In my Catholic childhood, iconography was a part of everyday life. At French Catholic grammar school, in the church and chapel, there were religious statues everywhere. Like the rosary, they served as prompts to prayer.
Though no longer a practicing Catholic, I can sometimes find comfort and reassurance in these iconic images. Back when the world was still a wide open plain, uncomplicated and full of possibility, those serene faces watched and waited.
In the neighborhood there were homes with a Virgin Mary statute standing inside a stone shell in tidy front yards. The inside of the shell was usually color washed a soaring sky blue. Blue is the color associated with the Blessed Mother, for reasons I’ve long forgotten.
In the Spring, flowers often bloomed in the grass around her. Perhaps her tears of sorrow helped them grow? She was the Lady of Sorrows, after all.
The petal-soft pastels of the time-worn Mary figures here is soothing. I like to think they’ve been well loved, and become more precious in the process. On Good Friday, Mary gently reminds us that there is something beyond the long night, the broken heart, the pierced hands.