Friday, 5 October 2012

Catholicism in the "New World"

"Divino Niño Jesús," by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Mexico, Central and South America along with the Caribbean Islands have all contributed their special devotions and saints to the universal Catholic Church.  Today I would like to focus on two of the more familiar ones.  The first is the Divino Nino as pictured above.

The Divinio Nino, as He is called, is a popular devotion in Mexico, Central and South America.  The origin of this particular image goes as follows:

In Bogota, in the year 1914, the Salesian Friars were collecting money for the building of the new cathedral.  One of the priests, Padre Juan del Rizzo, was full of pride and very reluctant to beg and suffer the embarrassment that he was sure would ensue.  Thus, he returned each day with an empty purse.  He was reprimanded by his Superior and resolved to do better.  The next morning before setting out on his route, he went first to the chapel where he prayed before the Blessed Sacrament.  Then he turned his attention to Our Lady's statue nearby.  As he prayed for her intercession, he looked up and to his amazement saw the Christ Child in her arms suddenly come to life.  The Child Jesus opened his arms wide and said with a smile, "why not take Me with you?"  As Padre Juan resolved to do that very thing, he suddenly felt an inflowing of such grace that he almost floated out of the chapel.  From that day on, he always brought home more than the others because in his heart he found he now loved to beg on behalf of the Divino Niño Jesús.  Soon others learned of his vision and they, too, came to pray at the statue of Our Lady and her Divine Child.  Many miracles occurred there until finally a separate statue was made of the Child and He was given His own shrine.  Over the years since, this devotion has grown throughout the entire Catholic world -- which is universal.

Next, just as in Europe, there are a number of images of the Black Madonna found in the Americas that have a great following in their respective countries.  The people in those countries have found that when praying at one of these shrines, their faith is increased and miracles occur as they entrust their prayers to the Blessed Mother, asking her to "clean up" their requests before she presents them to her Son.

"Black Madonna" (Spanish-American Traditional), by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Above is one of the many versions of such Black Madonnas.  Of course, the best known "Black Madonna" is Our Lady of Czeshtochowa, found in Poland.

Icon, Our Lady of Czeshtochowa, by the
hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009
 Perhaps one of the better know "Black Madonnas" of the Americas is found in Costa Rica under the title of "La Negrita".

"August 2 is a Costa Rica national holiday as upwards of 1.5 million people make the annual pilgrimage to a Roman Catholic basilica in a rural town of Cartago to pay respects and homage to the country's patron saint, La Negrita. Many of the faithful travel by bus but thousands and thousands walk the twelve miles between San Jose and Cartago. Within the Roman Catholic church rests a black stone carving of Mary and Jesus reportedly dating from 1635 when, it is said, a poor, dark skinned peasant woman came across the statute sitting atop a boulder along a small stream. She took the statute home only to find it missing the next day and, yes, reappearing on the same boulder. Again and again this happened. She'd take the statue home only to have it reappear on the boulder. Convinced that God was sending a message to the tiny community, a church was built over the boulder. The small black statute of La Negrita rests in a special basilica outside the church. Nearly 190 years ago, La Negrita became the patron saint of this Latin America country and in the mid-1850s Pope Pius IX granted an indulgence to this site. Pope John Paul, who had a well-known love of Poland’s “Black Madonna”, visited La Negrita in the 1980s and prayed before this "Black Madonna" of the new world."  (Taken from the Internet with considerable editing by me)


Braden is Back!

After last week's computer crash, I was without any photos of Braden until his mother kindly sent me some this week.  I had almost reached the point of serious withdrawal so these pictures arrived just in time.  Next posting should include some new photos of me and Braden together!  I can hardly wait.  Anyway, take a look at my favourite guy.

"How do you like my new T-Rex T-shirt?  I am so well-dressed!"

"Here you can get a better look at my shirt and at me.  My mom took this photo at a moment when I was deep in contemplation -- trying to understand everything.  I should have it all figured soon!"

"That last line above was a joke -- did you get it?  I know, I can be very subtle. (That's another  joke!)



Suki staring at a moving object!
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Well, gentle readers, Suki will not be given too much space today as I really want to get all my complaints out there for you to read.  I have really had a rough 4 days!

Well, I guess I can talk about Suki just a bit.  Mainly because I want to tell you about an event which occurred this past week that still leaves me shaking my head each time I remember it.

On Tuesday, I had a visit from a dear friend -- a lady who doesn't really like cats and has in the past both feared and hated them.  She has reached the point in life now where she can be a bit more laid back about things feline which explains why she was visiting me.

My friend was sitting on the sofa while I sat in the wing-back chair now known as Suki's chair.  I had already warned my friend that Suki would probably leave her bed in the other room at some point because I was sitting in her chair.  My prediction was proven true when after about 15 minutes into our visit when Suki strolled out.  First she came and sat in front of me, staring at me in that way which says "why are you sitting in my chair?"  I invited her to share it with me, but she just looked disgusted.

Suddenly, she turned -- seeming to notice my visitor for the first time.  After a moment, she seemed to lose all interest in me and her chair and turned her attention fully on my guest.  As we both watched in amazement, Suki made her way to the sofa. jumped up next to my friend and immediately lay down next to her, getting as close to her as possible.  Suki then curled herself up next to my friend and begin to rub her face against her leg all the while purring loudly.  I have often heard that cats seem to know when a person is uncomfortable around them and will always head for that person's lap, giving them the full cuddly cat treatment. 

Finally I encourage Suki to move, but even then she insisted on sitting on the back of the sofa, not too far from my friend's head.  Fortunately, my friend has made great progress in the "being afraid of cats" area of her life and was therefore able to continue our visit pleasantly.  Since our visit, I continue to wonder though how cats know what they apparently know? Very strange...

Now for my list of complaints...  I really don't feel like writing too much more so I will abbreviate things as best I can.  Here goes.

After not being able to locate my files on my external hard drive, I took everything in to the technicians on Friday.  They searched and searched but they, too, were unable to find anything.  Eventually, I took my computer and my external drive and left (totally unaware that they had failed to put my computer cord in with the various items).  From there I drove my wheelchair to a doctor's appointment some blocks away.  After finishing there, I headed for my pre-op appointment at the hospital.  There I was seen right away but ended up being there from 1 p.m. until 4:30 -- the whole time being questioned, poked and prodded by numerous medical personnel.  Finally, exhausted, I headed for home. 

Getting home was a great relief and I was looking forward to getting on the computer and trying to catch up with some of my email and getting things prepared for today's blog posting.  Then I discovered that my electrical cord was missing.  It was after 5, but I called the store anyway and spoke to a manager who finally agreed to send out my cord by courier this morning.  He did so and it finally arrived about 12:15.  It was at this point that I finally was able to get started finding the pictures and doing research in preparation for my posting.

You see, I ended up discovering where all my pictures are on the external hard drive but each one must be processed individually.  Slowly, I was able to transfer the two drawings I had planned to use for today, but then I had to do the research that I had intended doing last night.  All these research files are on the external hard drive somewhere but so far I haven't located them -- so, all this work had to be re-done.  Now, here it is almost 7:30 and I am just about finished with my posting.

Oh, by the way, for those who are interested, my surgery will be on the 23rd of October and I have to be at the hospital at 6:15 a.m.  The surgery will take 7 1/2 hours and I will be in the hospital for up to 5 days following the surgery.  Sounds like a fun time to me!  Thank goodness for pain medication.  Above all, thank goodness for prayers.  Yes, please be praying for me -- I really need your prayers as I face this new challenge.

Now it is off to feed the cat!  May God's peace and joy fill the hearts of all who read these words.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem

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