"'Mater mea, fiducia mea - My Mother, my confidence.' With this small prayer, says a pamphlet published by the Lateran Seminary, Mary asks for nothing but offers everything."
According to first promoter, Blessed Chiara Isabella Fornari (1697-1744), a Poor Clare from Todi, Italy, Our Lady made this promise to her: “My Heavenly Lady, with the love of a true Mother, assured me that She would give a special tenderness and devotion toward Her to everyone who contemplated this image.” It has been directed that this promise applies not only to the original picture, but also to all of the copies located in various Italian shrines and places throughout the world.
According to the Italian Seminary account, where one copy is located, "The nuns used to send the picture into the houses of the sick who requested it... and many testified that it was able to create a true sorrow for sin. Those who looked upon it received the grace to arouse contrition for sin and a true and intense pain for [sin] which was and still remains one of the peculiar characteristics of our image ... earning it the title Refuge of Sinners, a title already used by Sister Chiara."
I took the liberty to delicately embellish Mary's mantle. Marys’ headdress is lace like a bridal veil.
“The Church is the bride of Christ. The Church is the mother of the holy people of God. The Church is a woman. And these women who are here are the image and figure of the Church and of our Mother, Mary.”
Her blue mantle is lined in translucent gold with 23 KT "dots", a reminder of the unnumbered stars that light the heavens.
Mary, fair and regal, lovingly invites us all to "behold" her Son.
We see the Christ Child, Jesus, clothed in bright white or light, recalling the many biblical references and visions of saints. White is used to emphasis Jesus' physical and spiritual purity. His robes at The Transfiguration and following His resurrection are painted white and sometimes gold. As well, His garment resembles that of the adult Merciful Jesus (Vilnius icon) as the Child pictured here is one in the same.
He stands atop a wood beam symbolizing the cross and His mission. Through His suffering and death on the cross, Jesus redeemed the world:
"For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3:16-17).
Look at the setting and note that the background color is gold as are the halos. Gold depicts divinity and it's radiance. When used in icons, gold most closely reflects the uncreated light of God.
In reflection, to have been privileged to gaze upon the holy faces contained within such a rich icon as the (and for such an extended period of time) was and still remains the greatest treasure received.