Today's Gospel in Art - I pray for those you have given me

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Arrival of the Pardon of Saint Anne at Concarneau, by Alfred Guillou, 1887 © Museum of Fine Art, Quimper

Arrival of the Pardon of Saint Anne at Concarneau, by Alfred Guillou, 1887 © Museum of Fine Art, Quimper

Gospel of 26th May 2020 - John 17:1-11

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

'Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him. And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do.

Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world was. I have made your name known to the men you took from the world to give me. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you; for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me. I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified. I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.'

Reflection on the Painting

Isn't this a beautiful painting! The title of this work is 'The Arrival of the Pardon of Sainte Anne at Concarneau'. A 'pardon' is a typically French Breton type of pilgrimage, and is one of the most traditional demonstrations of popular Catholicism in Brittany. The origins probably date back to the conversion of the country by the Celtic monks. It is similar to the Saint Patrick's Day parades for example. As this is a penitential ceremony / pilgrimage, an indulgence used to be granted to the participants. Hence use of the word 'pardon'.

The painting shows the sisters bringing a statue of Saint Anne to Concarneau on the day of 'pardon', with numerous small boats and vessels navigating in procession. A gentle wind is breezing. The pastel colour tonalities add to the softness and gracefulness of the image. The Breton fishermen help the front vessel onto the beach. The tops of the masts are crosses. The same face has been used for the women in the front boat, indicating the artist used one studio model.… A lot to look at in this painting.

Jesus prays to His Father today: 'I pray for those you have given me'. Jesus prays for us to His Father, and we pray to Him, His Father... and His Blessed Mother… just as the people are praying in our painting today…


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Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Alfred Guillou

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