In this painting, two fabrics, entirely different in tone and texture, were necessary for illustrating the complete change in Mary. Expecting a long search, I prayerfully started with the conveniently located store I patronized. On opening the door to their fabric department, there were the two envisioned fabrics stacked together as if waiting for me, one a textured rust-colored fabric and the other white slipper satin! Any seamstress will agree that materials are usually grouped according to kind and sometimes one never finds what she originally had in mind!
Using a sequence of expressive heads and hands, I wanted to emphasize the smooth change coming to this troubled young lady overwhelmed by her spiritual blindness. The coin on her forehead indicates the worship (love) of money, one of the seven self-abuses weighting the deadly load. Even one can be life threatening, knowing enough problems come in life without adding to them. She looks sick and hopeless within the darkness of self-deception associated with reckless behavior. Some preachers and writers have labeled Mary as a prostitute, but the Scriptures don’t accuse her of this. I show her asking for trouble by a behavior which began to war against her soul, Mary’s most precious possession. No one really knows what her seven sins were. Maybe this makes it easier to empathize and know her need. Since the disciples did not believe her joyful announcement of Christ’s Resurrection, she may have been known in the past as a chronic liar. Christ plainly says that *satan is the father of lies. If guilty, she was employed by the wrong spirit, blinding her view of self-worth and the worth of others. The particle of truth left in her was acknowledging that help was needed, so when meeting Christ (second figure) she knew He was her merciful Savior, God’s only Son. A tear of relief is visible while clasping her mantle close. Reckless behavior has disappeared. Repentance and remission of sins became absolute belief. The beauty of Christ’s Truth and Grace filled Mary’s Soul with Peace for loving God’s Will, enabling her to “go and sin no more.” I used a Heavenly shade of blue in the third figure representing Truth and white representing having been washed clean. The Golden Light is the Light of Christ she has come into, leaving the darkness in the past and becoming the new true-self God made her with blessed self-control.
Now Mary has power from God to live a life free from all that kept her from God with unshakable Faith. Christ’s assurance of her place in the Heavenly Father’s Home brought lasting happiness. Heaven, being the Place where God’s Will is done, brings hope for His Will being done on Earth for Peace and Good Will to all people.
When finishing this painting, I noticed a small cross formed of lighter tones in the raised two fingers of her prayerful hands reminiscent of The Savior’s suffering and love for every person.
Mary Magdalene of the New Testament became an outstanding woman after the Savior, Jesus Christ, cleansed her from seven sins. It is of great interest to me that Mary was chosen as the first person to see the Risen Christ and the first to hear Him speak, although joyful recognition came only when He so beautifully sounded her name. Then the Greatest Honor given her was the sole responsibility for giving the Sacred Announcement of Christ’s Resurrection to His Disciples.
It is inspiring to think on what Christ thought of this converted woman that He would appoint her as His spokesperson of Eternal Life knowing she was the perfect one for the Sacred Privilege. Imagine how Heavenly Mary Magdalene must have felt, as a saved woman, carrying the greatest message ever given throughout time! Amazing Grace!
My model easily chosen.
During the time when my young cousin, Sandra, was teaching first grade here in Orlando, I already had the plan in mind to show the transformation from Mary’s miserable darkness of the spirit to the Light of Christ’s Spirit of Peace. Sandra, beautiful inside and out, was the perfect model to help with my plan.
After supper, one evening, we went to a Woolworth’s store and bought some junk jewelry that had an ancient look for the first figure. The third had to be photographed first with a single flood light minus distracting accessories. I draped the slipper satin mantle on the transformed peaceful Mary, arranging her hair in a smooth fashion. As Sandra imagined how Mary might be in the Peace of Christ, with the light shining on her in a dark room, perfection was expressed. Dad happened to pass by the door and in hushed tones called to mom, “Evy, come here and look!” My parents stood quietly looking at their niece as Mary Magdalene transformed, an inspiring sight.
This painting was finished in 1963. Now, 2002, I want to relate a special story concerning Sandra’s life. At age 59, she received a liver transplant on February 24, 1998 from a young man who gave the gift of life by being an organ donor. Other lives were saved also by his love. Sandra said, “I am very fortunate and very grateful for the way things took place in my case. Everything was done so quickly, because I got so sick so fast! I did not have to wait on the organ that many people have, my health failed rapidly and to save my life I had to go to the top of the list.”
“I guess the good Lord wanted me to stay a little longer,” said Sandra while giving her transplant doctor praise for his excellent work at LifeLink. (For further information log on to LifeLinkfound.0rg.)
I’m happy to say that my cousin is in fine health, enjoying her family and speaking to groups about the gift of love by being an organ donor. Her husband, Charlie, serves on the Legacy Fund Board at LifeLink while being very helpful in the support group. Sandra says, “He does a great job.”