Mater Admirabilis

Mater Admirabilis

In 1844, a generation after the Society of the Sacred Heart was founded, Pauline Perdrau, a young novice, took it upon herself to produce a fresco of the Virgin Mary as Mater Admirabilis, which translates to “Mother Most Admirable” and is the title of a representation of Our Lady as a young maiden wearing pink. At the Convento di Trinità dei Monti in Rome. As a child, Pauline had had a favorite pink dress, so she chose to paint the Blessed Mary as a young woman in a rose-colored dress rather than a matronly Madonna in blue. The lily at Mary’s side represented her purity; the distaff and spindle, her love of work; a book, her dedication to study. Unfortunately, although Pauline put herself wholeheartedly into her task, her inexperience with the technique of fresco did not produce the beautiful soft painting for which she had hoped. Her superior found the colors of the fresco too garish and ordered it to be covered over with a curtain. Pope Pius IX, upon visiting the convent, requested that the curtain be removed. Seeing the fresco of our Lady, its colors inexplicably softened, he exclaimed, “Mater Admirabilis!” From then on miracles soon began with the cure of a missionary priest who had completely lost the power of speech. 

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