Sunday, 19 August 2012

st ann's altered: the lap of the goddess

original photo, Lorraine Arnott (1967)
revised and made more painterly by me, on
a summer saturday


I quote:
Anne (Hebrew, Hannah, grace; also spelled Ann, Anne, Anna) is the traditional name of the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

All our information concerning the names and lives of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary, is derived from apocryphal literature... In the Orient the Protoevangelium had great authority and portions of it were read on the feasts of Mary by the Greeks, Syrians, Copts, and Arabians. In the Occident, however, it was rejected by the Fathers of the Church until its contents were incorporated by Jacobus de Voragine in his "Golden Legend" in the thirteenth century. From that time on the story of St. Anne spread over the West and was amply developed, until St. Anne became one of the most popular saints also of the Latin Church.
Also in Canada, where she is the principal patron of the province of Quebec, the shrine of St. Anne de Beaupré is well known. St. Anne is patroness of women in labour; she is represented holding the Blessed Virgin Mary in her lap, who again carries on her arm the child Jesus. She is also patroness of miners, Christ being compared to gold, Mary to silver.


There are at least two great pilgrimmages for St Anne in Canada that occur in July, one in the east and one in the west. Interesting that the authors of the encyclopedia* quoted above didn't think to mention them, as another scholar asserts,
St. Anne, the mother of Mary and thus the grandmother of Jesus, is never mentioned in the Bible, and in fact she remained a rather marginal figure in Roman Catholic Christendom until medieval times (see Attwater, 1965:186). Contemporary celebration of St. Anne is nearly non-existent in most Roman Catholic countries, but is especially strong in Canada.
(source [pdf])

My friends and I have been discussing our Catholic roots, routes, WJ being post-Catholic, from Kehewin, AB, and MS being Catholic Mi'kmaq, from NS. This stirs me to create another chapter in my page of diasporic/itinerant/mixed-blood explorations.

Above, my grandma and me, photo by my sis Cal; the context for the picture is this:

After hearing many negative responses to my then most recent (fourth) pregnancy, i visited my grandma by phone, who responded with approval, "well, are you ever smart!"

Then she said, straight from the heart, "Many happy returns!"

Then~ realizing what she'd just wished me~  she cracked right up into gales of helpless laughter. Me too, warmed to the core.

She's not looking too amused, here, more bemused, but, this was our next in-person visit, and perhaps our last picture taken together.  I am looking very much like a person who has received her grandmother's blessings: if no one else, Grandma has got my back.

Grandma's Church

This pic of St Charles, Winnipeg, was snapped by my sis Marni, this year. She reminded me that, those days when we dressed in our fancy hats and dresses, this was the actual church we most often attended, known to me as Grandma's Church.

In 1967, on a special day, Grandma bought me a tiny plastic figure of St Joseph (to go with my name), and took me to the high river bank, to watch the Voyageurs paddling by. She was very moved by the sight, suffused with a great deal of radiant pride, which i absorbed through the open air and the web of relatedness, by contagion.

On one of my last visits to a Catholic church, in Vancouver, she was seated in the front row and i was several rows back, and on the other side of the aisle. She was singing her heart out, and it is this snatch of a song that i have gone back to over the years, sung in my grandmother's voice:

all that i am
all that i'll be
all that i'll ever have
i offer now to thee

take and sanctify these gifts
for your honour lord
knowing that i love and serve you
is enough reward

The idea of a "sacred canopy" makes sense to me. It is like sharing an umbrella. It is intuitive and correct, that a family- and community- centric worship will have Grandmother as a central power, anchor, and canopy, as well as my (and our) more literal gateway backward in time: it is through the Grandmothers and the Grandfathers that I know and am secured into this world by my ancestors.

Two of the three of us collaborating writers continued to find shelter of a spiritual nature through eastern religions, Vietnamese, Chinese, or Japanese Buddhism, Chinese Taoism, and "the other" Indians' pantheons of Goddesses and Gods. All three of us have attended ceremony by indigenous elders and healers not of our specific communities' ways of worship. Only one identifies as Catholic.

This cannot be explained by the facts of refuge and geography, because all three of us are long-time refugees in Salish territories. One of us, however, has received more than abuse from religion and community, has received fundamental anchoring and an ongoing source of strength from her experiences of her people's cultural continuities.

However we define ourselves, whatever our cultural and community mixes, we all do need a greater context-- call it the lap of the goddess-- upon which to rest.

  νόμος = nomos

+ "Nokomis" means... a 'character' in somebody else's story?

About "nookomis"... usually, we don't talk about a member of a family--nor a part of a body, for that matter--as "a" grandmother or "a" hand, but as a part of someone's family or body; they are always "our", "my", "his", what have you.

actually nookomis already has first person possesive on it. the root for grandmother is okomis. so my grandmother-nookomis, your grandmother-gookomis, and his/her grandmother-okomisan. hope this helps. mii gwech.

for the full discussion, see "Thank you, grandmother"  on Ojibwe Language Society Miinawaa

"Everyone interested in the Ojibwe Language is welcome."

* follow link to definition of "Canada" in the first quote above to get a sense of the timing of things

Another project: KV of MB and i are discussing an anthology with the title, come tradition -- within which these assays also fit quite nicely.
St Ann, Anne, Anna

Madonna @ work

see also,

she weaves worlds


prairie to coast



o christmas tree: "K'Ayatcht'N!..."


she of the sea

joy + constance

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