February 26, 2023
– Unveiling and Blessing
American artist John Collier, was commissioned for this sculpture and is responsible for the Statue of Saint Gianna and the Burning Bush (Tabernacle) that are now a part of St. Gianna’s sacred art.
About the Sculpture
Mary is presented as a very plain and unassuming young girl, somewhere between the ages of 12 and 14. In keeping with the tradition of the day, here she is betrothed to the man Joseph whom she will one day marry.
Conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary is beginning to show the presence of the child growing within her.
The reality of her ‘baby bump’ begins to unleash suspicion and ridicule in her small village of Nazareth. A young woman pregnant outside of marriage could result in public humiliation and death.
Here you see Mary stepping upon such forces of evil that attempt to prevail, represented in the presence of the serpent. Pay attention to the serpent, for even though this is the first time you see such a depiction, it is the serpent that I am sure many of us have already known. The face is foreboding, but a face we have already confronted often.
An apple thrown to the side with two bites taken from it, echo back to the sin of our first parents Adam and Eve who succumbed to the devil’s temptation. In this depiction however, Mary as the new Eve, remains strong against the devil’s ugly force, not loosing a step in the path that she must walk.
She walks barefoot, for God alone is her foothold. (Here is an important connection to the sculpture of Saint Gianna who is stepping out of her shoe in order to allow God alone to be her footing).
From the pregnant belly of the virgin, you will see rays of glory that flow from her womb, setting out to enwrap the entire worshipping community as the church now becomes the very womb of Mary our mother.
Raising her hand from prayer, Mary instills a spirit of calm into the chaos and confusion of our lives. It is Mary alone who is the one filled with grace and favour.
She implores us to not eat of the forbidden fruit, the fruit of temptation and sin, as did Adam and Eve, but rather to eat of the blessed fruit, the fruit of her womb, Jesus. The Jesus that we are fed upon each time we come to celebrate the Eucharist. Fed upon the Eucharistic fruit so that we too might resist the devil’s every luring temptation.
The presence of the sculpture will be for us an outward sign of the life of one who not only shapes us as individuals and a community, but who challenges us to live lives worthy of her Son Jesus Christ.
This sculpture brings a sense of completion to our church community, as Mary takes her place among us as our protector and mother.
The most blessed gift of Mary to us, the gift of God’s son Jesus, who always comes to us in the Eucharistic food that we eat. We who feed on the one who has conquered sin and death and who is the food of our salvation.
With Mary by our side, may we never, even for an instant, forget or be separated from the most blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus.
Thanks to everyone who has given so generously to make this project possible and who have patiently waited for this day. Thank you to all who have once again been a part of something great!