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Friday, July 14, 2017

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha by Jan Henryk de Rosen - July 14 (Art)

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Saint Kateri Tekakwitha by Jan Henryk de Rosen 

On April 17, 1680, a young Mohawk-Algonquin woman breathed her last in a mission village on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River in what is now Quebec.  Shortly thereafter the Jesuit missionary Pierre Cholonec witnessed the small pox that had scarred her face in life miraculously disappear:  the first of many wonders testifying to the singular holiness of the first and only Native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha.

In this 1943 mural by Jan Henryk de Rosen, the Lily of the Mohawks takes center stage.  Among a remarkable selection of American saints and missionaries, de Rosen singles out Kateri, her arms extended in prayer, as one of the earliest and most precious fruits of sanctity produced by the evangelization of the North American continent.  

De Rosen's mural is not set upon the lofty walls of a church but in the lobby of the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The close vantage point draws the viewer intimately into the contemplation of a celestial drama, an allegorical representation of the evanglization of the New World...

The choice of figures shows great prescience: when de Rosen started the work in 1942, only one of the group had been beatified; now all but one are canonized saints.  Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized in 2012, Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1975, Martin de Porres, in the rear, had been beatified a century prior, but was canonized only in 1962. Leading the group - as if in liturgical procession - are two missionary priests in full vesture.  To the right stands Junipero Serra, raised to the altars in 2015.  The figure to the left is the only one whose cause for canonization has not yet been introduced: the intrepid Jesuit explorer Jacques Marquette.  He appears to present this flower of holiness to the world on behalf of the Society of Jesus...

The two clergymen flank the saint, as in the mosaics that adorn so many Roman apses. To the right of the sacred enclave stands a resolute Columbus, processional crucifix in hand...

The bishop kneeling below, his miter resting upon a cushion as he prays quietly before the heavenly company, is John Carroll, the first bishop of the United States...

(Father Alek Schrenk, Priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Penn, Excerpt from the Magnificat July 2017, Vol. 19, No. 5) 

For devotional items related to the Catholic Faith please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures

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