The central theme is that of the Pietà: Mary, Queen of Martyrs offers her Son, the very model and epitome of martyrdom to the world. Behind her, the victorious cross stands tall. At the foot of the rock, which points out that Christ’s passion and death are the foundation of the Church, a group of saint martyrs are gathered in praise of Christ’s sacrifice. We are able to make out Saint George, the dragon slayer, Saint Lawrence with the grill, and Saint Thomas Becket whose head is pierced by a sword. To the right of the rock we see the kneeling figure of Saint Jerome flanked by the lion. He lived like a lion in the desert (asceticism) and fought like a lion for Christ. Thus, he gave his heart to his Lord and Savior (plate with heart and Christ monogram) and stands for unbloody martyrdom.
Our Lady receives the crown of martyrdom from the hands of Saint Bernard. The hearts transfixed with a sword refer to his famous expression: “O beata mater, animarum gladius pertransivit. Alioquin nonnisi eam pertransiens, carnem filii tui penetraret” (In Dom. Oct. Ass., 14), here shortened as “Tuam ipsius animam.” Mary’s soul receives the lance that could no longer touch her Son. The lemma highlights Mary’s spiritual martyrdom paraphrasing Revelation 17:6, “Her clothes are purple from the blood of the holy ones and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.”