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Visions of Mary, by Jill Geoffrion.

December 3, 2017

Visions of Mary
Visions of Mary: Art, Devotion, and Beauty,
by Jill Geoffrion.  Brewster, MS: Paraclete Press, 2017.

4 stars

An inspiring combination of art, history, and religious understanding of the images of  Mary in the Notre-Dame de Chartes Cathedral.

Jill Geoffrion is a scholar with a Ph.D. from Union Institute in Cincinnati where she focused on Women’s Studies.  She is interested in spiritual embodiment and has written seven books on labyrinths.  She defines herself as “Serving Christ as a contemplative minister and artist by compassionately and creatively inspiring others to seek a deeper relationship with God and a more meaningful life of service.”

Born and raised as a Protestant, Geoffrion only discovered the rich traditions around Mary as an adult.  She credits Catholics for helping her understand what Mary has meant since the medieval era.  As a woman, trained in Women’s Studies, she has identified with Mary in her various roles, usually presented alongside others in the images at Chartes.  Geoffrion has organized the book around the various images of Mary in the Cathedral: Mother of Jesus, Mother of God. Mother of the Church, and Mother of Us All.  She also carefully tracks the bible stories on which the images are based.

Visions of Mary is a strikingly beautiful book, full of beautiful vividly-colored photographs of stained glass and statues. Some of photographs focus on details or unusual angles, all taken by Geoffrion.  These are far superior to most ordinary illustrations. (Since my NOOK only reproduces black and white images, I read the book online. I urge others to do the same or find a way to read the actual volume.)

Geoffrion has a website and a blog where she has reproduced some of the images from Visions of Mary along with prayers and scripture.  I recommend it along with the book itself.  Whether or not readers share Geoffrion’s faith, what she offers is worth seeing.

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