Monday, 26 April 2010

Our Lady of Soufanieh

Even though I am calling this icon "Our Lady of Soufanieh", it is really somewhat different than the icon that bears that name.  It was the position of the boy, Jesus, and the eyes of Our Lady that drew me to the original and made me want to copy it.  Those two aspects are close to those of the original, but the overall appearance of my drawing is quite different. 

So let me tell you a little bit about why the icon of Our Lady of Soufanieh has become well known.  The icon is named for a small enclave of Christians at the edge of Damascus, Syria.  The area claims to be the location of the house of Ananias who went and laid hands on Saul of Tarsus so that he could regain his sight (see Acts 9:1-18).  As well, it is near the mosque which contains the tomb of St. John the Baptist.  However, starting in 1982, it became famous for an icon of the Virgin Mary and her child that suddenly  started discharging a sweet-smelling oil.  At the same time, an 18 year old woman begin to have visions of Our Lady and showing different indications that appeared to be signs from God.  Most importantly, people using the oil and praying with the young woman and/or a copy of the icon began to be healed.

In a sworn statement from a local priest, we find the following:  "Prayer has not ceased a single day since November 27, 1982, regardless of the time or the circumstances.... People who come for the first time to Soufanieh are moved by the fervour of the believers.  Entire lives are totally transformed.  Spiritual conversions are very numerous and are much more important than physical cures, yet very real.  As for Myrna (the young woman I mentioned), she has kept her ingenuity and simplicity despite the many opportunities which could lead her into becoming haughty.  She is the mother of two children..."

Of all the messages Myrna has received from the Virgin Mary, the following one best expresses the overriding desire for unity that God desires from His Church:  "The Church is the kingdom of heaven on earth.  Whoever has divided it, has done great wrong; whoever has rejoiced in such division, has also done great wrong."

This next item I want to show you is a photo that was taken of me in 1968 by my friend and professional photographer, Dennis Adams of Rochester, NY.  This was one of Dennis' photos that the world famous photographer, Ansel Adams, saw and was very impressed with.  If you want to know more about Dennis, his current work or his correspondence with Ansel Adams regarding this and other photos, go to his web site.

I may have held the world record for the most freckles on one face in the summertime!

Here I am with this crazy cat I live with.  She does not believe in sitting in my lap; instead, she wants to be held like a baby which enables her to lick my ear with her sandpaper tongue!  

This photo was taken this past Sunday as I sat in my living room with my godson and his wife.  They couldn't believe how quickly Suki jumped up on me and made her way to my shoulder.  They really laughed when she started washing my ear -- whether at her antics or at the expression on my face, I am unsure.  Anyway, you can see that Suki is now doing very well indeed.

May peace be with you all.

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