Friday, December 18, 2009

My Visit with Mary Magdalene


A mother and her two children in front of the reliquary

Newly renovated stained glass windows at St. Thomas Aquinas church
the French relic of Mary Magdalene positioned atop a limousine for the outdoor procession
both relic and priests were escorted by bagpipers in front...
...and a mariachi band behind them

worshippers carried religious banners and images through the streets of Brooklyn

after the outdoor procession one of the French priests assisted with the dedication service
as the Knights of Columbus, congregation, and guests looked on
and while a soloist led a gorgeous rendition of "Jerusalem" upstairs in the sanctuary...
...the mariachi band simultaneously celebrated at a coffee and cake reception downstairs

and Madonna and Child were placed in a position of honor during it all

It may not be everyone's tradition to venerate the relics of saints, and forgive me also if I miss aspects of it which are of special significance to you if it is your own religious tradition, but I was so taken with this joy-filled, reverent celebration over the first visit of a relic of Mary Magdalene to this country from southern France! It was so special for me in fact, that I have had to digest it for weeks before I could cull my photos of it's procession, just to try to share with you in pictures what it was like to be there in person in November when this relic came with several priests from Frejus-Toulon, France to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in my neighborhood.

If sometimes it is unfair in life, and it's not until after we are gone that someone sees how special we were; if it crosses cultures to try to answer just one celebration in our memory; if it's just centuries later, and it's Brooklyn, New York, then my visit with Mary Magdalene was huge in it's importance and its influence only on Mona Conner. If it was just me, I was joined by hundreds of others who paid respects to her as well. And if you were there, it was hard after just one day's visit to see the wonderful celebration come to an end and the relic packed for it's next location on it's tour around the U.S. It's not only Catholics or specific religions who are impacted by saints. They are still being created today, and they walk among us.

8 comments:

Kathleen Coy said...

Beautiful post, Mona.

artbyakiko said...

Beautiful pictures, Mona. I wish some of those saints walk among our Congress.

Valerie Gross said...

what a joy to see the respect and adoration Mary Magdalene is finally getting, she who is Apostle to the Apostles, the first to believe.

Dean Grey said...

Mona!

This looks like an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing it with us!

The stained glass windows are so colorful! I love the pink in there!

May I ask why you are so partial to Mary Magdalene?

Just wondering!

-Dean

L.Holm said...

What an incredible event this must have been! I can only imagine the electricity and magic everyone must have felt. Wow! I've prayed to many saints over the years, although I'm not Catholic. I believe you're right that saints are among us.
Wishing you a joyous Christmas, Mona!

Mona said...

Kathleen, Akiko, Valerie, Dean, and Liz, thank you!

Dean, as you may know Mary Magdalene was a very loyal apostle of Christ, and the first person to witness his resurrection, so she is special in these ways, but partly just through being there first-hand for this visit of the relic she had a big impact on me.

Dean Grey said...

I can tell she had an impact on you just from this post!

I'm glad you got to see the relic firsthand, Mona!

-Dean

Carol Andre' said...

Beautiful post Mona, I'm not Catholic, but I would have loved to experience this. Absolutely love your Aix en Provence Madonna and Child also. Your work is nothing short of incredible.