Wednesday, July 28, 2010


There've been a couple of comments about the new woman in some of my photos, so I thought I'd introduce her. I think of her as the "fiat woman".

I first met her when I was in college. She was in the chapel at a retreat house I went to occasionally. It was an informal chapel where you could sit on the floor, and since she was also on the floor I saw a lot of her. What impressed me then - and still does - is her posture of total openness. Hands open at her sides, head facing forward to whatever might come. A complete fiat ("let it be") attitude. But it's not a passive openness; her hands aren't relaxed and she's leaning forward as if she's listening intently to something. Her eyes are open, not closed in contemplation. She's actively holding herself open.

I hadn't seen her since college, except for a few years in the Abbey Press catalog. I didn't have the money or the space for something as frivolous as a statue, so I didn't buy her although I wanted to.

Then, a few weeks ago, I unexpectedly saw her looking at me from a vintage shop on Etsy (I don't need a reminder that anything from my college days is now considered vintage). Her description there was as an "ethnic woman"; the seller hadn't been able to figure out what ethnicity she was, so listed a number of possibilities. This surprised me, as I'd never thought of her in that way. In fact, one of the things I've always liked about her is that she's really an everywoman. Her features are undefined enough that you can see anyone - even yourself - in her. Maybe that's why the seller had a hard time connecting her to one ethnic group.

For the same reason, I've never thought of her as being Mary. Although Mary's "Fiat" can be a model for us, we each have our own fiat moments - some big and life changing, others so buried in everyday life that we may not even notice them. She reminds me to be aware of those moments, rather than drifting along not paying much attention to how I make decisions, large and small. Am I responding to God's call? Am I even recognizing God's call?

So I'm glad to have her back; I need those reminders. And, yes, she'll show up in my photos from time to time when I'm listing rosaries that aren't too large for her to hold. Because of her vertical orientation, she probably won't be in the first photo very often; she'll have to be looked for.

Even though I don't see her as "Mother Mary," I find her very much "speaking words of wisdom: Let it be."


  1. Wow! That is a very inspirational piece. I would have never thought that some so simple could have such a history and so much meaning. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Personnally I think she reminds me of mother Mary and how that she looks at you at all times offering that I am here for you if you need me look. But thats what I get from her