A Virgin a Day
December 6, 2011
A Virgin a Day is a daily recognition of The Blessed Virgin Mary. It celebrates the first 12 days of December as the month leads us to the Feast Day of the Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose Feast day is celebrated on December 12th. You can see more of her image at Rebecca’s recuerda mi corazon blog. Click on any of the images in this post to enlarge and see detail.
This first print was found at the annual Mexican Independence Day Fiesta in the small town of Mesilla, New Mexico, near Las Cruces. I travel there often when I visit the land of enchantment. I love the town square and the Basilica of St. Albino. During the celebration, held in the esteemed town square, one of the vendors, a fellow named Perez, was selling prints. He had many for sale. I couldn’t resist the one shown above of Our Lady.
Called the Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta, The Sixteenth of September Festival, the village of Mesilla commemorates Mexico’s independence. If you ever go, expect to catch folklorico, (folklore) dancing, mariachi music, art and religious goods vendors and authentic Mexican cuisine. You’ll have a really good time.
My usual contact for Saintly artwork when I visit Mesilla is a woman I met many years ago. She sets up a small table in the town square of Mesilla and offers her 5” X 7” paintings of Saints. Her name is Francesca de Garcia and her website is Saintly Gifts. I have four of her small paintings. One is an original of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shown here, that I traded for a Dream Catcher. On the back of each framed print comes a short story about the subject. In this case, it is the brief story about Our Lady of Guadalupe. I wrote about her last year on This Post.
|Francesca Garcia, an artist friend of mine who regularly sets up shop in the town square of Mesilla, NM|
|Some of Francesca's artwork|
Later that same day, we cruised the second hand stores and found a suitable frame for the Perez print. We still haven’t had it matted and placed in the frame, but that will happen before long. I plan on giving this to my sister as a gift to commemorate our mother.
|Our Lady of Guadalupe from Francesca's collection|
|The Story of Juan Diego and his Vision of Gaudalupe , hand written on the back of the print|
Later in the month, on that same visit to New Mexico, we spent the night in Taos and found a gallery that had many paintings and sculptures of Los Dias de Los Muertos, the Days of the Dead, and of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This artist is a woman named Anita Rodriguez. I bought four prints from her collection that evening. Most were Los Dias themed, but one was Our Lady of Guadalupe with three soldiers standing at her feet.
|The print from Anita Rodriguez|
The prints came with Ms. Rodriguez’ card with contact information and a website address. I wrote to her and asked her about then significance of the soldiers with Our Lady. I mentioned in my e-mail that I was a Vietnam Veteran and one of the soldiers was wearing a black beret and the sky blue infantry braid on the shoulder. I went on to mention I was an infantry sergeant and wore these colors. Here is her response:
The original painting was a commission by the father of one of the 3, the one with the black beret, in fact. The purpose is to ask for the blessing of Our Lady of Guadalupe upon the 3 figures in the painting, who are presently in Iraq, to keep them safe and far from the trauma of war. The father, a friend of mine, is to use it as an "ofrenda" or kind of visual prayer - he has placed the painting above an altar where he keeps candles lit, fresh flowers, and places objects that have meaning for him.
You can see the connection to this print that I have. Besides its use as an object of affection I have for Mary, it is also on our ofrenda, come November, for Los Dias de Los Muertos, as it honors the Warrior spirits that have walked before us. This has much meaning to me in my life and seems to be showing me, 40 plus years later, that Our Lady had watched over me as a nineteen year old boy when I was called to duty.
I end this Day 6 of A Virgin a Day sharing with you some of what I have collected over the few short years that I have became enthralled with Mary and her image. As I continue to understand the full meaning to me, I can’t help but to believe that the main influence came to me through my mother and her faith in Mary as the mother of God. It just took a few dozen years to manifest itself. Maybe my heart has something to do with it.
There is something so special about buying work from artists directly...getting their stories and thoughts that went into each beautiful piece. A sacred act in itself.
hope you are getting stronger each day my friend.
I am still reading...I think it's wonderfully appropriate that you found that particular print with the soldiers. Like it was meant to be. Perhaps the Virgin watches over you. I doubt she gives one whit about me though hahaha.
I love Mesilla! I live in El Paso and go to Mesilla when I need to be artistically rejuvenated...a bit closer than Santa Flush (Santa Fe)!! LOL We normally travel on what's called locally, the "old road." Takes you through all these little NM towns and we go through Stahlman Pecan Farm.
I too make retablos and 'Lupita is my fav little virgin...hey, she's one of my "peoples!!" LOL I made a Juan Diego for my mother a few years ago...she's also a firm follower of St. Jude...she's got a watts line to the guy!! Have made a few of him too...especially for my mom.
Anyway, I know who this lady is and her santos are wonderful! I was there for the 16 de Septiembre celebration too. You really need to attend the Dia de los Muertos fair there....fabulous!!
I just love hearing your stories about NM and the people you acquire your art from. The letter from the artist who did the Guadalupe with the service men is so touching and so is the art.
Hope you are getting better and better each day in cold Wisconsin. Next year it will be back to NM for you.
I love this and that you support artists. It is so important to know the stories. Stories are really all we have.
I love the print that you bought near the Basilica of St. Albino. It is so soft and Our Lady's face is so youthful and round. The short story written in pen about Our Lady of Guadalupe by the woman who sells "saintly gifts" warms my heart. It is written with love and an unwavering belief in the miraculous. Anita Rodriguez's print of Guadalupe sheltering the three soldiers who are doing a tour of duty in Iraq tears at my heart and I know that it resonates deeply with your dear heart then and now. How amazing that you should find such a piece of art on your travels. It is indeed an ofrenda for those who live with the trauma of war, in reality and after it is over. Wonderful post, Joe. Thank you.
Peace, Love and Hugs,
The face in this print by Mesilla is so beautiful.. it is expressive and compassionate.. i will visit the artist site! What a fabulous find this post. Your story of Rodriguez's print is beautiful, synchronicity in action. Thank you for sharing such personal stories!
oh my, I meant Fanscesca's print with the soft expressive face, I realize Mesilla is a place :-_ no harm done..
There are no coincidences, so I believe that you found the painting with the soldiers is a happy little miracle. As always with you post, you are keeping me busy looking at other sites...It's fun, and a great excuse not to do the floor sweeping :)
PS: Your comment on my post really meant a lot. I did make it.
And I think your heart has everything to do with it.
All of these paintings are so wonderful and I am definitely going to check out the websites you mentioned ~ I love each one ~ yet the one with the three soldiers spoke to me ~ very special ~ i could go on and on because this is such a special post for me ~ motivates me to continue my "She Spirit' series which I have not shown yet ~ Mary, 'Our Lady' is certainly 'connecting all of us' through Rebecca ~ thanks for sharing ~ namaste, Carol (A Creative Harbor)
I hope you are doing well
your post emanates
loving, radiant energy
interacting with artists
is always a fertile experience
sending peace your way,
xox - eb.
What a wonderful post. I have only been to Mesilla once, but you definitely make me want to go back. Thanks for sharing all of these lovely images.
so interesting, thank you for your service...my eldest brother also served in Vietnam...i love the idea of this father, putting flowers and prayers at the feet of Mary...everyday
What a wonderful post on your faith journey and art you come across... i love the spirit in new mexico and one of my favorite places to visit in america...
Many blessings on your journey
to discover Mary!
Francesca's art looks to be the work of holy hands...
My Lady Comfort
Is it not amazing how all that just flows together and 'fits' into your life today?
I'm sure it does have to do with your heart--G-d's known how good it's been for eons.
for me your post is a perfect round circle! the father now with this painting on his altar his prayers all mixed up in the prayers that guarded over you as a young man in a foreign country. i believe every prayer uttered exists for all time. that is why each time you begin and end your posts for peace you are making a difference in the world we share.
thank you for being here on this mary walk, and for always taking each step of the way for peace.
Wow-the one from the artist in Taos is the kind of thing as we say in Hawaii, "gives you chicken skin". Which is akin to saying goosebumps. Very profound, Joe. And no coincidence that you walked in to that gallery. You have some really good spirit guides!
I lobe Francesca's story. What a pleasure to meet her.
Hi Joe, thank you for today's walk about, this is getting to be a habit as I read whilst having my first cup of tea! Love today's story particularly the bit where you trade your dream catcher for other spiritual items, this would be the way for the ancestors I think and feels right.
Looking forward to more,
Thank you all for your very kind comments. Peace, Love and Light sent to everyone.
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