When Sue Silverstein called Jon last night and told him that one of her students, Ploe needed a mattress, Jon said he’d come to Bishop Maginn the next day and asked me if I wanted to go with him. Sue found out that Ploe and his brother have been sleeping on their livingroom floor, when he complained of neck and back pain.
When Jon and I got there, Sue’s art room was full of kids eating their lunch, painting and drawing. “My classes are full”, Sue told me happily.
There haven’t been so many kids at Bishop Maginn in years. During the pandemic word spread of what a good school it is. How bullying isn’t tolerated and the kids, many of them refugees, are made to feel welcomed and loved. Most of the kids at Bishop Maginn who want to go to College get to.
Sue told me her first art project is for the kids is for them to draw and paint what the past year and a half, during the pandemic, has meant to them.
As I walked around the class room I saw the Virgin Mary on the counter surrounded by the kid’s ceramics and glue and paper towels. It felt so right to me, like Mary was blessing the art supplies, that I had to take a picture.
This is the Virgin Mary that would be at Bishop Maginn.
Not one cloistered in a grotto, surrounded by flowers and candles. But a Virgin Mary who is a part of it all. One who understands the importance of what is going on in Sue’s classroom. The necessity of glue, and paint, and paper towels, the tools that allow so many of the kids at Bishop Maginn to express what they’re feeling and who they are.
I grew up around images and statues of the Virgin Mary, but I never saw her the way I did today in Sue’s classroom. I think I finally understand why so many people, especially women pray to her. Not that I can explain it.
I just feel it.