My dear friend Sr. Helena Fox PBVM died yesterday in her convent in Cork, Ireland. Despite the distance between Juneau and Ireland we have had a lively and heartfelt correspondence for years. I miss her terribly already.
She was a Presentation sister and as luck or circumstance or providence would have it, I came across a Serbian fresco of this beautiful Marion feast just after my wife Paula called me with the news. I've been on retreat this week at Mt.Angel Abbey, which has mostly consisted of praying with the monks during their daily cycle of the Divine Office and lots of quiet time to reflect and pray.
But another way I pray is with icons. And so I'm praying now for my friend with this beautiful Serbian fresco from Kosovo which depicts the Presentation of Mary. According to an early tradition, Mary was presented by her parents to the Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem. She is shown as a little girl, leaving the protection and security of her parents and being brought to the gates of the Temple by a group of maidens with lighted candles.
In the psalms, the Temple, the dwelling place of the Most High is an image of heaven. Mary, is, of course, not only the type of the Church, but of every believer. And so I pray that my friend Helena, a Presentation Sister all her life, has finally completed her own presentation , body, soul and spirit, to the Lord, this day.