Mother of All People
The message underlying the painting, Mother of All People, is that all races, religions and cultures are one human family under God.
At the very top of the painting, one can see a Cross with two figures beneath it. The two figures represent Mary, the Mother of Jesus and John the beloved apostle. When the Lord told John to behold his mother and Mary to behold her son, he gave his mother to the entire human race - to all generations to come, symbolized by the crowds coming down the mountains.
The crowds also symbolize the refugee status of so many of today's people. It is estimated that there are over fifty million refugees across the globe. Just behind the Blessed Mother are past and present world's leaders. Visible to the eye in the left hand corner of the painting are Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Senator Edward Kennedy and former Defense Secretary, Richard Cheney. In the opposite corner, one see Soviet President Boris Yeltsin, former French President Francois Mitterand, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and Queen Elizabeth.
The foreground belongs to the children as will the kingdom of heaven, according to Jesus Christ, who said one cannot enter into the kingdom unless one becomes like a little child.
The children also represent the future and the hope that they will make the world a more peaceful and loving abode than their forbears have. The innocence of childhood is ironically portrayed by the guileless face of Saddam Hussein as it was at the age of ten. He is the black-haired boy just beneath the right hand of the Holy Mother. Although many of the faces are anonymous, many are not. The Chinese girl cradling an American boy in lavender trousers is a world-renowned violinist. The lively blond with the swing yellow hair, next to the very sad African is English Princess Beatrice. To her left is a former Senator Charles Percy's grandson Gavin. Behind Gavin is the artist's daughter, Kelly. Just beneath Gavin is the artist's husband Bill at a very tender age.
The towering figure in the picture is, of course, the Virgin; Mother of Jesus Christ, now Mother of All People, Jesus' final gift to the world from the Cross. In this painting, she is presented as the strong, protective female presence: teacher, nurturer, powerful, fearless. Above all, loving.
The Cloud encircling the Mother and all the children symbolizes the all persuasive Presence of the Father.
Victor for All People
Victor for All People portrays the radiant joy of good triumphing over evil; the ultimate victory of the Cross.
"Though Jesus is frequently seen as the Man of sorrow, He is too seldom pictured as the reason for joy. Yet it is He who reminds us that unless we come as little children, we shall not attain heaven. Laughter and children are synonymous, even in war-time.
"It was the newspaper photograph of children in Sarajevo gleefully waving the V-sign as the brutal Balkan war raged around them that provided much of the inspiration for this painting.
"Children who are the chief victims of battle are also the most resilient, ever read to mock evil; perhaps the most devastating blow to a bully.. They are the embodiment of the Lord's admonition 'Be not afraid'.
"The children of Sarajevo are prominent in the foreground of the painting; their figures extending the Victory sign. Christ's fingers are seen in the same extension. The Savior's fingers joined to the Creator's, form a triangle, symbolizing the Trinity as well as victory won by love. The Cross is a radiant rainbow. Children often draw rainbows to portray happiness and hope which is what the Cross brought to humanity.
"The multiplicity of races is indication of the fact that the Savior comes to rescue all human beings, regardless of skin, culture or religion."
Madonna Of The Unborn
"My husband and I were on our first spiritual journey to Medjugorje. On November 10, 1988, while praying on the Hill of Apparitions where Our Lady first appeared, I saw the sun spinning and pulsating. In the center of the sun I saw a monstrance holding a host, with rose colored rays emanating around it. I instinctively took a snapshot, hoping to capture this extraordinary phenomenon on film.
"When the film was developed, I saw the outline of the figure of the Madonna when I turned the photo vertically. Then, as I looked more carefully at the horizontal view, I observed what appeared to be a human fetus. I found the relationship between this photograph and the current pro-life issue rather startling."
One year later, in November, 1989, Peggy Stanton, a journalist and artist from Washington, D.C., phoned to say she had just been given a copy of the photo. She asked permission to transform it into an oil painting to be included with seventeen other pieces she was painting. Her work centered around a theme, "Peace On Earth, A Pilgrim Paints Medjugorje." It was Peggy who titled the photo, Madonna of the Unborn. The painting is beautiful. Presently it is on display at the Marian Home of Prayer, Washington D.C., as part of an extraordinary Medjugorje Art Collection. Peggy then sent the print to a medical doctor, Matthew J. Bulfin, M.D. (OB-GYN), of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He confirmed its striking resemblance to an ultrasound of an intrauterine life at the early stages. (SEE LETTER)
"The picture resembles a month-old fetus that seems to be attached, along with an outline of the Madonna, to the umbilical cord.
"I also have in my possession a glass etching of the photo, which I commissioned. It's quite large, is framed in wood, and hangs like a piece of stained glass. It was created by an artist named Peter Davidson, who is also the regional director for John Michael Talbot's Secular Franciscans on the East Coast. In the etching the artist has made the womb a mirror. When one stands in front of it, the mirror reflects that person as being in the womb. So the person seems to become the womb itself, attached to Mary.
"I believe Our Lady is teaching us once again the sanctity of life. In her message of January 25, 1990, she says, 'Pray that you may be able to comprehend the greatness and the beauty of the gift of 'LIFE.' Now this profound message from the Queen of Peace can not only be heard but also seen.
Medical Letter on Picture
Mrs. Peggy M. Stanton
Upon first viewing the striking photo by Nikki Murphy, I immediately captioned it as an ultrasound study of an intrauterine life at its early stages. Upon closer scrutiny the Madonna simulation was most apparent in the area where the nidation site likeness is apparent.
Enclosed are delineations embryologically of the anatomic beginnings of human life as seen in our
leading text books.
Most striking in Nikki Murphy's photograph are the easily identifiable simulations of the amnion
and chorion and the conceptus site.
by Nikki Murphy
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