"Dark and Beautiful," an exhibit of paintings by Father Jim Hasse, S.J.,
will be on display at The Marian Library Gallery from February 1 - March 20,
2006. Click here to view the
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On Ash Wednesday
Conclusion of the address Benedict XVI delivered during the general audience in
Saint Peter's Square
Vatican City, March 1, 2006
May Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, who is teacher of listening and faithful adherence to God, accompany us on this
journey of penance. Purified and renewed in mind and spirit, may the Virgin Mary help us to celebrate the great mystery
of Christ's Pasch. With these sentiments I wish all
a good and fruitful Lent.
Approach Lent With a New Spirit
Vatican City, February 26, 2006
In comments before the Angelus, Benedict XVI spoke of
the forthcoming period of Lent and concluded saying: "May our guide and teacher
in our Lenten journey be Mary Most Holy, who, when Jesus went with determination
to Jerusalem to suffer the passion, followed him with total faith. As a "new
amphora" she received the "new wine" prepared by the Son for the messianic
betrothal (cf. Mark 2:22). And, in this way, she was the first to receive under
the Cross that grace, poured out by the pierced heart of the son, incarnation of
the love of God for humanity, that she herself, had requested with a mother's
instinct for the bride and groom of Cana (cf. "Deus Caritas Est," Nos. 13-15).
[After praying the Angelus, the Pope made this appeal:]
May all, through the intercession of the Holy Virgin, again
encounter him, who is authentic peace!
Benedictine Shrine to Celebrate Jubilee Year
Montserrat, Spain, February 26, 2006
Benedict XVI has granted a Jubilee Year to the
Benedictine Shrine of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain. Interview With Abbot Josep
Q: The Virgin of Montserrat is patroness of Catalonia. What does this mean in the life of the believer?
Abbot Soler: It means a prolongation of the mystery of the Incarnation in Christian communities placed under Mary's patronage.
She, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, is
present in peoples' lives also through the iconography with which each nation
has wished to express the Virgin's protection over the local Church.
The liturgy says of Mary that "with her holiness, she
honors all Churches." To be patroness means a spiritual relationship made up of
love, solicitous care, and intercessory maternity. At the same time it means to
be a model of Christian life.
Q: How can this year of grace and forgiveness contribute to pacify spirits in Spain?
Abbot Soler: The theme of this Jubilee Year is "Mary,
Mother of Consolation and Hope," because the experience of pilgrims is that the
encounter with her in this shrine, gives them consolation, invites them to draw
near to Christ by celebrating his sacraments and infuses hope in them.
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The director and editors of Mary Page under the auspices of the International
Marian Research Institute do not necessarily endorse or agree with the events
and ideas expressed in this feature. Our sole purpose is to report on items
about Mary gleaned from a myriad of papers representing the secular press.
Small Maine Town Buzzing Over
Virgin Mary Likeness
[Source: Portland Press Herald (Maine), January 22, 2006]
Nestled in a valley on the Androscoggin River, Mexico bills itself as the
Gateway to the Western Mountains. Now the town of 3,000 can make another claim
to fame: Home of the latest Virgin Mary sighting.
Ever since an image that some believe is a likeness of the mother of Jesus was
found on Veronica Dennis' dining room wall after a fire at her home last week,
residents have been abuzz.
Some wonder whether their sleepy little town will be turned upside down by an
influx of pilgrims seeking miracles. Others hope the image is an omen of good
things to come. Others are wondering what all the fuss is about.
Word of the sighting soon got out when the local newspaper published a story and
photograph of the image that was beamed around the world by international wire
services. Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland,
was quoted as saying the image was "amazing to look at." By Thursday, Dennis had
become a local celebrity and townspeople had begun to refer to her home as "the
Overlooking Rumford and the steam-chugging Rumford Paper Co., Mexico appears
largely unchanged from the Depression-era photographs taken on Main Street that
line the hallway of the municipal building. The Catholic church around the
corner, St. Theresa's, shares one priest with four other parishes in neighboring
Here, opinions appear to be divided about the significance of the image. Some
said they already have been changed by its appearance. Dennis' ex-husband, John,
said he was not particularly religious before the fire. "I am now," he said.
Renee Diconzo of Mexico, a clerk at the One Stop on Route 17, said there is some
sort of miracle going on but she is not just sure what. "I think what is pretty
amazing is that it has been on the front page of the paper three days in a row,"
Fire department truck driver Marc Mayo, who was not at the fire, said the
likeness has a perfectly rational explanation.
"It is just an image from foam and smoke," Mayo said.
Others said they do not know what to think.
"Hopefully it will bring them good things," said Leisa Young, eating lunch at
Dennis, a home health aide in her early 40s, said if nothing else, she hopes the
image is a sign that a run of bad luck that struck on Jan. 13, a Friday, has
On that day, she said, she was let go from her job. The next day her daughter's
boyfriend broke his leg delivering newspapers. On Sunday, as she and her
daughter cleared ice off the driveway in anticipation of his return from the
hospital, a fire broke out inside when a space heater ignited a bed.
Within minutes the house filled with smoke, flames crept up the walls and the
heat started to melt the green siding.
When the fire had been put out by the largely volunteer Mexico Fire Department
and the smoke had cleared, Dennis was allowed back in to collect a few personal
items. The house was a wreck, filled with broken glass and burned furniture.
Dennis and her family started pulling down singed family photographs and other
pictures from the walls to take away. What they found behind a framed print of a
palm tree made everyone gasp: Etched into the wall was an image resembling the
"I've never seen anything like it," said Fire Chief Gary Wentzell.
Wentzell said the image was much clearer than the famous grilled cheese sandwich
that some say is emblazoned with the image of the Virgin Mary. That sandwich
fetched $28,000 on eBay.com.
He said it was even more eerie when one of the firefighters picked a statue of
the Virgin Mary off the floor and held it next to the image. "And it was the
same size as the painting," said Wentzell, Mexico's fire chief since the early
For Dennis, the image has been a mixed blessing. She said she is amazed and
stunned by it, which she fervently believes is a miracle. But she said she is
terrified that pilgrims will descend on her house.
"I can't have people running out and in," said Dennis, a divorced mother of two
All week her neighbors kept a close eye on the place. Police stepped up patrols
by the house, after a neighbor reported someone pulling down the plywood nailed
over the windows. It turned out to be the insurance adjuster. But a steady
stream of curiosity seekers driving by convinced Dennis to take action.
That is why she and her friends returned to the pitch black house Thursday
night, rigged up a generator and cut the panel with the image free from the
wall, with permission from the insurance adjuster.
That is how it wound up somewhat worse for wear in the back seat of her
friend Meggan White's Saab sedan Friday morning, protected by an umbrella and
several blankets. The two tried to blow off some of the dust with a hair dryer.
They said they haven't figured out what to do with it yet.
Only a handful of people have seen the image in person. It appears reddish gold
by flashlight and a smoky greenish blue by daylight.
Dennis had said she does not intend to cash in on the image. But now she's
apparently on the fence. The Sun Journal in Lewiston reported Saturday that she
would consider selling the item. The article even included Dennis' phone number
for prospective buyers.
"I wouldn't even know how to preserve the thing," Dennis told the newspaper. "If
someone wants it, why not share it."
New Interpretation of Traditional
[Source: The Korea Herald, January 16, 2006]
With different styles but a common goal of finding cultural identity in art,
two Korean female artists will show their interpretations of traditional images
at their upcoming exhibitions.
Sunny Kim's "Perfectly Natural" and Kim Eun-jin's "The Wicked Icon" are separate
exhibits but organized together by the Ilmin Museum of Art because the two offer
realistic paintings through traditional images.
Sunny Kim, who spent most of her youth in the United States until graduate
school, is famous for using traditional Korean images in her Western-style
Art critics here associate her name with Korean school uniforms which Sunny Kim
used to express political or social repression.
Now, however, her paintings are peaceful landscapes, reminding visitors of
Korea's past natural landscape. "The title 'Perfectly Natural' perfectly matches
my intention. This time, I'm trying to throw away strong images that I used to
put in my earlier paintings," she told The Korea Herald.
The first painting that greets visitors is "Floating World," where a pair of
pine trees are surrounded by pale but peaceful looking hills. She used Korean
embroidery patterns such as birds to reach a point of perfection.
Sunny Kim said she found it ironic that that a perfect image could also be fake.
"A perfect landscape that I created can be another creation of a fake. Isn't it
funny?" said the Korean-American artist. On the upper floor at the gallery, Kim
Eun-jin's oriental works stun viewers as provocative distortions of religious
icons are vastly spread out on the gallery wall.
Twisting "holy" images of Catholic icons and taking a mischievous look at
sexuality, Kim Eun-jin creates the wicked icons taken from various traditional concepts.
Paintings like "The Virgin Mary has a headache" or "Jesus, adorning himself with
jewels" directly question what holiness is. Asked if she is religious, Kim
Eun-jin said she is Protestant.
"I don't mean to attack Catholics or anything. The reason I chose Catholic icons
is because Catholics have developed abundant cultures in terms of art," she
One hand of the Virgin Mary in her painting is stained with blood which
symbolizes man's sin and the other hand wears a holy-looking white glove.
Between the two, the Virgin Mary is in so much in pain that her face is falling
On the other wall, two pigs--a symbol of a male body and female body--look at
each other, wearing crowns and jewels. "I think the weight of a body is the same
as that of a soul. People tend to put more weight on the soul especially when it
comes to religion. But I don't think so," said Kim Eun-jin. Another interesting
catch is the twist of the sexuality depicted by the pigs.
The seemingly "pretty" one is actually male and the "ugly" other is female.
Viewers might question if the paintings are indeed based on oriental materials.
Yes, they are; they are the outcome of constant oriental brushing and pigmenting
on Korean paper. "It took so much time to produce colorful backgrounds on Korean
paper, which is not a very ideal material for pigmenting," said the artist.
The director of the gallery, Kim Hee-ryung, said that the efforts to reproduce
traditional motifs and painting techniques in modern terms are crucial to the
development of visual culture. "We will continue to support those efforts," said
Sunny Kim's "Perfectly Natural" and Kim Eun-jin's "The Wicked Icon" will be held
at the Ilmin Museum of Art in central Seoul from Jan. 20 to Feb. 19. It will be
open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed Monday. The gallery is near Exit 5 at
Gwanghwamun Station on Subway Line No. 5. For more information, call (02)
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