I feared Rebecca’s Monday Mornings With Mary had been discontinued, but was delighted to find that she has this feature up and running. So, here's my contribution for this week.
Right in our own neighborhoods, art abounds of Mary and the divine feminine if we choose to seek them out. Though I have seen her in countless forms in my travels, I always seek and find her purposely or serendipitiously when I’m simply out in the ‘hood.
Below is a recent photo of the bronze sculpture of Mary and Jesus in the new St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Rancho Palos Verdes. I don’t attend this church, but went to a Christmas sale there recently and had not yet seen the newly dedicated church designed by female architect Shelly Hyndman.
There has been a lot of controversy over the building of this $18 million parish, but they had clearly outgrown their former church originally meant to be a parish center 50 years ago. I poked around in it taking photos for about a half hour and also soaking up the vibes it evoked in me. It’s a minimalist church and as an artist and appreciator of art, I would love to find out more about it all.
When Googling, I couldn’t find any links to this sculpture’s creator and very little about the actual architecture and the art within the magnificent structure. The Catholic newspaper, "The Tidings" did say, “The new 870-seat church, dedicated last weekend, is described by building committee chair Lisa Counts as ‘a cutting-edge 21st Century design.’ It features several fish-shaped elements, including the baptismal font, the tabernacle, and the giant windows behind the altar.” An article in the "Daily Breeze," the local paper, mentioned the following, “The Eucharistic Christ and others depicted on the giant stained glass windows that grace the main entrance depicting the Seven Sacraments, is a creation of liturgical artist Isabel Piczek that previously adorned the old church.”
Regardless of the politics behind the building of this new parish, I found the bronze Mary to be very beautiful in her simplicity. She sits in a small side chapel. A more classic white Mary, from the old parish I believe, stands in front of the unusual structure. By the way, I was one of the people vehemently opposed to the building of the new Cathedral in Los Angeles, Our Lady Queen of the Angels, many years ago. I kvetched that the millions spent was irresponsible when it could be used to help other people and for social justice, but--the Cathedral is a work of art and has become a gathering place in downtown Los Angeles for everyone. I love this church. So, I'm off my soap box about building what seem to be ostentatious churches. It's not my business to ask why, but to accept that these churches and their interiors as works of art.
Just because I think the baptistery in this new church is so beautiful, I’m including a photo of it below. If you have not yet visited St. John Fisher Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, it's right up there with making sure you see Frank Lloyd Wright Jr.'s Wayfarer's Chapel when you are in this area.