Poulenc did not practice his Catholic faith seriously until his close friend Pierre-Octave Ferroud was killed in a car accident in 1936. Deeply anguished by this, Poulenc went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Notre-Dame de Rocamadour. There Poulenc experienced a reconversion to Catholicism. The Litanies for the Black Virgin are a product of that experience.
In Poulenc’s own words: The text is a plea to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity for mercy and understanding.
I looked it up a bit, but I was wondering what the significance and history is of the black madonna? The reason that I decided made most sense was that it was more or less an accurate portrayal of her actual skin tone, even though I don't see artists from the middle ages having that type of knowledge! Thanks, love this blog by the way!
That is a very interesting question. I have read just about everything there is to read about the subject. Yet I am not able to give a conclusive answer to that question.
Several explanations have been given:
(1) The Church usually refers to the Song of Songs 1 verse 5: I am black, but comely. Medieval artists are believed to have drawn inspiration from this Bible verse when creating images of Mary.
(2) Some scholars believe that the veneration of Black Madonnas is a Christianised version of earth goddess cults. Many shrines of Cybele, Diana or Isis housed dark skinned images of these goddesses and were later rededicated to Mary, so this is certainly a plausible explanation for the existence of Black Madonnas.
(3) Author Ean Begg suggests that Black Madonnas were originally revered by esoteric groups connected to the Templars and Cathars. This theory is dismissed by most historians and does not explain why Black Madonnas continued to be venerated in the Catholic Church, which was very opposed to Medieval esotericism.
(4) Jungian psychologists see the Black Madonna as manifestations of maternal and female archetypes. Some also claim she unites the forces of life (as the Mother of God) and death (symbolised by the colour black), much like the black Hindu goddess Kali.
I have come to the conclusion that the enigmatic nature of these images will always be part of their appeal. It touches upon the human need to explain everything. By being concealed in mystery the Black Madonna reminds us of how little we really know!
Behold, O Mother of Perpetual Help, at thy feet a wretched sinner, who has recourse to thee and trusts in thee. O Mother of mercy, have pity on me; I hear all men call thee the refuge and hope of sinners: be therefore my refuge and my hope.
Te felicito por tu tumblelog, todas las fotos son maravillosas!!! =)
Y a mí Madre le digo: Bendita sea tu pureza y eternamente lo sea, pues todo un Dios se recrea, en tan graciosa belleza. A Ti celestial princesa, Virgen Sagrada María, te ofrezco en este día, alma vida y corazón. Mírame con compasión, no me dejes, Madre mía. Amén.
Today is the first day of the novena of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a cycle of nine days of devotion to this famous icon of Mary.
Each day during the novena devotees will say the following prayer, followed by three Hail Marys:
Oh Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your powerful name, the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying. Purest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips.
Delay not, Blessed Lady, to rescue me whenever I call on you. In my temptations, in my needs, I will never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary. What a consolation, what sweetness, what confidence fills my soul when I utter your sacred name or even only think of you! I thank the Lord for having given you so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name.
But I will not be content with merely uttering your name. Let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you Mother of Perpetual Help. Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for me and grant me the favor I confidently ask of you.