"A Martyr's Moon... along the Wye " - oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches
A Different kind of "moonscape"
You might ask the question... "Why such a seemingly cold and joy-less subject for sharing on Christmas Eve? Why stand out in the deep cold and dark for three hours to capture this bleak moonscape... using my car's headlights to complete this large canvas. Cheerier and more seasonally appropriate subjects most certainly abounded nearby.
This is one of those subjects that I settle down to from time to time that satisfy my own need to search for answers which provide clarity to my own interests and goals. Again, the visual imagery combines with an inner voice which represents itself externally in the form of prose. Together, they flesh out a complete personal response.
The Martyr's Shrine, located near Midland, Ontario is now a well established pilgrimage site which operates in all seasons which serves all faiths... not just Catholicism. There is a historical reenactment aspect carried out on site which features an authentic stockade from the period, complete with historical figures and activities which replicate life as it was in "Huronia" in the 1600's. High school students are hired each summer to fill the ranks of the re-enactors. This provides both a vital and living link to area history.
Visiting The Midland Shrine is a virtual teaching and learning experience that marries the French Jesuit presence and function in that world with that of the indigenous Huron nation who peopled that area. One is immediately brought face-to-face with the hardships suffered by both inhabitants and the struggles that they met on a daily basis just to survive.
The existence of today's activities... and the actualization of a stone and mortar edifice or shrine stands as a silent witness to the suffering and brutal slaying of two Jesuit priests, Father Jean de Brebeuf and Father Gabriel Lalement who were tortured and butchered at the hands of an invading Iroquoian war party. This fierce nation from Northern New York constantly warred against the French and their Wendat, or Huron allies.
Butchery inflicted upon simple peoples, political power and control continues to still exist in our divided world. Thankfully... "goodness for the sake of goodness" coexists and flourishes as well. What remains comforting is that we each have choice to decide which view we will serve.
In closing out this Christmas Eve post I seek to encourage optimism and Faith... in Life and in Death. My own path is set.. and I follow the path with courage... Hope... choosing Believing ... as did our Allison in her own journey beyond darkness and despair.
I love "You" forever Jemima!
A Martyr's Moon Along the Wye River
Death comes to us all
How one faces it...
And goes forward towards the darkness
Which is, ironically... towards the Light
Defeats the powers of darkness.
Not raging... nor afraid
But in Faith and Hope
Holding onto one's flickering candle bravely
Unafraid... even to the end.
Holding firmly... resolutely to that ever faint bit of hope.
As did these brave and saintly souls
In one dark hour
Now three hundred years ago.
Their purpose and their mission
Were not silenced
By their hideous passage.
Faith overrides death... and all suffering
Forward to Resurrection,
To enter Eternity...
Wednesday, November 20th, 2001
Christmas surely begs for the sounds of music. Huronia was the birthplace of a truly beloved early piece of Canadian Christmas music. The Huron Carol lyrics were composed in those now distant savagery of three hundred years ago by its martyred creator, Father Jean de Brebeuf.
I cannot end this Christ Eve blog.... leaving my readers in a darkened place or mood. Wherever darkness is... Light exists also. That is true... especially at Sainte -Marie -among-the- Hurons. It is at this time that the site rededicates itself annually to the true light of Christian beliefs with the Festival of First Light celebrations. Enjoy this short video visit to Sainte Marie.
Joyeux Noel... tout le monde!