May 1, 2020

Dear All,

I hope everyone is well and staying safe.

I have some wonderful news about an initiative of the Illinois Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums that I would like to share with you.

For about two months, the Development Sub-Committee and the Board have been brainstorming about a 15-month initiative that would focus on Marian Art in the Vatican Museums and in the churches of the Archdiocese of Chicago. It was partially triggered by the pastoral sense that this was an opportune time to retrieve Marian art as a spiritual resource in our sustained engagement of the novel coronavirus epidemic. We need the best of medicine and government. But we also need to sustain our spirit as we persevere in this challenge. The initiative is called Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose), one of Mary’s many ecclesial titles.

Recently, this Illinois Patrons initiative gathered international and national support. Pope Francis has established the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, as a source of protection and strength. The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops followed suit. The universal Church is bringing forward its Marian traditions to help us in this planet-wide challenge. We see ourselves as part of this response.

We are working out the details of Rosa Mystica – funding, scheduling the lectures, number of events, selected Marian art, restoration opportunities, cooperation with local churches, creation of educational materials, etc. As soon as more information is available I will be in touch.

But, at this time, when we are all living day by day, I thought it would be heartening to know this initiative was afoot, to know Rosa Mystica will be accompanying us. 

All my best,


Anne Shea