"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Escudos de monjas: Nun's shields and crowned nuns.

Escudo de Monja

Spanish colonial art is my favorite religious art - even the folksy Santa Fe style.  Icons were piously correct for me to paint and venerate when I was younger, but Spanish devotional art was not at all in favor.  Icons were preferred, while the Catholic Baroque was considered pre-Vatican II.  Which may be one reason why it is so desired by secular collectors these days.

Anyway - in preparation for the feasts of Our Lady: The Immaculate Conception, Guadalupe, and Loreto, I found a scrap of copper to paint my version of an escudos des monjas, depicting the Virgin of the Apocalypse.  It is such a small painting and I do not see very well at all - even using magnifying glasses.  I'm using acrylic on copper and I need to be careful to avoid any glaze build up as I paint.  The work isn't as refined as I'd like, although it is a wonderful meditation.  The Immaculate Conception is all joy to ponder over... Mary of Agreda called her the mystical City of God, didn't she?  As did St. Louis de Montfort, "The saints have said wonderful things of Mary, the holy City of God". Blessed are those found in Her.

So, for the first Sunday of Advent, I'll share a couple examples of these wonderful nun's badges - escudos de monjas.

Escudo with saints.

An early 20th century example
of a Conceptionist nun.
Note the rosary around neck.


  1. Look forward to your works of art, Terry while at the same time, I also look forward to your eyes being restored to health. May your surgery go well. My mom had her her cataracts removed a few years ago and is doing fine.

    I remember many years ago, I went to the LACM ot see the famous Mexican exhibition which was on tour at the time:
    "Mexico through the Centuries" Pre-Columbian art to present day. Many fabulous pieces...what I remember most were the life sized portraits of some of the nuns. I remember folks chuckling at how unhappy they all looked. I recall thinking,"Gee, they all look like they drink vinegar. Where is the joy that is to be had in finding and being wed to Christ for the rest of one's life?"
    Not one of them was portrayed with a smile. They all looked so serious and tight. I have always remembered that museum visit.
    I hope whoever those young women were, that somewhere in their consecrated life, as a nun, they found true joy and could smile at Jesus like he smiled at them. All I see are smiles when I visit the Carmelites here close to home.

    Thanks for sharing, Terry. The photograph is my favorite.

  2. Thanks Yaya!

    As for the nuns without smiles - I think it was more the custom at the time not to be smiling for portraits.

    1. No smiles? Well, I understand since I am sure they smiled in secret and with great delight at His Majesty much like Santa Teresa de Avila did. ^^

      Good luck at the Honda dealer...I will be taking my car in for service too and gonna try out some websites too. ;p

  3. Beautiful art here, Terry. I'd never heard nor seen "escudos de monjas", ("shields of nuns"). They were so colorful, much like in real-life. I love the "retablos" artwork of Mexico too. One can see how the people really loved their Faith. Our Lady of Guadalupe feast-day's coming-up soon and my favorite image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated so much on that day. As a young friend of one of my daughters once said, "the Church is more fun in Mexico than here"; which is the way he expressed it, and I agree with that totally. God bless and all yr. readers here.


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