Bicentennial Icon

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The icon and its pilgrimage

As a special celebration of our charism during the bicentennial, a uniquely Marianist icon will be traveling the Marianist world.

The icon triptych includes a depiction of the wedding feast at Cana created by an Italian Marianist, Bro. Salvatore Santacroce. Flanking the art are original letters penned by Venerable Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.

Bicentennial Icon web

The icon’s pilgrimage began on May 15, 2016, in Agen, France, the birthplace of the Marianist Sisters.

It will complete its journey in Ranchi, India, on Chaminade Day — January 22, 2018.

Along the way, it will be a focal point for events in countries as varied as Austria, Togo, Korea and Mexico.

The icon will be in the Province of the United States and associated locations from November 2016 through January 2017.

Resources for Bicentennial Icon Prayer Services

Here is the schedule for the icon’s time in our midst:

Nov. 1-6 Sector of Mexico
Nov. 7-15 San Antonio, Texas
Nov. 16-20 Hawai’i
Nov. 21-27 Los Angeles, California
Nov. 28-30 Cupertino, California
Dec. 1-6 St. Louis, Missouri
Dec. 7-16 Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio
Dec. 17-27 Region of Canada
Dec. 28 – Jan. 11 Province of Meribah (New York)
Jan. 12-15 Puerto Rico
Jan. 16-27 U.S. East Coast
Jan. 28-30 Ireland

See the icon’s full pilgrimage calendar here.

Elements of the icon triptych

The Adèle letter

Adele letter web



O my God, I consecrate this year to you in reparation for the failings of the past ones.

Let us continue to prepare our hearts, dear Agathe, for the holy state which we shall soon embrace. It seems that Father [Chaminade] intends to establish us sooner than we expected. If only this could be right after Easter! Ask Mme Belloc to hurry with the leasing of the house, and see to it especially that the house will be empty of occupants by Easter week. I think the arrangements should be complete before Father arrives, for he intends to bless the house.

He wants each one to give him in writing the reasons for opting for the religious state, etc. He wants to know whether all are properly motivated.

I had asked Mme Belloc to write on your behalf, but I think it is better you do that yourself. Send me all the letters when they are ready.

Ask Mme Belloc to send me both the baptismal name and the family name of Aimée, for I do not know them. Should you have any details about the young lady from Golfech, please let me have them. Encourage Henriette de Sainte-Croix to write to Father.

Farewell. I am in a hurry. I embrace you in spirit in the stable of Bethlehem. Let us join the holy Magi who are going there to adore the Savior. Let us imitate their courage and their unselfish faith.

Désirée asks you kindly to buy her a small white shawl, of brocaded silk and cotton, about three feet long. It is for a second cousin of hers.

I have received the cotton. After you buy the shawl, I will repay whatever I owe you.

I am sending Mme Belloc money for two Manuals; that leaves 50 centimes for the poor woman of Bordeaux. Those were the last two that she sent me from Saint-Avit.


The Chaminade letter

Chaminade letter web



Agen, December 14, 1832

I hope, my dear son, that all the letters that I have written to St. Remy have reached their proper addresses and that you have seen that I profited by the various observations that you made to me.

How much the style, or, I should rather say, the tone of Father Lalanne’s letters has changed! It is that of submission and modesty in place of etc … I hope very much that we shall come to a solid peace and that I shall be able to occupy myself with the inner life of the two Communities.

Brother Clouzet appears to be making a good comeback, but the natural sentiments seem to dominate a lot more than those of grace. Perhaps, and it must be assumed that these first are a preparation for the second and for the complete triumph of grace? Consult him often, even if there is no real need for it. Make yourself, as it were, necessary to him, without, however, detracting from anything essential to your office. Wisdom knows how to follow middle courses.

I am answering Father Rollinet. After having read the letter and sealed it, will you please give it to him.

Father Lalanne has just asked me to forget about sending Father Meyer to Courtefontaine. Profit by the time during which you have such intimate relations with the latter to reanimate yourself in the service of our divine Master and of our august Mother. May nothing in the world be able to weaken in you the real spirit of the Society of Mary: Ego servus tuus sum et filius ancillae tuae … Oportet ut eveniant scandala …

Oh, my dear son, if we remain firmly united by the direction of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, under the auspices of Mary, we shall be very strong and all hell will be capable of nothing against us. Inimictial ponamiter te et Mulierem, etc., et ipsa conteret, etc.

Do not be surprised at difficulties. I do not yet write to Father Meyer in any other vein. Let him take good care of our four young postulants who are studying at the château. They concern us more than the novices.

I am stopping here and embracing you tenderly,

G. Joseph Chaminade

The Wedding at Cana

Bicentennial icon web

The original of this artwork is in the chapel at the Marianist General Administration in Rome.

Artist’s reflection

The icon of the “Wedding at Cana” brings into focus several key figures: Christ, the Mother of God, the servants, the amphorae (jars) and the table prepared for the feast. Some other characters and images, usually present in similar icons, do not appear: the newly married couple, the chief servant, other servants busily moving about, flower garlands, the abundant food of the feast, the musicians. Space and time are compressed. These are transformed so as to open us up to the symbol and metaphor of the new times.

The eye of one who contemplates this icon is immediately struck by the interrelated circular movement of the faces and hands. Beginning with Mary, they express gentleness, and affectionate concern, as she appeals with outstretched hand, saying the words “Do whatever he tells you.”

The look of Christ, urged by his Mother into the reality that awaits him, looks beyond the immediate, seeing his “hour” in the water that turns red and with cup and bread on the table, which anticipate and foreshadow his sacrifice: “Take and eat … Take and drink … Do this in memory of me.”

Christ is not reclining at the edge of the table, but seated on the throne of his divine majesty. He opens his arms and with one hand, blesses the water, while raising the other hand, he proclaims his name: “Jesus Christ, Son of God.”

The servant fixes his astonished gaze on Christ and comes to a new enlightenment that, through faithful obedience, is able to welcome the eruption of Divine Power within human reality. He sees the liquid pour down into the amphora as water, but he knows that amidst the gurgling inside, it has turned into wine, because he senses the bouquet. The amphorae are huge because humanity’s thirst is great and there must be enough wine for everyone.

At the top, the Marianist Cross strongly reaffirms our alliance with Mary to bring to the many tables of humanity “the good wine” the wine that has been “kept until now.”

Salvatore Santacroce, SM
Region of Italy