This group of programs finds its inspiration in the image of the Virgin Mary--a model of love and compassion. The programs look at frequently depicted scenes from her life (The Annunciation, The Visitation), her emotional and spiritual challenges (The Sorrows and Compassion of Mary), her miraculous appearances around the world (Visions of the Madonna), and symbolic gardens dedicated to her in painting and landscape design (The Art and Beauty of Mary's Garden). Those who feel a connection to Mary and/or the Divine Feminine will especially enjoy these programs.
This presentation explores one of the most popular subjects in Christian art: the moment when the angel Gabriel conveys the message to the Virgin Mary that she's to conceive and become the mother of Jesus. We look carefully at the setting and the symbolism of the scene, and also examine a wide range of interpretations of this moment of when the heavenly dialogues with the earthly. Modern artists have proposed some particularly intriguing possibilities that we will discuss.
The Visitation offers scenes of the Virgin Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth while both are pregnant-- Mary with Jesus, and Elizabeth with John (the Baptist). In their greeting and embrace we witness a moment of tender emotion, sisterhood, and deep spirit. Not only are we given the words of “Blessed are you among women…” but also the soaring poetics of the Magnificat, the longest passage put on the lips of any female speaker in the New Testament.
The Sorrows and Compassion of Mary
In this program we look at a variety of Marian imagery associated with compassion, focusing on traditional devotional images of the Virgin Mary found in the Western Catholic and Russian Orthodox Christian traditions. Each type of Mary can be understood to represent a component of compassion. Our explorations include images of the Virgin of Tenderness (expressing Intimacy), Madonna della Misericordia (expressing Protection), Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (expressing Grace), and (Immaculate Heart of Mary (expressing Selfless Love).
Visions of the Madonna
This presentation surveys well-documented apparitions of the Virgin Mary, beginning with the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico and continuing through the 19th and 20th centuries. Our exploration includes Lourdes (France), Fatima (Portugal), Knock (Ireland), LaVang (Vietnam), Vailankanni (India), Akita (Japan), Medjugorje (Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Zeitoun (Egypt).
The Art and Beauty of Mary's Garden
A workshop exploring the world of Mary's garden--a sacred space of spiritual integration, illumination, and mystical marriage. We'll learn about the enclosed garden's metaphoric, symbolic, and spiritual dimensions, and see how it was represented in beautiful late medieval and renaissance art. Scripture, poetry, music, and prayer will be our guides as we uncover the development of the sacred garden. You'll be introduced to the individual plants and flowers that represent Mary's virtues, along with the symbolism of the mystic rose and rose garden. The day will include a look at medieval garden design as well as contemporary Mary gardens. There will be practical suggestions on how to plant and nurture a contemplative Mary garden of your own.
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