November is Black Catholic History Month, a designation to honor and celebrate the history and heritage of Black Catholics.
The piece below is by artist Janet McKenzie, and is currently being displayed in the narthex of the Chapel of the Holy Family in the AMU.
“The Holy Family” ca. unknown (prior to 2011)
Original, oil on canvas
This is an inclusive image of the Holy Family, which was originally commissioned by The Loyola School for the Loyola Chapel in New York City.
The Holy Family, Mary, Joseph and Jesus, are can be seen together, symbolizing the essence of family. Seated almost as one entity, their unity, mutual love and sacred bond is visible. Jesus is enveloped in his mother’s arms and safely wrapped within her love. It is He who reaches out to the viewer with a gaze ripe with wisdom beyond his years.
The Blessed Mother holds her child, able to protect Him — for now. The presence of the Holy Spirit is revealed through Mary’s quiet state of prayer and reflection. She is mother, nurturer and the bearer of life. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is often depicted in art as removed and separate from the Holy Mother and her child. Here he is presented as a foundational and integral figure, his gentle touch a reminder of his paternal presence.