PJ and I are delighted to have a second exhibition at the Shrine of Maria Stein in Maria Stein, Ohio. We are displaying twenty-four images of the Romanesque Sedes Sapientiae madonnas, including several Black Madonnas, from February 1 to May 31st.
These Vierges have some interesting characteristics; Mary is not usually a young mother, but a mature woman. The child is small, but is not depicted as an infant or a baby, but rather more like a small adult. Both look directly ahead at the beholder. In few of these sculptures will we find the maternal warmth of the Renaissance Madonna and Child or the sorrow of the Mater Dolorosa. Instead, there is often a distant look, as if Mary is looking into the future, into the sacrifice that will be demanded of both herself and her Son. When taken as a set, these Throne of Wisdom madonnas carry enormous symbolic power, which I find compelling. In the reborn and rejuvenated Romanesque world of France, these images symbolized the saving grace of the Church, and the protective embrace of one they considered the Mother of us all.
We will be hosting a reception at the venue on March 16, 2019 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. If any of our readers are in the area, we would love to visit with you. We will be discussing the photographs in the exhibition and the wonders of these sculptures.
The Shrine of Maria Stein is located at 2291 St. Johns Road, Maria Stein OH 45860. Mother Maria Anna Brunner founded the Sisters of the Precious Blood in 1834 in Switzerland. The congregation expanded to the United States in 1844 and eight Precious Blood Sisters began perpetual adoration at Maria Stein on Sept. 24, 1846. Maria Anna Brunner’s son, Father Francis de Sales Brunner, was the leader of the Society of the Precious Blood. He was a collector of relics and dedicated to rescuing these fragments from the political chaos in Italy at the time. His collection and others acquired during the course of the 19th century made the Maria Stein Relic Chapel collection the second largest in the United States with 1,100 relics, exceeded in number of relics only by Saint Anthony’s Chapel in the Troy Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh with five thousand.
The Sisters of the Precious Blood administered the Shrine until 2016 when it was entrusted to a non-profit foundation.
We have an exhibition catalog for these photos that is available for purchase. If you are interested, please go to this link.