Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

A Virgin a Day
December 1, 2010

A Virgin a Day is the title of this Meme Project. It is a tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe. To participate, see Rebecca’s recuerdo mi corazon blog. There, you will get more definition and instructions as well as see other’s submissions. 

I have always had a fascination with the image and statues I’ve seen of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I never knew why I liked this art form so much, but after my Mother went on her final journey home last February, I realized it was her influence and her faith that has kept me interested and somewhat knowledgeable, about Our Lady. If you care to, you may look at this as religious, or you may see it as art for the sake of art. 

I make no assertions about anything to anyone as far as my own faith or (lack of) religion with these posts. I simply dedicate my involvement with this Virgin Business to my Loving Mother, Carmelina Rosa Caruso Spado. Just to be talking about the Blessed Virgin Mary would make her proud of me.
We will start today, December 1st, with an image on a Colcha of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. More about Colchas later. We'll end on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12th. If you are not familiar with Feast Days, well, then you obviously aren’t, or weren’t raised as, a Catholic. Here is a Saint a Day site that lists names of Saints and their Feast Days. It’s actually quite interesting, and might even be useful for the Catholics among my readers that need a refresher about Saints days. By the way, HERE is information about the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the main subject of this entire Meme Project.
For the first day of this Meme, I’d like to show you some photos I took inside the El Camino Real Cultural Heritage Center just South of Socorro, New Mexico. The center is along I-25 at exit 115. This Cultural Center lies along the original El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, The Royal Road of the Interior Lands. You can get a sense of the 1500 mile trade route journey from Zacatecas, Mexico to Santa Fe, New Mexico with a visit to this heritage site.
One of the displays was of a colcha. A colcha is a woven wool mat, banner or blanket that has a design embroidered with wool. Wool on wool, if you will. This is a colonial art form. Much more about colcha embroidery can be found by clicking on this highlighted area
This particular colcha is entitled Nuestra Senora de Socorro, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. By the way, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is on June 27th. The word Socorro means “Help” or “Aid”. In June of 1598, Juan de Onate led a group of Spanish settlers through the region using the Jornada del Muerto, the journey of death, an inhospitable patch of desert that ends just South of what is now present day Socorro, NM. The local Piro Indians gave the travelers food and water, saving them from dehydration, hence the name, Socorro.
Here is my Virgin of the day. Nuestra Senora de Socorro embroidered by the Secorro Colcha Embroidery Group.
Beautifully woven wool on wool. Our Lady of Perpetual Help
(Note: All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them)
This sign posted information about the exhibit

This colcha measures approximately 16" X 22"

In the days to come, there will be more artwork of Our lady. I won’t be able to do one every day as I will be on the road and traveling to Washington DC, and be gone about a week starting tomorrow. I’ll resume my postings of Our Lady and tend to this Virgin Business upon my return.
Peace to All


Mel said...

Yup--I'm thinking your mama is pretty proud. But I'm thinking that's true overall.

What a lovely tribute and what a pretty piece of artwork.
I can't say I know much of the Saints--a bit here and there of a few I've managed to cross paths with (figuratively, of course). Some of the practices they brought forward are excellent disciplines.

I hope your journey is a safe one--and that the weather holds out. Lovely weather that it's been! ;-)

Be safe, stay well, sir!

Jeannie said...

As a non-Catholic, although I went to Mass many many times with my best friend growing up - her family was not so much into the Virgin - the icons - and all that - I'm afraid the whole thing is just a curious religious practice to me - not much different than the Sphinx etc. I have seen a number of sites whose owners are fascinated even if they lack the faith. I suppose there must be a connection with some people regardless.

rebecca said...

i love your post here. every word and detail. i love your mother, through you,
Carmelina Rosa Caruso Spado.

already, with or without religion,
we are in the state of honoring, reflecting.
already...this simple idea of sharing, is a blessing.

travel safe friend.
i look forward to your return. and the stories you will so generously share.


english inukshuk said...

ooooh! I'm looking forward to more of these


(love the emroidery!)

travel safe


Meri said...

What a beautiful embroidery! And I know your mama is smiling and saying, "Such a good boy!"

I didn't grow up Catholic. We Protestants didn't feel much saintly influence except in how we chose to name churches: St. Mark's Cathedral, an Episcopal place in Seattle on Capitol Hill, comes to mind. And I always felt like in the Christian religion I grew up in and the Jewish roots from which it sprang, women were something of an afterthought. They were necessary as obedient wives and mothers, but inconvenient otherwise.

The female saints, virgins or not, just go to prove you can't keep a good woman down.

Stephanie said...

tending to this virgin business...too funny.

Once again you have regaled us with this wealth of information so much from you heart...I love that your mother would be have been so happy to see this.

I am a little jewish girl who has had a long fascination with this virgin business :)

turquoise cro said...

GodSpeed! I LOVE your mother's name, soOOOOooo pretty! I'm glad YOU are making her happy today with the Virgin business! hehe I LOVE embroidery soOOOo I'll be coming back later to click onto that embroidery and other links too!! Thank YOU!

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Yes, your mother is BEAMING at you right now! Thanks for all the links. I have yet to make it to the Camino Del Real, but plan to. Most likely in 2011.
Images of saints became a practice during the Renaissance era. It isn't at all about idolatry as many would like to think. The image is an exemplary-a visual reminder to be more like that saint. We humans need constant reminders and religious art serves that purpose. It gives one something more 'concrete' to latch on to.
You are off to a great start! Thanks for all the info!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I learned a lot from your post and am looking forward to learning even more.

Unknown said...

There are a lot of saints days in Portugal, though the old traditions I recall as a young child are dying out in all but the smallest of towns. I recall bonfires in the street and roasting chestnuts, laughing, dancing and eating. Vaguely. Growing up in a western Mass town with a huge Portuguese population, there is an annual candlelight procession to the site where Our Lady of Fatima is located. That is way more solemn, of course. :-) Not at all sure which saint the bonfire party of my childhood was associated with.

As it turns out, born in a highly Catholic country and growing up in a very Catholic town in the U.S., my father was essentially an Atheist who started to turn soft as he aged. My mother believed in Jesus and Mary and the Saints but she only attended church for weddings and baptisms and such.

Okay. Now that I've given my whole religious biography! I'm done. Sorry to ramble on. :-)


Noelle Clearwater said...

A beautiful tribute to Guadalupe and to your mom who I am sure would be proud of you regardless. Wonderful information too, Joe. I am very familiar with the feast days as I was raised Catholic although I am no longer practicing. I love the Guadalupe you posted on Sunday. I had a look at it. Wow! Simply splendid!
Have a safe journey to D.C. and back.

Spadoman said...

Thank you all for visiting here and for your beautiful comments. My Mother would also be proud of me that I have such wonderful friends, (and that they all love Our Lady).
I won't be back until next week, but I'll get Virgin a Day posts in for the last 6 days of this Virgin business. Please make your way back here, I have some excitement planned.