Sunday, 20 January 2013

Our Lady -- Hope of Africa

Icon "Our Lady:  Hope of Africa", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

While working with Fr. Herald Brock, cfr, online, in 2010 (I think) in the development of my icon "Our Lady of Sudan", I developed an strong desire to express in an icon an image under the title "Our Lady --Hope of Africa.  This desire has not left me.

Above is my most recent effort and this image leaves me feeling just a bit more satisfied than any of my previous efforts.  I think the reason why might be because I used a photo of Immaculee Ilibagiza (see below) as my model for Our Lady.  Her face is so expressively African to me -- although I am aware of how widely the faces of African women vary over the length of that huge continent.  At any rate, this effort seems to leave me a bit more settled in this strange desire to draw this particular image.

It really is strange, you know, that I feel this way.  I am not African.  I have never been to Africa.  My only legitimate connections to Africa are the beautiful teenage girl in Zambia who I have been sponsoring for a number of years and my love of the writings of Alexander McCall Smith "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" author whose novels take place in Botswana!!

Just in case you are not familiar with the name of Immaculee Ilibagiza, here is her photo and a short portion of her biography taken from her web site.  She wrote a book after surviving the Rwandan genocide.  The book is entitled: "Left to Tell" and is one of the best descriptions of the experience of pure evil that I think I have ever read.

Immaculee Ilibagiza
"Immaculée Ilibagiza is a living example of faith put into action. Her life was transformed dramatically during the 1994 Rwandan genocide where she and seven other women spent 91 days huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor's house. Immaculée entered the bathroom a vibrant, 115-pound university student with a loving family - she emerged weighing just 65 pounds to find most of her family had been brutally murdered." (text taken from Immaculee's web site)

Read more at:

Other African icons by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer:

Icon "Our Lady of Sudan", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010

Icon "Our Lady of Kibeho", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
Kibeho, located in Rwanda, is a place where Our Lady began appearing before the Rwandan genocide, warning the people.

Icon, by the hand of S. Thayer,  based on a Latin American image

Icon "The Black Madonna", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


My best friend in Tennessee, her younger sister and me!

The story I had planned to tell you was one which, in the past, I had often told as an example of how very naughty, even amoral, children can be – especially if the adults in a child’s life do not practice what they preach. I would tell this story as a humorous one – telling it in such a way that it made people laugh at a clear example of how even the worst of children can be rescued by the grace of God.

As I prepared the second instalment for today’s posting, however, I became very aware, for perhaps the first time, that this is a very sad story – in fact, it really isn’t humorous at all. Let me explain:

(to be continued)


Sorry folks, but there is no Braden or Suki or Sallie this time.  I have simply run out of energy.  I will fill you in on all that has been going on next time.

My the peace of God surround us all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where can I purchase a large print of Our Lady Hope of Africa? My classes at Salesianum, a Catholic High School of 1000, is sponsoring a 7 year old from Kenya.

Our last sponsored child Rogelio from Guatemala recently graduated from the program. We used his yearly pictures as a border around a icon of Our Lady of Guatemala in order to build solidarity with him as he grew. We would like to do the same for Francis from Kenya and your icon of Mary would be perfect.

Email me info at