Thursday, September 3, 2009

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Icon

So, while slogging around the net, looking for a new header pic (which I found, btw), I was reminded of an icon that was hanging in the chapel at the retreat my RCIA class went on for our first confession. (I spent a *lot* of time staring at the icon, as I had quite a bit of penance to be said...)

There was this *detail* of the icon that struck me as odd. But I sort of forgot about it, until I started looking for the new header pic and wanted an after I found the icon I wanted as header, I went looking for this other icon, but of course I didn't know the name of the icon, I just remembered that it was the Virgin Mary holding an infant Christ, plus the odd little detail. Of course, there're a few icons like that, minus 'weird detail', and I got nowhere. Until I thought, 'hmm, maybe the retreat has a website & a picture of the chapel/icon.' And lo and behold, they do. Have a website, that is.

No interiors of their chapel though, but then I noticed their crest. It was the icon! And then it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, they'd named their retreat after the icon. *duh*

So, here's the icon:

And what's the odd detail? Look at His feet. He's losing His widdle shoe! (yes, I said 'widdle', and I meant it.) Now, among the other things I know about icons (previous posts here & here), I know that nothing is written into an icon without a reason. Everything you see has symbolic meaning. So, what is the meaning of Christ losing His widdle shoe? (Live with the 'widdle'. It's adorable.)


  1. ok you have piqued the old curiosity....

    why is the baby dangling his widdle shoe....?

  2. a practical reason, Wikipedia says he's afraid from knowing about the crucifixion and ran to his mother, so I guess the sandal snapped on the way. I'm not sure if that's enough of the meaning you mean, I'm not very familiar with religious art. Or art in general.

    Oddly, he doesn't actually look anxious to me. I thought maybe it was just that the picture was too small, so I went googling to find larger ones, and he still doesn't look anxious to me. So, that could just be me not getting art, since everyone else says he is. But my first thought was that he was getting ready, in a way. The sandal was falling off because it would be when he was on the cross.

    *shrugs* I really have no idea.

  3. Ahavah,

    I actually don't know. :) I've been looking it up though.

  4. Sanil,

    That does seem to be the 'story' behind the picture, but it's my understanding that everything in an icon has a symbolic meaning, and I can't figure out what the meaning of the shoe is.

  5. Oh, I enjoyed this and I'm glad you found a possible answer to the shoe story. (Yes, I read the other post first...oops.)

    Could you explain your new header to me?

    I had to laugh that you spent a lot of time looking at this icon because you had a lot of confessing to do. I find that hard to believe.


  6. Heh. It's free form blogging! Read it in whatever order pleases you! :)

    I don't know if you want the explanation of the icon, or why I picked it, so I shall give you both in it's own post! ;)

    But it's true! There was much confessing, and then lots of penance to be said! I became very familiar with this icon, and the *shoe*!



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