Notes on THE LADY OF GUADALUPE by Tomie...
I want to talk about a very special book this month. It is THE LADY OF GUADALUPE, published by Holiday House in 1980.
In 1955, while I was a student at Pratt Institute (the BEST art school in the WORLD!), I decided that I wanted to be a Benedictine monk. My parish priest in Connecticut, Father Eugene Moriarity, was sympathetic, but not overly enthusiastic.
He had a connection with a Benedictine monastery for nuns in Bethlehem, Connecticut. So, he decided to take me there to meet the Prioress, Mother Benedict Duss, who (he was sure) would dissuade me from even thinking more about it. She didn't.
The next thing Fr. Moriarity did, was to take me to a charming house near the monastery where two "LADY" artists lived - Lauren Ford and Frances Delehanty. Their house was called "Sheepfold." There was this very primitive drawing on the front door. Fr. Moriarity knocked on the door and it was opened by this tall, very gaunt lady, holding a canary in her hand.
"Oh, Father," she exclaimed. "This is Joey. I've been holding him all day because his mother won't keep him warm." (Lauren Ford raised canaries in her studio... probably to keep her company.) What a greeting! Then, Miss Delehanty entered the room. She was as short and squat as Lauren Ford was tall and gaunt.
Fr. Moriarity introduced me and we sat down to have tea (or bourbon) as we desired. Then, Miss Delehanty said to me, "Do you know about Our Lady of Guadalupe?"
I didn't. We had statues of other "Mary's" in the church and at home.
"Well," she said... and proceeded to tell me the beautiful story of Juan Diego and the Lady who appeared to him in what is now Mexico City, a long time ago.
"So," Miss Fanny (as she told me to call her) said, "I have a petition that I'm sending to ROME to get the POPE to make Our Lady of Guadalupe the Patron of Artists.
"After all," she added, "it's definitely a self-portrait."
I signed the petition immediately!
The Pope obviously ignored the petition, because in the Roman Catholic Church, which has a saint for everything, St. Luke is STILL the patron saint for artists. (He's also the patron saint for doctors!)
Well, NOT FOR ME!
Read my book, THE LADY OF GUADALUPE. Many Mexicans call her "La Morena." I do, too!
She's my patron saint for artists. She knows how hard it is to do a self-portrait.