Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Our Lady of China

Icon, Our Lady of China, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Lately, I have been watching a series on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network from the States) on the history of the Church in China.  It has been bloody and gory much like the history of the early Church during the Roman persecutions.  Sadly, the Church in China has not yet reached a point of detente with the State so the persecutions continue -- although not as bloody as in the past.

Before I continue, let me just make a few comments on the icon above.  I made a few significant changes in my version of this icon from the original.  For example, I have the Christ Child making the traditional blessing with his right hand and I also added the cross in his left hand.  As well, I wanted to put some sort of significant pattern on Our Lady's robe so I searched until I found the Chinese characters for the four seasons of the year.  So even though most of us can't read the script, take my word for it, the designs read "winter, summer, spring and fall".  Then, finally, I added the traditional Greek abbreviations for Christ Jesus and Mother of God found on almost all icons.

Now for the icon of Our Lady of China.  There are actually a number of different images with that title and even with a particular image, there are sometimes several different versions.  For example, there is the one I have drawn shown at the 

Icon, Our Lady of China, drawing
by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

beginning of this post and here is another version -- a variation of the same drawing.

In drawing both of them, I added Christian symbols that are not present on the originals.  In the one to the left, I added crosses to the top of the pagoda-like structure as well as the abbreviations for Christ Jesus and Mother of God.

There are three other well-known images that bear the title of Our Lady of China.  I have included them in this post just in case you come across them in your own reading or travel and wonder which one is the real thing!  I guess they all are.

An image known as
Our Lady of China and occasionally
 as Our Lady of Donglu
The image immediately above and the following two images are all sometimes referred to as Our Lady of China, particularly the beautiful drawing above where Mother and Child are both dressed in intricately designed silk tunics of a soft yellow shade.  This image is also known as Our Lady of Donglu.
Our Lady of She-Shan
also known as
Our Lady of China

Our Lady of She-Shan is the proper title for the image to the left, but it, too, is often referred to as Our Lady of China.

This image, by the way, is especially well known for it is the image of Our Lady that was referred to by our current Holy Father.  On May 24, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he had composed a special prayer for Our Lady of Shes-han.  For the text of that prayer, see the link below.

Our Lady of China
based on the
apparition of Our
Lady at Donglu
Then there is the much venerated statue of Our Lady which is said to be based on an apparition of the Blessed Mother at Donglu which was seen by many during the terrible persecutions of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900.  This version is considered to be the more traditional one rather than the figures in the yellow tunics shown above.

We are told that the image appeared in the sky and the Boxers were so terrified that they tried to shoot what was obviously not matter as we know it.  When their bullets did nothing, they turned and ran in fear.  Sadly, it did not convert them on the spot!

Finally,there is simply no way for us to know how many Chinese Catholics and Orthodox have died for their Faith since Christianity first came to the Middle Kingdom 500 years ago now.  In spite of the most brutal tortures imaginable, we know that hundreds of thousands refused to apostatize and deny their Faith.  During the Boxer Rebellion, we know that one completely Catholic village of 3,000 individuals was completely destroyed and all the inhabitants were put to death.

Even today, we know that there are still martyrs to the Faith in China.  While they may not be publicly tortured and slowly and agonizingly put to death, they do suffer the slow death of being imprisoned year after year for refusing to accept the State-supported version of the Catholic Church whose State-appointed Bishops are not in union with our Holy Father and the Magisterium.

I feel a great burden for China and ask that we all pray for that day to come when the Church there will finally be free and fully part of the universal Church.  Here is a prayer to Our Lady of China which you may want to include as part of your own prayers.

Hail, Holy Mary, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Mother of all nations and all people.
You are the special heavenly Mother of the Chinese people.
Teach us your way of total obedience to God's will.
Help us to live our lives true to our faith.
Fill our hearts with burning love for God and each other.
Stir up in our youth an unconditional giving of self to the service of God.
We call on your powerful intercession for peace, reconciliation
and unity among believers and the conversion of the
unbelievers in China and throughout the world,
for God's mercy is our only hope.
Our Lady of China, Mother of Jesus,
hear our petitions and pray for us.  Amen.



Some cats can sleep anywhere!
Well, Suki is sound asleep.  The cleaning lady came today instead of Wednesday and thus Suki was totally unprepared.  This somehow seemed to make the trauma of the vacuum cleaner, etc. that much worse. 

The really sad part about this is that there is no way I can warn her about the upcoming fire alarm test this afternoon.  She is sleeping so deeply that I know she will be jolted awake and be really confused for a few moments.  Hopefully I will be close by so I can shepherd her into the back of the closet where the noise is not quite so terrible.

Actually, I would also like to settle down for a nap about now, but am refraining from it since I do not want to be awakened by that awful sound. 

I am still recovering from all the sedation I was given yesterday when I had the colonoscopy!  The news is good by the way -- no indication of any problems at all.  Thus I have determined that I will never go through this prep and procedure again -- it is just too difficult -- especially the fasting part.  I had nothing but clear liquids from midnight Saturday until after the test was over and I finally woke up in recovery at about 11:30 -- almost 36 hours with only water, Gatorade and jello.

Well, it is over and all the discomfort and fasting fit in perfectly with my Lenten observance.  Now, however, I find I am hungry all the time!

Well, amazingly, Suki just awakened and is now trying to lick my face which means she really wants to be fed.  I guess I should go and feed the both of us.

May Our Lady of China pray for us and may the peace of Almighty God be with us all.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

awesome icon drawings