13 November 2012

Our Lady Porta Coeli - St. Vincent Ferrer Church, New York, NY

New York Tribune, 6 October 1919, page 9

From a New York Tribune article found on the Library of Congress site

"A statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child, pronounced by connoisseurs to be the most artistic sculpture of the subject in America, was unveiled yesterday afternoon in the Roman Catholic Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, Sixty-sixth Street and Lexington Avenue.  The statue is of alabaster and onyx marble, greater than life size, and was donated by a parishioner who does not wish his identity disclosed.  Lee O. Lawrie was the sculptor.

The Very Rev. J.R. Hefferman, O.P., pastor of the St. Vincent Ferrer's, chose three little girl pupils of his parochial school, daughters of the poorest families in the parish, to unveil the figure.  The Rt. Rev. John T. McNicholas, Dominican Bishop of Duluth, blessed the statue.  The Rev. J.B. O'Connor preached the sermon.  Ardolino Brothers did the carving on the statue.  A solid silver crown set with jewels surmounts the figure of the Virgin.  It cost $2,500."

Our Lady Porta Coeli

"Positioned on the chancel pier south of the main altar, this statue of Mary sits exactly between the nave and the sanctuary. If the nave represents earth and the sanctuary represents heaven, then Mary appropriately stands as the “gate” that joins the two realms and through whom Jesus passes from heaven to earth. This statue of Our Lady is therefore called Porta Cœli (“Gate of Heaven”). The face and hands of the Christ Child and of Mary are made of alabaster; the rest is marble. There are four small sculpted heads at the base of the statue’s canopy. The small scenes of the Old Testament on the border of Mary’s gown are by Ethel Parson Paullin, a painter and book illustrator."


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