Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our lady

I was raised in a devoutly catholic house. Crucifixes, rosary beads and mournful looking Marys were in abundance. My mother prayed solemnly every night and Sundays were always dedicated to church. 

When I was 14 my mother and I travelled to India and made a pilgrimage all the way to the Bay of Bengal. A large church had been built in a small town called Vailankanni after three miraculous sightings of Mary. It was a really crazy experience and I saw some unforgettable things; people kneeling on nails, old men offering to pray for my soul and choruses of people worshipping, wailing and singing.

I stopped believing in any form of religion when I was 12 but the love of religious paraphernalia has remained, particularly for Mary. I find something comforting in it, mostly it just reminds me of Mum. In her room she has a wooden box beside her vanity filled with all things dear to her, pictures of Dad looking handsome in flares, my brother and I as kids, prayer cards, letters from her mother and rosary beads galore. Whenever I go home I love touching the ornate wooden box and looking at her most prized and intimate items.

Now whenever friends see a particularly kitsch looking Mary they are usually kind enough to send it my way. Over the years I have built up quite a collection. To a stranger my home might look like that of a fanatic! 

Pictured above from the top, a postcard I received in the mail this week from a Japanese friend, a prayer card from Ireland, two Marys I picked up in my Mums hometown now at home amongst my makeup, a gifted pendant, two pages from a pilgrim prayer book that my Mum gave me when I left for Japan.

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