Sunday, November 10, 2013

National Black Catholic History Month: Our Mother of Africa Chapel

The chapel devoted to our Mother of Africa -- one of the many titles granted to the Blessed Virgin Mary -- is at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

According to the Basilica's website, the marble inlay at the front of the chapel represents that Henrietta Marie, a slave ship. The remains of the ship were discovered off Key West in 1972. The statue is of the Mother of Africa holding the Christchild. Both are depicted with African features.

The art in the room is meant to tell the story of the black American experience, from slavery to modern day. The National Black Catholic Congress notes that the sculptors and woodcarvers of the various projects in the room were Juvenal Kaliki, Ed Dwight, Jeffrey Brosk, Giancarlo Biagi, Jill Burkee and Jean Wiart.

The chapel is the gift of black American Catholics, under the leadership of Black U.S. bishops and the NBCC (stay tuned for a post about the NBCC). James Cardinal Hickey dedicated the chapel in 1997, according to the basilica's site.

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is located at 400 Michigan Ave, NW, Washington, DC. 20017.

Follow my National Black Catholic History Month tag for more information on black Catholic notables.

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