Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Did The Virgin Assume?

OK. I do know that today, according to the Catholic Church is the "Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven." I apologize for being irreverent. But, it sounded odd to me when a neighbor mentioned that today was "The Virgin's Assumption." I immediately thought — but fortunately didn't say it out loud — 'What did she assume? It must have been something important for there to be a holiday.' 

Yes, it's a holiday. Frutas Faustino is closed, as is just about everything else in the neighborhood. But the churches are open. And around the corner, the Church of Santa Rosalía has been open since early morning so the public can view the Virgin. There was a line out onto the street when we got up this morning. Lots of noise and lots of people on our plaza when we went for breakfast.

We saw José at breakfast. His relief sculpture will not be displayed to the public until September. I think it was a combination of not wanting to diminish "Assumption Day" and also to ensure that more people have the opportunity to see it before it's hidden away in the Cloisters. Most of the population of Sevilla is at the beach for the rest of the month. José, in the meantime, is already at work on another sculpture for the monastery — this one of the Virgin. To go to work, José knocks on a private door in the wall of the monastery. A nun opens the door and formally ushers him into his "studio," a secret room within the cloisters. The nun locks José in this room where he works quietly amid the antiquities. He sees no one but the nun who takes him in and out of the building.

SOMEWHERE BEHIND THESE WALLS, JOSÉ CREATES HIS ART.

It was an unusual experience for me when I entered the Church of Santa Rosalía. A small crowd was gathered around a bed festooned with flowers. On the bed was the statue of the Virgin of Rosalía. Many visitors approached the bed, knelt and kissed the hand of the Virgin, immediately after which a woman cleaned the hand with an anti-bacterial wipe. Except for the wipes, it felt like being at a wake, which I guess is what it's supposed to feel like.

VISITORS KISSED THE HAND OF THE VIRGIN.
A STAFF PERSON THEN WIPED THE HAND WITH AN ANTI-BACTERIAL CLOTH.

I snapped a few pictures and then continued up the street to the Plaza of San Lorenzo to see if there was anything going on there at either the church of the same name or the chapel of Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus of the Great Power). Worshippers were seated in both places. At "Gran Poder," visitors could walk through the back hall behind the statue of Jesus and kiss the base. A staff person stood by with wipes.

PLAZA DE SAN LORENZO.
(STATUE OF SCULPTOR JUAN DE MESA IN LEFT FOREGROUND.)

JESÚS DEL GRAN PODER (CENTER). LOVE THAT HEAVENLY LIGHT.
A SOMEWHAT CONTEMPORARY LOOK TO THE DOME AND PAINTINGS.

Clearly, the Virgin of Santa Rosalía is the big deal today. That's what José had indicated, as well. I headed back home but not without noticing a kitschy window display in the little grocery along the way.

I DON'T THINK THIS IS WHAT THE VIRGIN ASSUMED.
(NOTICE MY SELF-PORTRAIT... BEHIND JESUS, THE CHERUB, AND THE MULTIPLE BUDDHAS.)

20 comments:

  1. the shiney cat at the top right of the grocery window seems out of place...lol

    have a great day

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    1. Monkey Man:
      I was going to crop out the upper shelf, but I thought that silver cat (and the bag of Lays, etc.) just added to the incongruity. Glad you noticed!

      Delete
  2. Wonderful pics as ever, Mitch.

    Regarding the justification behind the feast day of the Assumption, I wonder if the R.C. Church rues that day in 1950 when Pope Pius XII proclaimed EX CATHEDRA (hence declaring it an infallible statement which MUST be true) that the Virgin Mary was assumed BODY and soul into heaven. If her physical body was taken into Paradise , then presumably that place is somewhere physical too. So where could it be? Has the Church any inkling? (And did she then take off like a Saturn rocket?)
    But I'm sure the Church has an answer, which, of course, will also be true.
    Btw: It seems it hasn't quite made up its mind as to whether she died first or was removed in a healthy and conscious state - (rather like 'The Rapture', I suppose) - maybe with oxygen tank thoughtfully supplied?

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    1. Raybeard:
      I love your color commentary (and was hoping to see it here). I don't know enough about religion to comment with any amount of intelligence (or sarcasm). I just take the pictures and share a story and hope that someone who actually knows what they're looking at will pipe up. Thank you!!!

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  3. Love the pictures.
    Feel bad for Jose to be locked away somewhere creating art.
    And you know what they say about someone who "assumes"......

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    1. Bob:
      Regarding "assuming"... exactly!

      José I think enjoys working in solitude... He also seems to think the "covert operation" is funny.

      Delete
  4. Lovely pictures...I get the feeling that I am back in Seville and it brings me a lot of memories.
    But I don't know about you...you keep going to all these churches, processions, convents...next thing you know you'll be kissing San Geraldo's ring....lol

    saludos,
    raulito

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    Replies
    1. Raulito:
      Oh, I've been doing that for years!

      Delete
  5. Years ago I happened to be in Toledo on the Feast of the Assumption and witnessed a large polychrome statue of the Virgin being carried through the streets. It was like being in a time machine. I felt like it was the Middle Ages again.

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    1. Stephen:
      Yep, try Holy Week in Sevilla some time. It was a bit shocking for me at first. I had never seen anything like it. But then it became fascinating (not enough for me to find my religion, but still fascinating). I did a number of posts on Semana Santa 2011 with lots of photos.

      Delete
  6. Great account of this day in Sevilla, Mitch! Thanks.
    It brings back memories (all good) of my childhood when in summer on this day we would all march (not literally!) to church to attend Mass and being an alter-boy I was usually 'serving' the Mass. It was a big 'Holy Day of Obligation' for us Roman Catholics.....these 'Holy Days' were not to be missed unless you were willing to take the consequences.....you would be committing a mortal sin if you didn't attend Mass.
    Things have changed in the RC church somewhat....at least I think it has.
    Now there is a book/story to be written about your friend Jose's experience in the cloisters!!!

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    1. Jim:
      I wasn't raised Catholic. Had Catholic friends so was familiar with some of the traditions, but Sevilla has opened up entire new worlds of fascination!

      Yes, José being locked inside the cloisters could make for some very interesting stories (flights of fancy)!

      Delete
  7. This is all so new to me Mitch...eye opening...my life veered from the Catholic experience to the United Church because my mother crossed her fingers when she was married in the rectory...indicating she would bring up any kids RC but had no intention of doing it. Phew! I wouldn't be so ignorant about all this pomp and ceremony but at least I'm open to viewing...thanks for this!
    Ron

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    1. Ron:
      Thanks for coming along. It is extremely fascinating for me (as you've seen)! I love the image of your mother crossing her fingers at the altar!

      Delete
  8. I got a bang out of all the Buddhas cheek-by-jowl with the Virgins in the store window. I wondered why there were so many people lined up to see this statue for what must be their umpteenth time. It's a "Holy Obligation"! How very odd. It kinda seems like some sort of idol worship--but that's just me.
    I hope it wasn't too hot standing in line!

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      By the time I visited "the virgin," the line was gone. And the temps have been lower for a few days (high 80s, low 90s), so very pleasant for wandering and being outside. Back up to 100 today, I think!

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  9. There are so many things I think I want to say but yet I feel like I should not LOL My mom and I to this day still argue about holy days of obligation in the catholic faith. I just don't get them?

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    1. kisatrtle:
      You don't need to say a thing. I completely understand!

      Delete
  10. Hi Mitch,
    I'm sending you this link because the first label is of oranges from Sevilla. I think you might have mentioned them before.
    Archguy
    http://hattatt.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Archguy, for the heads up on the Hattatt's post. I always visit their blog, but made a point of checking it out right away this morning!

      Delete

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