"Our Lady of Sweat"
While this is not a really a postcard it is a prayer card from a church in Ravenna, Italy and since it seemed a Christmas theme with mother and child, I am sharing it this week. Below are photos to provide some idea of the small size of this painting. It is 35X23 cm or about 9X14 inches; however, it looks dwarfed on this high, ornate wall. The artist is unknown. The painting has an estimated date of the 14th century.
There is a placard with the following information about the painting:
“This small painted tablet that portrays the crowned Virgin with the child Jesus in her arms is an image that is dearly venerated by the Church of Ravenna [Italy]. In her honour the decision was made in 1630 to build a Chapel dedicated to her in the Cathedral. The name of this icon is inspired by a sacrilegious episode. On leaving a tavern, a soldier saw the image of the Virgin Mary and slashed it contemptuously with a knife. On that occasion, the Holy Image is supposed to have sweated blood.”
On the back of the card is this prayer in Italian
I’m not sure about the accuracy of the translation but in English is says something like:
“Prayer: From your throne of glory O sweet sweetheart Madonna binds your merciful eyes to us, you get forgiveness, the justice of your son turns in grace for all of us. Our trust in you corrobori our hope, strengthen the good intentions of Christian life. O Mary, we ask for the clarity of the doctrine, the modesty of the body, the sanctity of life. O Mother, listen to our prayer, console rents and sufferers, sustain the first steps of the faith of the little ones, strengthen the life of faith of the young, strengthen the adults in the journey of their vocation, watch over our diocese, intercede for us with the Lord , get the graces we need. Amen”
The painting is found within the larger gold frame in the mid-center of the photo
A closer look shows a frame within a frame being held by two angels. Part of the frame may be hinged and able to close like a triptych; however, the side panels do not have paintings although there is a raised design on them.
The photo close up view shows the framed image while the prayer card has the image only without a frame.
No flash pictures were allowed in the church and I was not able to get very close, hence the somewhat fuzzy photos and the need to pick up the prayer card. My stepfather, who was Catholic, frequently used to light candles in churches and since he has passed away I often light one in remembrance of him when I visit old churches. Small prayer cards such as this one are not always available so it was delightful to find a box of them near the candles.