"Given all that the Virgin Mary has meant to people over the centuries, trying to imagine her is as impossible an undertaking as trying to imagine Woman herself. Yet thousands of artists have managed to do so with brilliant specificity. Judith Dupre has gathered together some of their art, along with specific imaginings of her own, in a beautiful and provocative introduction to one of the most resonant figures in religious history."---Judith Shulevitz, author of The Sabbath World
Two thousand years ago, a girl from Nazareth was transformed by a simple "yes" into the Mother of God---the subject of sublime devotion, divisive controversy, and extravagant speculation. A mother and a virgin, a saint and a peasant, a woman both tragic and triumphant, Mary has held sway over the human imagination for centuries. Yet she has never felt as relevant to our everyday lives as she does today.
In Full of Grace, Judith Dupre, the bestselling author of Churches, offers an intimate exploration of this beloved figure, now and through the ages. In a series of poignant stories and essays, Dupre examines Mary's artistic, cultural, and historical influence, and at the same time shows how Mary's human journey of love, compassion, grief, and humble strength inextricably connects her to our modern lives.
Accompanied by a breathtaking visual feast ranging from classic Renaissance portraits to unexpected contemporary images, Dupre's text offers insights into the Virgin Mary as a mother and as a religious icon. Visits to the great shrines of Marian pilgrimage---Lourdes, Medjugorje, Fatima, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe---underscore the author's journey to find Mary's meaning in her own life. In an essay about Mary in the Qur'an, we see how Mary, far from being an exculsively Catholic figure, emerges as one of the central women in Islam. Another piece details the author's travels in the Holy Land, a landscape wracked by religious strife but still overflowing with the spirit of generosity that Mary embodies. From Sudanese refugee camps to the painful reminders of Auschwitz, from the struggle of divorce to the challenges of raising a child with autism, we see how Mary's tenderness, bravery, and grace infuse the story of every mother, young and old. For men and women seeking to better understand their own life journey, this book looks at the many miracles, large and small, along the way.