme. Coipel inherited the statue. In 1804, Mlle. Coipel thought that the best place to keep such a precious statue was in the chapel of a religious community. She knew Father Coudrin, co-founder of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and perpetual adoration, she suggested to him that the statue be entrusted to the care of the Sister of the Order. 

 

Accordingly, on May 6, 1806, this renowned statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace became property of the sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Perpetual adoration. Henriette Aymer de Chevolerie, the co founder of the order and mother of the sister of the order placed the statue in the chapel of the Motherhouse in Paris. The good Sisters still keeps and honors it as a most precious gift and the Queen of Peace became the patroness of the Order.

 

I have briefly given the history of the change of hands of the statues ownership. There was a lot of French history and intrigue during the years of the 12th century Medieval France and the 1800’s. But with all the unrest and lack of peace in France this statue was spared and revered.

 

Now with the statue of Our Lady and the Child Jesus firmly safe as patroness of this new French order of the Sacred Hearts and Perpetual adoration, founded in response to the French Revolution, This image of Mary and Jesus has been a point of grace since the order has acquired her.

 

During all these years only once have they feared for the safely of their treasure. It was during the trouble days of the Commune, in 1871 where the populace, incited by atheistic leaders invaded churches, chapels, and convents, destroying every emblem of religion that they could find. The chapel of the Queen of Peace became their target. The Superior, with tears in her eyes, begged them to spare their beloved shrine, and miraculously the rabble went away, leaving the statue unharmed. When the tempest of the persecution subsided, the statue was again returned to its usual place and honored and venerated by devout souls.

 

One of the devoted members of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, was Fr. Mateo Crawley – BoeveySS.CC .He developed an international ministry of Enthronement to the home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He was a law professor in South America and developed a Law School but in 1906 an earthquake destroyed it. This happening was so painful to Fr. Crawley his health broke down.

 

He was sent to Europe in 1907. In June of that year he had an audience with the Pope where he was “commanded” by the future saint Pope Pius X to promote the “Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in Homes”. In August he was restored to health at Paray-le-Monial where he claimed Jesus confided to him the mission of establishing His social reign through His Enthronement in homes and institutions.

 

On July 9, 1906, his Eminence Cardinal Amette, Archbishop of Paris, solemnly crowned the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace, in the name of Pope Pius X, the pope of the Eucharist. Pope Pius X has another great distinction. This Pope of the Eucharist received the Sacrament of Holy Orders; he was ordained, while Mary was appearing at Lourdes, France in 1858. France did not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See on July 9, 1906, but Pope Pius X was asking Our Lady for intervention and peace during this time of unrest and rebellion. France had declared separation of Church and State and was confiscating churches, property, schools, and church hospitals. 

There was much unrest between Rome and France in 1906. Pope Pius X’s Encyclical Vehementer Nos (On the French Law of Separation) showed all its errors and tried to clarify the mistakes of this declaration.  This faithful Pope reached out to heaven to intervene by crowning Frances prized Marian images in a procession as Queen of Peace.

 

It is a point of historical devotion and respect for the past that had kept this image safe from the explosive history of France. With the Enlightenment and other anti catholic developments in France this Pope, who wrote an Encyclical against Modernism and even had the clergy declare an oath against Modernism to remain faithful to the church, reached from antiquity and crowned this 12th century image with the title Queen of Peace.

 

This outreach was not unheard because when Pope Pius X’S successor Pope Benedict XV included this title Our Lady Queen of Peace in the Litany of Loreto, the official church Litany of Mary; it became the title official name of Mary.

 

On December 30, 1905, Pope St. Pius X wrote the following prayer in his own hand:

“Domina nostra Sanctissimi Sacramenti, ora pro nobis”. (Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.)

Shortly after, the Holy See granted permission for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament for May 13.

 

On May 5, 1917 Pope Benedict XV wrote of his pleas for peace in a letter:

“Our earnestly pleading voice, invoking the end of the vast conflict, the suicide of civilized Europe, was then and has remained ever since unheard. Indeed, it seemed that the dark tide of hatred grew higher and wider among the belligerent nations, and drew other countries into its frightful sweep, multiplying ruin and massacre. Nevertheless Our confidence was not lessened…Since all graces which the Author of all good deigns to grant to the poor children of Adam, by a loving design of His Divine Providence are dispensed through the hands of the most holy virgin, we wish that the petition of Her most afflicted children, more than ever in this terrible hour, may turn with lively confidence to the august Mother of God.”

 

He then asked the world to begin a novena to Our Lady Queen of Peace to heal the world and stop wars, and bring peace. The prayer he said is quoted as follows.

 

Prayer for Peace:

“To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy and omnipotent by Grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the Earth – from noble temples and tiniest chapels, from the royal palaces and mansions of the rich as from the poorest hut – from every place wherein a faithful soul finds shelter – from blood-drenched plains and seas. Let it bear to her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of the innocent little ones, the sighs of the generous heart: that her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask for be obtained for our agitated world.”

Eight days later, Mary appeared to the three children at Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917. This day had been for years before the feast day of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Our Lady of Fatima comes during the novena to Our Lady Queen of Peace on the feast day of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. She teaches to the three children a special prayer for reparation to the Holy Eucharist.

 

Yet there is still more to be said about this special image of Jesus and Mary. It becoming the patroness of the order of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Perpetual Adoration when that order came as missionaries to Hawaii the Cathedral they built in Honolulu is dedicated to the Queen of Peace and this image is proudly enthroned there. This Cathedral has a very important history. Besides being the Cathedral St. Damien of Molokai SS.CC, the only priest canonized during the Year of the Priest, June 2009 – June 2010, was ordained in, it has other importance.  Fr. Damien is a member of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Perpetual Adoration, the founding missionary order to the islands. 

 

The Cathedral itself was formally dedicated on August 15, 1843. The Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of Peace, located at the north end of Fort Street Mall in downtown Honolulu, is said to be the oldest Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States and one of the oldest existing buildings in the downtown area. The Cathedral stands on land, which was given to the missionaries by King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) when the mission was established in 1827.

 

So the oldest Catholic Cathedral used continuously in the United States is dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace. This image that inspired this dedication was crowned Queen of Peace by Pope St. Pius X. Our Country is dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Pius the X in 1858, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was appearing at Lourdes, became Father Giuseppe Sarto. This is the time he received the Sacrament of Holy orders at the very early age of 23. At Lourdes Mary told St. Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Pope St. Pius X established May 13 to be the feast day of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. During the novena to Our Lady Queen of Peace, started by Pope Benedict XV, his successor, Mary comes to Fatima on May 13, 1917. This is the feast day of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. At Fatima she asks for reparation for the sins against the Holy Eucharist.

 

It is my firm belief that we in the United States, so blessed with abundance and history of freedom, better respect our birth right, and build up the body of Christ, His holy Catholic Church. Europe has forgotten its history. France was called the oldest daughter of the Church, where Mary appeared so many times in so many places, is turning over its churches and convents to the Moslems. These two images of Mary were originated in France. Many great French priestly saints promoted Mary and the Eucharist such as, St Louis De Montfort, St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, St. Martin of Tours, St. Isaac Joques, Odo of Cluny, St. Peter Fourier, and St. John Vianne. It was said when France sneezed all of Europe would get a cold. If that is true what condition do we find Europe today? France has dementia. It has forgotten how it became and how it was born. And Europe must be in a coma or dead because it has stopped breathing and lost its spirit.

 

 Pope St. Pius X was the Pope against modernism. He wrote encyclicals against it. What is modernism? It’s about what is matter is what matters. The French revolution, the Age of Enlighten, was all about knowledge being God. Science was King. The spiritual life we are to journey to be with our God for eternity becomes secondary. Our Benedict XVI has preached against it.

 

This is not anything new. The battle has not just begun. It was declared in Geneses and continues but we know the end. Mary will crush the head of the serpent. Do we want to part of her army or not. Not to be is to be against her army. And whom she and her army are fighting against is Satan himself. And what does Satan want the most to destroy the Eucharist, to destroy the Catholic Church. This Catholic Church brings Jesus body and blood soul and divinity to Her people.

 

OUR LADY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT STATUE

 

 

Now we find the history Our Lady Queen of Peace dove tailed into that of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. What is Mary saying? Without the Blessed Sacrament there is no peace. Both statues that carry these titles have a lot of similar features. Both are of a mother caring her child and both have the child caring elements of peace. In the statue of the Queen of Peace Jesus is holding the world and the cross. In the statue of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Jesus is holding the challis and the host. Mary is holding an olive branch in the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace and in Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament she is blessing us. Both are elegant and classic in design. I was asked to make Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament after a priest, who was a missionary in Nigeria, saw the statue of Our Lady Queen of Peace I make. He gave me a holy card of the image St. Peter Julian Eymard illustrated to how the patroness, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, should look like.

 

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is the chosen patroness of the order of the Blessed Sacrament. St. Peter Julian Eymard is the founder and is called among other things, “Champion of the Blessed Sacrament”. He had such a singleness of purpose, in his great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that he would found an Order devoted solely to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the spread of that devotion. That Religious order is called, ”Priest of the Blessed Sacrament”. The date of the new order’s official acceptance into the church is May 13, 1857. That date became the church feast day of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. Pope John XXIII canonized him after the first session of Vatican II. He was given the title Apostle of the Eucharist.

 

There is a teaching here, which we don’t want to miss. He went from Diocesan priest, to the Order of Mary, to founding an Order in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. Wherever you find the Mother, you will find the Son; wherever you find the Son, you will find the Mother. Wherever you find the Mother and the Son in the Eucharist, you will find the priesthood. Saints who have a great devotion to the Eucharist couple with a great love for Our Lady. 

 

St. Peter Julian Eymard was born in the French Alps in 1811. In 1846 not far from where he grew up Our Lady appeared at La Salette. He lived near a Church growing up and his mother would bring him to church daily for Eucharistic adoration. His own earthly mother started his love for adoration. Mary, his eternal mother, had plans for her noble priest.  Mary’s call for adoration and devotion to her Son in the Eucharist has been responded by this her priest. There are many churches and chapels all over the world that have a large statue of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament but I am the first to make it small for our homes. I was surprised to find the library of congress gave me the copy right to her. We need her in our domestic church.

 

St. Peter Julian Eymard wrote many teachings and prayers to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE MONSTRANCE

 

 

One of the most Eucharistic images of Mary is one she created herself. Her self-portrait as Our Lady of Guadalupe shows her pregnant and regal. This iconography she placed on Juan Diego’s tilmma in 1550 is still visible to us today. Why she appeared to Juan Diego was to tell him, “I am your mother, why fear, are you not in the folds of my garment.” And she wanted a church built there in her honor. The church is where the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ would be made present by the anointed priest to feed her children. Through this miraculous iconic image she painted herself with heavenly roses she converted millions and stopped pagan sacrifice. Scientific development is still finding secrets in this image. The eyes tell a story only magnification can reveal.

 

There have been books written on this image. What I have been able to make is a monstrance using the image she gave us. Mary and Jesus are so united to be able to adore Jesus in His mothers’ womb with the image that she herself gave us is a grace. This is church. This is our history and love of Our Eternal Mother. If we want peace we must prayer and adore the Prince of Peace. Jesus came into Mary’s womb so he could redeem and open the gates of heaven for us. Our Mother gave us her image as Our Lady of Guadalupe she was pregnant with Our Savior. I do believe if this culture of death as Pope John Paul II calls us, could understand the total gift of the mother as portrayed in Our Lady of Guadalupe that life is sacred.

 

The Monstrance of Our Lady of Guadalupe is something of my story.  I had no idea a Monstrance of Our Lady of Guadalupe had not been made before. When I put in a request to copy right it by the Congress I got it. But this is confusing. I keep asking why don’t we adore Jesus in the womb of Mary? Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mary self-portrait. She arranged those roses in Juan Diego’s tilmma and the impression she left over 500 years ago on that piece of woven cactus cloth is still as beautiful as it was then.

 

As my parents got older I was their caregiver and chauffeur. This was great because I was able to share some great vacations and also I took them to all the surgeries and doctors appointments. I got to experience my parent’s joy of living even under tough situations. When my dad died at 89 years old, Mom couldn’t live by herself and we needed to be there for her in an involved way. My children were in their 20’s and 30’s and going to college and moving on with their lives. So Larry and I sold our house to live in the house I grew up in with mom for three years till he retired and then we would move to Colorado.

 

Within those three years I found peace, making statues of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. My dad was a Eucharistic minister since 1974 and for twenty years gave out Holy Communion to the Rest Home ever Friday. Working with that statue in three sizes brought Dad’s presence back to Mom and I. Mom was suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Not having Mom like I always did was very dishearten and sad.

 

I would go to Mass in the morning, then Larry would go to work and I had Mom pretty much by myself the rest of the day. I now lived an hour from my friends and family. I would pray I need my mother. I need a mother. I was becoming my mother’s mother and I was feeling lost and confused. Margaret Davis, my mother, after Dad died just wasn’t the same and was dislocating from the world. In my prayer I asked to be mothered. I made a lovely plaque of Our Lady of Guadalupe that Mom had painted and it was hanging in my bedroom. As I would pray this prayer to be mothered I kept getting this response from Mary to come to her. I would reflect upon that image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and I kept getting the feeling Mary wanted me to come to her. Well I’m a hand on kind of person and if Mary tells me to come to her I do it through my art. I drilled a hole under Mary’s praying hands in the plaque of Our Lady of Guadalupe and put the small pyx I would use to bring Eucharist to mom in it. Then I would pray. I would pray with Jesus in the womb of His mother, my mother too, and I got peace. I got mothering like I needed so I could go on. My Eternal Mother is there for me and her Son, our Savior, touched me in our mother’s womb. I worked I got renewed energy and direction. Things will work out because our Eternal Mother is forever and she loves us. She is there for us.

 

Needless to say I got excited. Wow. What I gift we have in Our Lady of Guadalupe. So I made some and started sharing them.  I have been making them for over five years. They are finding homes in chapels and being used with retreat work. Now I make a three foot one and we’ll see where she finds a home. The healing our souls experience in the womb of Mary, sharing that sacred space with Jesus her son and our Savior is huge.

 

In TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY by St. Louis De Montfort quotes a great father and doctor of the Church. “St. Augustine, surpassing himself, and going beyond all I have yet said, affirms that all the predestinate, in order to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, are in this world hidden in the womb of the most holy Virgin, where they are guarded, nourished, brought up and made to grow by that good Mother until she has brought them forth to glory after death, which is properly the day of their birth, as the Church calls the death of the just. O Mystery of grace, unknown to the reprobate, and but little known even to the predestinate.”

 

Through Mary’s motherly womb, through Her virginal womb we find a place of grace and a home of love and protection. In Her Immaculate Conception we are purified because of God’s mercy. Jesus Her Son of Mercy awaits us in the womb of the Mother of Mercy. At the cross we were given access to this great ocean of Mercy. Jesus sacrifice gave mankind His perfect Mother. His total gift at the cross of Himself for our redemption and His gift of His mother for our intercession and protection are our inheritance of the cross at Calvary on Good Friday. He is not only our Redeemer but our brother. He gave us His mother. With that the gate ways to heaven was created on earth in the womb of the Immaculate Conception. St. Augustine knew it and St. Theresa of the Child Jesus vivid revelation of her intimate relationship with Mary showed this too. This is the poem she wrote before her death.

 

“O you who came to smile on me

At the dawn of life’s beginning

Come once again to smile on me…

Mother!

The night is nigh

I fear no more your majesty

So far removed above me,

For I have suffered much with you

Now hear me Mother mild!

O let me tell you face to face.

Dear Mary, how I love you,

And say to you forevermore

I am your little child.”

 

She had learned the meaning of the strong phrase of St. Augustine written fifteen hundred years ago that we were all begotten with Jesus in the womb of Mary as our Mother.

 

Jesus redemption at the cross and His gift of His mother is the gateway vessel of honor. She is the Immaculate Conception, the Morning Star, as her children we are made inheritance of Her merciful womb. This is where she will teach us lessons of love and mercy with Jesus. We are formed anew. We are formed as the Mystical Body of Christ. We are introduced to our brothers and sisters. Mary loves her children. We are Her Cross Children. We are part of the sorrowful sacrifice, passion and death of Christ for all eternity. Grace is our name. Our mother is the Mother of all graces.

 

Mary will always be the Mother of Jesus. And He gave Her as His last lesson of love. At the cross Mary became immortally eternally our mother. She was instructed as to her new role of mothering. She was told to take humanity under her care and mother us to eternity. The cross is the gateway to Heaven and Mary opens that gate. She carry’s us in her virginal womb and births us to heaven. The Cross is the brand we wear. We have to accept our cross like our Mother and never stray from her. She is our teacher, She is the guide for us and stands with us as we carry our cross. As Mary stayed at the cross of her Son as our Mother she also doesn’t leave us.

 

 

What I have found through my work and research is the Queen of Peace, our Eternal Mother wants to shape us and mold us from birth to death and she is doing that through the Holy Catholic Church. She points us to Jesus and to the Eucharist. Like all good mothers she wants us to be feed with what is good for us. The Eucharist is heaven’s banquet and our eternal mother keeps showing us the way to heaven.

 

These historic images are part of the richness of our Church’s history and part of the blood that runs through her veins. We are blessed and rich because of them. And it is my great privilege to be able to make them and share them. I hope this little story shares some of the beauty and love that our Eternal Mother has for us. The Catholic Church is like a great treasure chest of exceptional beauty and wonder. To share and introduce Mary though this art is to share her love and mothering through the ages. Thank you Mother Mary and thank you Margaret Davis for all the love you have given me and continue to give me in this life’s journey on earth. Heaven is our goal and Mary has her arms wide to receive us.