Marian Art from the Collection of Mary Kaye Medinger
Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, is an iconic figure in the history of art and spirituality. Over the course of a lifetime, teacher and Marian scholar Mary Kaye Medinger has accumulated a collection of Marian art from various genres and cultures. Beginning with a small porcelain statue of Mary that stood on her dresser when she was growing up Catholic in the 1950s, her collection of images now encompasses images from places as disparate as Ethiopia and Ireland, Native American pueblos and Alaska, Mexico and Minnesota, Poland and Prague, Russia and El Salvador, and beyond.
Mary Kaye says that, in some mysterious way, her own personal relationship with her namesake precedes her conception. That relationship began to deepen considerably in the early 1980s when a question sprang into her consciousness while attending a Marian May Day procession at the Cathedral of St. Paul. As a statue of Mary, crowned with flowers, was carried on a platform up the main aisle escorted by Knights of Columbus and surrounded by hundreds of people singing ancient Marian hymns, Mary Kaye wondered in a new way about a question she had lived with all her life – who WAS this young woman who had said yes to God and played a role in changing the course of history? How did she relate to the Great Mother of ancient times? The intervening decades have led her to do research, share questions and insights with thousands of people, and travel on pilgrimage to Marian shrines. The cathedral of Chartres in France, with its hundreds of Marian images, holds a special place in her heart.
As you make your way on your own pilgrimage among these images of Mary, Mary Kaye invites you to pay attention to the questions that spring up inside YOU! Who was the real flesh and blood woman who inspired the artists who created these images? Who was she for you when you were growing up? Who is she for you now?
And consider the questions in gold letters that hang on the wall at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, questions that she is said to have asked of the Indian Juan Diego in 1531: Am I not here, your mother? Are you not under my shadow and my protection? Am I not your source of life? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle where I cross my arms? Who else do you need?
Mary Kaye Medinger is a lifelong educator, writer, editor, spiritual director and retreat leader with a particular interest in women’s spirituality, especially Mariology. A consociate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, she has spent nearly 40 years in various ministerial positions in parish, diocesan and ecumenical settings.