St. Mary’s Church, 15 St. Mary’s Place, Rochester, NY THE MADONNA OF THE HIGHWAYS. The base reads: “Built in Wood A.D. 1943” and “Rebuilt in Stone A.D. 1955” [Photo: David Kramer, 6/16/20]
Today, “Yolanda López, Artist Whose Restyled Mary Resonated, Dies at 78” (Lori Finkel, The New York Times, 9/20/21)reported on the death of Yolanda López, an artist and activist, whose work inspired younger generations of Latina artists to rethink the Roman Catholic icon, a popular with Mexicans and Mexican American.
I became interested in Marian iconography when we published George Cassidy Payne‘s “Not Even His Mother” that arguably refers to the Virgin Mary within the context of George Floyd’s death.¹
NOT EVEN HIS MOTHER
by George Cassidy Payne
I am not Christian nor Catholic, but sought out sculptures of the Virgin Mary throughout Rochester. Finding the statues often in tucked away places, I am moved by their serene and universal power.
Visiting the statues and shrines feels to a degree like going back in time to a place when Roman Catholicism was more interwoven into the daily lives of Rochester neighborhoods. At the same time, reading López’s obituary on how she “boldly recast the Virgin of Guadalupe into her own image,” transformed into “an image of radical feminist optimism” reminded me of Mary’s enduring vitality as a symbol of many kinds of faith.
(left) Saint Michael’s of Rochester Roman Catholic church, 859 North Clinton Avenue; (right) Our Lady’s Grotto outside McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton, NY. Inscription: Gift of the Mother’s Club and the Father’s Club, 1957. Plaque reads: Our Lady’s Grotto, Redicated in 2007 in honor of Gina & Bill Outwelen. In both pictures, Mary is depicting standing on top of a snake representing satan or the devil. [Photos: David Kramer, 6/16/20] See An eerie quiet at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton
(left) Our Lady Queen of Peace and St. Thomas More, 601 Edgewood Avenue, Brighton, NY; (center) Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, 150 Varinna Drive Brighton, NY In the garden donated by the Klee Family; (right) St. Boniface Church, 330 Gregory St, Rochester, NY [Photos: David Kramer, 6/16, 6/17 and 6/18/20] See Burned Over: on the search for some of Rochester’s most sacred Christian sites
Our Lady of Mercy High School, 1437 Blossom Rd, Brighton, NY (left) the plaque in the small garden reads: In Memory of Sr. Helen Anne Lorey 1940 – 1963. Mary is depicting standing on top of a snake representing satan or the devil. (right) In Memory of John F. Kennedy, 1917 – 1963, Donated by Vito € Joseph F. Micoli [Photos: David Kramer, 6/17/20] See An eerie quiet at Nazareth College
9/19/21 St. Anne’s Community, Durand Senior Apartments, St. Salome Apartments, on 4250 Culver Road. Yesterday, when biking back from Durand Beach after a swimming excursion, I stopped at the St. Anne’s Community on 4250 Culver Road, there taking a moment of quiet meditation. Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and the maternal grandmother of Jesus. [Photo: David Kramer]
9/20/21 St. Anne’s Church, 1660 Mt. Hope Avenue. Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and the maternal grandmother of Jesus. [Photos: David Kramer]
9/21/21 St John the Evangelist Church, Peace of Christ Parish, 553 Humboldt Street [Photo: David Kramer]
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9/20/21 Immaculate Conception/St Bridget’s Church, 445 Frederick Douglass Street [Photo: David Kramer]
¹ SEE ALSO ON BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS
A Black Lives Matter solidarity rally with commentary from Kholaa and a walk down Joseph Avenue