A mission parish of Argentinian order, Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), it commissioned four large new panel icons of the Mysteries of the Rosary; and is the place where in 2010, a statue of Our Lady wept tears of blood.
It is funny how one story leads to another, or perhaps I should say two others. I posted a recent article about my visit to the seminary of the Argentinian order Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) in Washington DC. First, I was contacted by English icon painter, Ian Knowles, who told me that this is the order that had commissioned him to paint icons of the Mysteries of the Rosary for a church run by them in Jordan. It is the Shrine of Our Lady of the Mount.
This was further evidence that the order is committed to the creation of beauty to evangelize the culture, as the description of their charism says, see here, item 5. I wanted to know more about the church and started to dig around. then I found out that it is also that it is the site of a miracle validated by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in which a statue of Our Lady wept tears of blood in 2010. The statue is old, perhaps 150-200 years old, and was purchased by the church shortly before the miracle occurred. In 2014, fellow Argentinian, Pope Francis visited the site of the Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan and the occasion was marked by a gift from IVE of an image of Our Lady of Anjara.
Culture, beauty, prayer and devotion to Our Lady, all aspects of the charism of the order and somehow all of this is entwined in a dynamic mix for the mission of the Church in this one shrine in the Middle East.
For the icons, there are some photos below at the bottom of the blog post. Immediately below is artist Ian with one of the panels in progress (who incidentally I met several years ago when we both attended a class taught by Aidan Hart!) .
I am so heartened to hear of IVE wanting to encourage 'eyes-open prayer' through the commission of these icons. It shows, in my opinion, a true understanding of the New Evangelization as, regardless of the miracle, the simple beauty of each in the church, will encourage a deeper prayer that engages the whole person. This will facilitate a supernatural transformation of the person in Christ and lead, in turn, to the transformation of the culture as each person contributes to it, gracefully and beautifully by simply going about their daily business.
The same can be said of the statue. For all the headlines in connection with the miracle (which I very happy to accept occurred), it is the supernatural transformation of mankind in Christ - partaking of the divine nature - that is the truly astounding fact of the Christian faith; and this is an extraordinary privilege that is open to every single human person and leads to a life of such joy. Sometimes it needs the exceptional, headlining events such as miracles, to inspire the prayer that will engender what I think are the greater, yet so often neglected and misunderstood truths of the Faith.
The account of the miracle is on the National Catholic Register, here. The account of the Pope's visit is on the IVE site, here. The order is devoted to Our Lady with a special devotion to the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Lujan, a South American holy image. What struck me in the account is how Argentinian priest of the order Fr Nammat says quite matter-of-factly that he doesn't know why the miracle should have occurred, except to remark that the 'Arab spring', which began the persecution of so many Christians (and Muslims) in the region began shortly afterwards, and perhaps there is a connection.
Below: Ian's Sorrowful Mysteries, with detail below that.
..and the Joyful Mysteries: