Celebrating the Assumption of Mary Clarifying Ascension of Jesus & Assumption of Mary
Curious Updates & Additions to the Private Newsletter we sent out yesterday
As some of you know, we sent out a note yesterday about the Assumption, the French National Holiday, on August 15th. We received interesting notes that are nice to share. It’s about the “Legend of the Assumption of Mary,” I guess we can call it. The Legend of the Assumption of Mary has a nice ring to it! Will you be following the Legend of the Assumption of Mary? I know I will, even though I had never heard of it before yesterday and had not made up the term until right now as I write these words.
The following was written by our friend, Marion (we helped her with a Saint Mary Magdalene Feast Day Event at her church years ago), and it is about her childhood in New York City and also about her beloved husband Vinny, who was a devoutly religious man. And, he was obviously the type of person who believed in little rituals. It seems like it’s healthy to believe in hopeful concepts. Here is what Marion wrote yesterday:
I love your chatty letters. I want to share something with you about the Assumption of Mary….
When I was a young girl our next-door neighbor who was from Ireland went every 8/15 with her Irish friends to Coney Island to go in the water. Why? On that day, she said, the waters will heal you. Otherwise I don’t think she ever went to the beach.
Then, in my 30s I married a dyed-in-the-wool Italian and every 8/15 my husband would try to get to the sea and go in the water. Why? Because the waters on that day will heal you.
I think my neighbor really went into the waters i.e. swimming. Vinny seemed to believe touching the water was good enough. I remember one year when Vinny was not healthy enough to go, I went to Shinnecock Bay and put some water in a cup and brought it home to him.
I tend to be very skeptical of such stuff but when two or more disparate cultures believe the same thing, I sit up and take notice.
Marion wrote such an interesting story we thought it should be shared, not kept (sort of like our hand-painted saint medals). I will be going into Lake Pontchartrain here in New Orleans this Saturday, August 15, the day of the Assumption of Mary. Maybe my mind, which has been a bit unhealthy lately, might become healthier. Who knows? It can’t hurt and it might help.
Right after we heard from Marion, we got another note from our friend Marjorie (she has been a loyal friend and customer for years and I hope to meet her some day!). We may as well share that too. The message is so heartfelt and nice. I did not even remember I sent Marjorie the Novena and I completely forgot that August 11 is the Feast Day of Saint Philomena. Her note must be shared. Here it is:
I have to share this with you. I have been praying the St. Philomena Novena you sent. (My grandmother was Philomena Pistorius from New Orleans.) Anyway, yesterday on the 10th of August my son-in-law received a teaching position he had been wanting. I feel a spiritual answer to prayer and today is her Feast Day. I am so excited and thrilled to be a part of a physical connection with the saints on this earth. Thank you for all you are doing with the saints program. In a rush, will get back to you. Have a good and safe day.
Your friend, Marjorie S.
So, needless to say, these notes brightened our day. Maybe they will brighten yours too.
This is the Newsletter we sent out privately yesterday that caused us to get the notes above. To be honest, we thought it was not one of our best newsletters. Marion and Marjorie might beg to differ. Today, we’ve decided we should send it publicly too. So, here it is:
Celebrating the Assumption of Mary
Clarifying Ascension of Jesus & Assumption of Mary
Which is Which and What is What?
You Say Assumption; I say Ascension! Assumptions and Ascensions!
Some readers have said they were not that sure about the Assumption and/or The Ascension. “Which is which and what is what?” they ask? Since the Assumption of Mary is coming up on August 15th, we thought this is a good time to offer some clarification.
The Assumption of Mary is celebrated on a Saturday this year, and every year, on August 15th. It is even a National Holiday in France. Everyone gets the day off to celebrate the Assumption, the day the Blessed Virgin Mary went up to Heaven.
We were planning and hoping to go to Vanasque, France to celebration the Assumption of Mary. As John Lennon said, “Life is What Happens to You When You’re Busy Making Other Plans.” We will not be going to France this August to celebrate the holiday. In New Orleans, we’ll be celebrating the Assumption at Saint Dominic’s down the street on Harrison Avenue or maybe at the Saint Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, which is across the street from “What’s New,” a store that sells our hand-painted saint medals.
While it is not a federal holiday here in the States, the Assumption of Mary is a “Holy Day of Obligation,” meaning that everyone is supposed to attend Mass that day. Except, this year, most will not. Because they cannot. For the same reason we will not be in Venasque celebrating the French National Holiday and the Assumption of Mary. Many churches are still closed. Travel is restricted. Thanks, COVID. Saints Rocco and Sebastian, patrons invoked against viruses, please quicken the pace of recovery!
Earlier in the year, we had spent a lot of time with designs of the Assumption of Mary medal, since we thought we’d be celebrating France’s National Holiday. That would have been a nice opportunity to meet people in Venasque, where a great gathering is held, and we could have shared the photos with you! Maybe next year, hopefully.
The Ascension of Jesus is an entirely different point of reference. The Apostle’s Creed says Jesus ascended into Heaven. The Blessed Virgin Mary had to wait, which makes sense because she died long after Jesus ascended. Both the Ascension of Jesus and Assumption of Mary medals are excellent, though the Blessed Virgin Mary is more fun to paint because of glitter!
How the Assumption of Mary became known as happening on August 15th is anybody’s’ guess. I’m sure there are answers in the Catechisms of the Catholic Church, (“CCC”), the “Bible of Catholicism,” but we have not read all of it and we actually do not understand a lot of it. Like what people say about relationships, you could also say about the CCC. “It’s Complicated.” August 15 sounds like as good a day as any, and it’s in August, when lots of people are usually are on vacation so it’s a perfect time to celebrate!
We have both medals. The Ascension of Jesus and the Assumption of Mary. It’s pretty obvious both show a Rising Up, so they do fit the stories. They’re very different than Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) and Mater Dolorosa, (Mother of Sorrows), the two images that are much more familiar. The Mother of Sorrows image is probably one of the most renowned of all time.The Pieta medal has both Jesus and Mary and the famous statue is in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. We have that medal too.
One interesting thing is about Madonna of the Street, and we have that medal too. And although “Madonna of the Street” looks like the Blessed Virgin Mary, the image is actually an 11-year-old girl, Angelina Cian, holding her baby brother! An artist saw them and perhaps he painted them with the Sorrowful Mother in mind. Or maybe Angela did not want to babysit her brother that day!
The Madonna of the Street medal has a young child, so there is nothing sorrowful about it if it’s regarded as the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus. OK, that’s it for this extreme over analysis!
Celebrate the Assumption of Mary this Saturday, August 15th, by doing something revering the Blessed Virgin Mary. Or, just celebrate it by knowing about the concept of Mary rising up and assuming a role in Heaven, is a beautiful thing. It’s the celebratory day of Mary being called up to Heaven. We hoped to offer her, in Venasque, as little pieces of lagniappe. So, we will add her to every order we receive until August 16th. Some new lagniappe, just like the extra pieces we offer with every order. A little something extra is just what we all need these days.