Painted by Oleg Supereco (born 1974),
Painted in 2008
Oil on canvas
© Oleg Supereco artist
Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son.' Then to the disciple he said, 'This is your mother.' And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.
Reflection on the Painting
Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The title, Our Lady of Sorrows, given to Our Lady, focuses on her intense suffering and mourning during the passion and death of her son. The title is not, however, limited to the suffering Mary shared in at the end of Jesus' life, but refers to all seven sorrows of Mary. These are: the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; the loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple; Mary meeting her Son on His way to Calvary; Mary standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord was crucified; Mary holding Jesus when He was taken down from the cross (the pietà scene depicted in our painting); and then our Lord's burial.
Our painting today is an unusual take on the pietà. Russian-born Oleg Supereco (b. 1974) depicts Mary gently leaning over Jesus. A soft light connects the two faces. Both have their eyes closed. Mary joined in the suffering of the cross, as Jesus did. Mary must have been torn by the events of seeing Jesus crucified unjustly. And here she is depicted with dignity, composed, solemn, and with caring gentleness towards her son.
Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day: Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.
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