In Your Midst

IMAGE OF THE DIVINE:  A Meditation on Cathedral Art

November 2004

The beloved image of Our Lady of Seattle, if she spoke, could tell the history of the Cathedral parish, and of the Catholic faith in Seattle, in ways no memories or old photos possibly could. Our Lady of Seattle, purchased by Seattle pioneer Father F. X. Prefontaine to adorn the church he built with his own hands, came “around the Horn” in 1870. She has listened to the sighs and prayers of countless people, old and young—Father Prefontaine, Mother Cabrini, Bishop O’Dea among them! Some come in great faith; others come seeking faith. To all she opens her arms wide.

There are many images of the Blessed Mother in the Cathedral; Our Lady of Seattle is especially warm and approachable. Her richly decorated golden garment speaks of Heaven, while her dark blue outer garment suggests the starry night sky. At her feet is a globe spangled with stars and the faces of cherubim; beneath her heel she crushes the serpent with the apple of Eden in its mouth.

The poet Wordsworth seems to have been describing her in his sonnet The Virgin:

MOTHER! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast.

May the Virgin’s prayer be ours as we celebrate one hundred years of St. James Cathedral parish and look forward to a future full of grace and hope: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. The almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.”

- M.L.


Other articles in the November 2004
CENTENNIAL issue:

Celebrating the Human Part of this Great Place

One Hundred Years Ago

The Century at St. James

The Pew Next to You

Parish Annual Report 2003-2004

The Cathedral in Cyberspace

Cathedral Almanac

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