RELIGIOUS LIFE AND MUSEUM HISTORY

Anthony D'Alessandro

Fine Arts painter, Br. Anthony Joseph D'Alessandro. osmv., is Vice-Regent of the Order of Saint Mary the Virgin and founding member of the Marial Museum of Sacred Art.

THE ORDER OF SAINT MARY THE VIRGIN AND ITS ART COLLECTION:

    The Order of Saint Mary the Virgin of the Confession of Augsburg was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in the Autumn of 1987 by Bishop H.W. Michael Tajra, the late Deacon Thomas Hartley Dorris (+1994) and Father Gerard Reynaud. It is of Lutheran heritage and tradition, but entirely ecumenical in its membership and in its outreach.

    The Order's spiritual life is seven-fold: a life of prayer and silence, of contemplation and meditation, of Word and Sacrament, and of pilgrimage. The Order's contemplative life is centered on the Mystery of the Incarnation; on the relationship between the Divine Christ Child and His Blessed Mother and on Our Lady's ministry of pointing to her Son as the world's Redeemer. The Order's prayer life is manifested by the celebration of Mass, the culminating point in our Daily Cycle of Prayer, the recitation of the Divine Office, especially Morning and Evening Prayer, meditation of the Rosary and spiritual readings and studies (lectio sancta).

    The Order's apostolate is also seven-fold: to pray and work for world peace, social justice, and human rights; to safeguard the precious gift of diversity in our multi-cultural world where it is under assault by religious fundamentalism, to protect the environment as steward's of God's Creation. The Order works for the protection of all persecuted Christians everywhere in the world, and especially with those victims of the Christian Genocide in the Near East. Finally the Order and the Museum both work for a renaissance of our glorious Christian culture and civilization.

    The Order is governed by a Bishop-Abbot assisted by a Consilium or General Council. The Order has two Archdeaconries: one in Fort Lauderdale, Florida which oversees any work in North, Central, and South America, as well as in the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim. The second Archdeaconry is in Paris, France which oversees any activity in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

    The first work of art in what is now the Marial Collection was a Byzantine icon depicting Our Lady of the Holy Sign. This piece was painted (written) by Soeur Laure Morel of the Protestant Order of the Sisters of Grandchamps. Since then the Permanent Collection, which is composed of mainly contemporary pieces, has expanded attesting to the renewal of the ancient tradition of the Sacred Arts, which we try to encourage. In that vein, the Museum has sponsored 19 exhibitions in the last 14 years (2002-2016). These have enabled us to meet the general public, to introduce new sacred artists to them and not only to present our Christian cultural tradition to them through the works of art displayed, but also to create dialogue with people of other views and beliefs.