Carol Braham would be able to explain well the creative process that resulted in the centerpiece recently installed in the walk space leading to the steps outside the Church. As a parishioner for many years, she brings out the best in this space by the image she produced and installed. You can find her work in both the stone image depicting a tree at the center of the courtyard and now with the image of St. Mary at the front of the Church.
At the beginning of this project, Carol first considered the architecture of the Church and then determined how she could incorporate a geometric arrangement that would allow the viewer to see the whole space with an emphasis on the center of the design. Carol used more than one geometric form in order create the frame for the centerpiece surrounded by the inscribed pavers. She used symbols that correspond to our faith and tradition. She is an ingenious artist with a solid grasp of geometry and spatial design. She combines these in their proper order and simplicity to form this extraordinarily beautiful composition. This centerpiece will remain as a reminder of our present efforts for parish renewal and growth.
Carol’s idea was to ensure that the new centerpiece would fit seamlessly into the existing design of the Church architecture. Many people are delighted with her composition and have queried as to the meaning of the symbols Carol included in the centerpiece. For instance, St. Mary stands before a multi-colored background of stones that resembles the colors found in the stain glass windows above the front doors of the Church. These waves of color symbolize the waters of baptism.
She uses the fleur-de -lis within the outside boarder of the centerpiece and in order to correspond with the stone cider blocks of the same shape that comprise Church steeple tower.
Many have asked about the round symbols underneath St. Mary. From left to right, these are the Ave Maria, the Chi-Rho, and an inspired design from the miraculous medal. The Ave Maria symbol comes from the visitation story in Luke’s gospel when Elizabeth greets Mary. Ave means hail as in Hail Mary. The Chi-Rho is an ancient symbol for Christ and is devised by superimposing the X (chi) over the P (rho) that are the first two letter of Cristos in the Koine Greek. The symbol furthest to the right comes from St. Catherine Labouré of 19th century France whose encounter with the Blessed Mother inspired her to design the miraculous medal. She promoted the teaching on the Immaculate Conception. This symbol is found on the back of the medal. The “M” symbolizes Mary before the cross and horizion.
I am indebted to Carol for this artful masterpiece. May it inspire all who view it to place their faith in Jesus Christ and join our community of faith.