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.