Picture of motherhood

This month — as they have for more than 40 years since the dreadful Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision — thousands upon thousands of supporters of life will head to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life.

Some will pull a red-eye and drive all night through snow, sleet, rain and just about anything Old Man Winter decides to throw at them. In terms of last year’s weather, well, suffice it to say, it was one of the worst on record, but the show — or the March — must go on, and it did indeed.

If you’re planning to attend the event, hopefully you will build some extra time into your schedule to see the sights, with a special effort to make it to an exhibit that will certainly affirm and uphold this most crucial of causes. And who better to represent this cause than the Blessed Mother?

How interesting, given all the battles in Washington that have centered on or greatly impacted life issues, that Our Lady would be front and center at a public art exhibit. And with the help of some beautiful sisters, the Blessed Mother may not only be encouraging pro-life activists, but creating new ones as well.

The exhibition at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, entitled “Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea,” runs through April 12. According to the museum’s website, the masterpieces on display are designed to help one explore “the concept of womanhood represented by the Virgin Mary as well as the social and sacred functions her image has served through time.”

The exhibition contains more than 60 Renaissance and Baroque era pieces from a number of sources, including the Vatican museums, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, and private collectors. The artwork is designed to walk us through the different stages of Mary’s life, including her roles as daughter, mother, cousin and wife.

Anyone who appreciates beauty, and specifically beauty through art, will want to see this exhibit.

We probably will never know how many people, regardless of their faith background — or maybe their lack of a faith background — will be impacted by the artwork and be moved to reconsider not only the life of Mary, but the life of her son.

With this in mind, a Dominican order, the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, decided to offer some further food for thought: an inspirational gift for those who want to go a little bit deeper when viewing this exhibit.

This gift comes wrapped in the form of a website: picturingmary.com.

The website offers a guided encounter to 10 of the exhibition pieces with the hope of deepening visitors’ experiences by “deepening their knowledge of Mary.”

The website includes an accompanying reflection, links to paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church concerning the Church’s Marian teachings, as well as a number of other outstanding Marian resources.

The exhibit itself, as the Sisters of Mary state, is a real testimony to the beauty of the Blessed Mother — the beauty she continues to radiate over the centuries and through the generations.

Pope Paul VI said that modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. In a culture that often treats motherhood and everything associated with it as a disease, this exhibition and the accompanying website provide a real opportunity to showcase true feminine genius from its greatest witness: the Mother of God.

Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 130.