01 November 2007


Yesterday was Halloween-- All Hallow's Eve. It may seem strange that I'm posting a photo of mosaic skeletons, but to me, the timing of this post is perfect. Today is the Feast of All Saints, or Hallowmas ("hallows" meaning "saints" and "mas" meaning "Mass"). In some parts of the world, they call it The Day of the Dead (Hungary, Italy, France) or el Dia de los Muertos (Mexico) where people visit cemeteries and celebrate death as the next journey by decorating tombstones, and eating special foods (like Bread of the Dead (pan de muerto). As far as I have ever known, in America, there isn't much celebration involved with this holy day (holiday) outside of immigrant communities. However, today is the day that we attend Mass to remember all of the faithful saints and martyrs, known or unknown. Tomorrow, is the commemoration of all those who have died, but have not yet reached heaven -- All Souls Day. The picture above was taken at the Franciscan Monastery Commisserat of the Holy Land in America, in Washington, DC. It is a beautiful monastery, and while this single mosaic from the wall of the Purgatory chapel is morbid, do not let it color your interpretation of the entire place.

The Monastery is incredibly beautiful, with collonades, a walking rosary (both shown above), and replicas of various holy sites including Lourdes (shown at the bottom with a statue of St. Bernadette), Bethlehem, and the early Christian catacombs. There are also several grottoes on site; this one is to commemorate death and resurrection. There is also a mosaic of the raising of Lazarus on the opposite wall.

I highly recommend a visit to this place, if ever you need a beautiful place of peace and serenity amid the hustle and bustle of DC, or to see the replicas of sites from the Holy Land. Be sure to stop by and visit gift shop, even if it is a little kitschy. The do have a wide selection of excellent books, and some interesting small gifts.

My pictures of this site aren't that great right now. I am due for another visit back so I can take some better, sharper pictures. I believe that Andrea probably has some good shots (with much better narrative)that she is likely to share here very soon.

Olympus 35mm, 200spd film

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