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The Sorrowful Mother in the Triptych of the Crucifixion

Woman, behold your Son! Behold your Mother John 19: 26-27

When the Cathedral was renovated in 1994, Charles Connick’s stained-glass windows of the Crucifixion, formerly in the East Apse, were moved here. Here we see Mary and John the beloved disciple, standing at the foot of Christ’s cross. The artist has depicted the crucifixion in intense colors, with bright, jagged shapes surrounding the three figures. Look for the tiny shapes of doves surrounding the figure of Jesus, suggesting the life that flows from the cross of Christ.


Good Friday has seen the disintegration of Jesus’ community. Judas has sold him; Peter has denied him, and most of the disciples have run away. All Jesus’ labors to build a little community seem to have failed. And then, at the darkest moment, we see this community coming into being at the foot of the cross. His mother is given a son in his closest friend, and the beloved disciple is given a mother. It is not just any community. It is our community. This is the birth of the Church. To be a Christian is to recognize that at the foot of the cross is born our family, from which no one can be excluded. We are brothers and sisters of each other. In Christ we are kith and kin. We share the same blood, the blood of the cross. –Father Timothy Radcliffe OP


God of mercies,
your only Son, while hanging on the cross,
appointed the Blessed Virgin Mary,
his mother,
to be our mother also.
Like her, and under her loving care,
may your Church grow day by day,
rejoice in the holiness of its children,
and so attract to itself
all the peoples of the earth.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

from the Sacramentary, Mary, Image and Mother of the Church

Back to JOURNEY with MARY


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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303