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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inspired heavenly art

Today Dan and I visited an amazing and inspired art installation outside of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, specifically for the Pope's visit.  It was conceived and created by artist Meg Saligman based on Sister Mary Scullion's research of the Pope's favorite painting Mary Undoer of Knots.  

All people have struggles, and we all want help "untangling" these struggles.  The concept is that people emailed or in-person wrote their struggles on pieces of special paper (actually the same paper used for the murals on buildings) and tied them all over the grotto's framework.  Then visitors can take the struggles and untie them and weave the pieces into nets to form virtual fabric.

We drove in and survived the barricades, and street closures.  It was a truly beautiful day in Philadelphia.  Here are some of the photos I took. 

You can see all the struggles streaming from the inside and outside of the grotto, as well as those attached to the strings running up to the top of the chapel.  Some are blank and these represent the unspoken struggles.  You can read them, and they are in different languages, illustrating how many different people have participated. Reading them truly gives you pause and me feel thankful for all the blessings I have.

Then we went to dinner and returned after 7:30pm because, for a limited time, the artist also created video images that are projected on the basilica dome.  The images are of candles, hands tying knots, the painting of Mary and key words.  It was truly amazing and according to my friend Dottie, who works for the artist Meg, this is the first time the church has ever allowed images to be projected on the dome.  I sure hope it won't be the last time.

In was magical and inspired.

We also wanted to see the grotto lit up at night.  There were so many people who were there writing out their troubles, untangling others and taking in the beautiful expression of mercy and comfort.  It was so incredible and all I could think is how many people will pass through during the weekend when the Pope visits.

What also struck me is how many struggles people have and that we all have them.  I remember long ago someone telling me a story that if everyone took their struggles and piled them in a massive array, and if everyone saw them, each person would choose to take their own back. I know I felt blessed when I saw so many struggles depicted visually.  It is also such a beautiful thing to create a work of art that everyone can contribute to and collaborate with.  There is so much bad news out there, so many negative things happening in the world, that being here, seeing this artwork and being a part of something so positive made me very happy and quite peaceful. 

While touring the Basilica and venturing into the gift shop we took selfies with the Pope, the cardboard Francis that is.  I wish I could meet him, but I do truly feel the positive spirit and love that seems to be embracing this rare event.  I am happy that I got to participate, even in a small way.

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