Saturday, January 14, 2012

In honor of Mary

Salve Regina stained-glass at St Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, MA
Saturday has always been regarded as Mary's Day. In fact in the liturgical calendar, whenever there is no memorial or feast on any Saturday, we can celebrate the Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. More than Jesus, Mary dominates the liturgical calendar all year round with a feast dedicated to her just about in every month of the year. Hundreds, or should I say thousands are the image depicted in her honor, and I share with you today one of my favorites. It is a stained glass window in the St Joseph's Abbey monastic church in Spencer, Massachusetts. It is known as the Salve Regina, because the monks, every evening at 7:40 PM pray Compline (night prayer) in the church. When it is dark outside at around 8 PM, normally between September and May, the Salve Regina is lit up from the outside and the its image dominates the entire church as the monks sing the Salve Regina in Gregorian chant, before walking one by one in front of the Abbot, as he sprinkles them with holy water. I was thankful to spend 6 months with the Trappist monks of Spencer between September 2002 and March 2003, and I looked forward to admiring the image of the Salve Regina, which of course was always visible during the rest of the day, behind the main altar. The stained glass of Mary was crafted by Nicolas Joep, most probably around 1950-1952, when the monastery church was built by the monks themselves.

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