Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mary's Month of May - Impi McBain's painting

Shortly after becoming rector of All Saints’ Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, in 1995, I realised that the Society of Mary and others in the parish thought as I did about the desirability of a shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the church . . . just inside the entrance, on account of the constant stream of people slipping into the church each day to pray. Money for the image was given in memory of departed parishioners and friends, and it was on Sunday 13th October, 1996, that the Rt Rev’d John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham and International Chairman of Forward in Faith, dedicated the shrine.

In those days one of our parishioners was Impi McBain, an art teacher and an artist in her own right (who now lives in Victoria). She was commissioned to paint a backdrop for the shrine. This project developed over the years, including the time that Impi and her husband Max lived and worked in England, during which Impi made numerous visits to Walsingham to sketch, paint and work out how she would balance scenes and symbols in such a way as to complement the image itself.

The result can only be described as sumptuous, and the overall effect is to emphasise - as Walsingham itself does - the great joy brought into the ordinariness of our lives through the Incarnation of the Son of God, born of Mary and nurtured by her in Nazareth. The painting was installed in All Saints’ last September (while I was overseas). I had seen parts of it in various stages of completion, and managed to take this photograph during a quick visit last week.

What better way to mark Mary’s Month of May than to share this with you!


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