May is the Month of Mary by Mary Jane Miller

 Mary Icons

There are three classic prototypes of Mary Icons, their collective messages point toward a new contemporary kind of trinity. Perhaps the concept of Mary is still undeveloped, as our society has changed her message is still provocative and meaningful. It has been through contemplating her image, and painting icons of her that I have come to realize a deeper mystical message. Her popular iconography may have the keys to how we are to care for creation and one another in the world.

Mary Icon of the Panagia

Mary looks directly at the viewer, beckoning us towards poised stillness and constant prayer with palms extended outward in total surrender to what she receives. She contains the Creator of the Universe in her womb.

Mary Icons of the Theotokos

She is the feminine energy which tenderly nurtures Jesus to become a teacher, rabbi, master and lord. She is the icon which reminds us to love one another, to love life, and to love creation.

Mary Icons of the Hodegitria

Mary becomes a mystical location where we can be taught to give ourselves to God and one another. There, held by the church tradition, we like Mary are called to release to the world what we most love and cherish.

Continue reading “May is the Month of Mary by Mary Jane Miller”

The Fringe is Our Stronghold by Oxana Poberejnaia

oxanaRecently I have come across several stories of women’s fringe spiritual movements or practices. This made me think about the role of outsiders’ or minority views in religions and society.

Patriarchy pushes women and their issues to the margins of society and religion. It seems that there women sometimes invent their own spiritual practices. These allow women to stand their own ground in religious matters, to preserve self-respect and to keep the hope of the highest spiritual attainment.

Quite often these beliefs and practices seem shocking in their bizarreness and their stubbornness not to accept orthodox norms.

Continue reading “The Fringe is Our Stronghold by Oxana Poberejnaia”

Women for a Franciscan World by Dawn Morais Webster

Dawn Morais Webster, the Pope off to his summer palace, Castel Gandolfo. He tells the world he will now become just a “humble pilgrim.”Women: Architects and Engineers of a Franciscan World

This New Year’s Eve I find myself attending Mass at St. Austin’s Church in Austin, Texas. A long way from Hawaii and en route to Argentina which gave us Pope Francis. This Mass is also a celebration of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

This crossing of many currents is perhaps as eloquent a statement as any on where women have traditionally found themselves in the church—up on a pedestal or totally in service to others. Both exalted and silenced. Tradition has not served women in the church as well as women have themselves served the church and the community through many ministries. The male leaders of the church have been happy to raise their eyes heavenward and sing the praises of Mary and the many female saints while consigning the women around them to positions of pure service, if not servitude. Continue reading “Women for a Franciscan World by Dawn Morais Webster”

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