Most commonly know as “the Virgin of Mercy,” the Mary Our Lady of Refuge Plaque depicts Mary holding her cloak open to shelter clergy, laypeople, and royalty alike. This depiction of Mary is inspired by legal codes which guaranteed protection and safety from prosecution to all who found shelter under the cloak of a person with authority such as a king or queen. Mary, Our Lady of Refuge, is known in Germany as the Schutzmantelmadonna (Sheltering-cloak Madonna), in Italy as the Madonna della Misericordia (Madonna of Mercy), and in France as the Vièrge au Manteau or Vierge de Miséricorde (Virgin with a cloak or Virgin of Mercy). This solid bronze plaque is a most appropriate gift for a confirmation, birthday, first communion, and ordination.
A Solid Bronze Plaque
Measuring 5.1 x 2 inches, this solid bronze plaque can be hung easily on any wall in your office and home. This plaque was designed and realized in Germany by a world renowned bronze-smith. A most meaningful and fitting gift for that special someone in your life who has a devotion to Our Lady of Refuge, the Virgin of Mercy.
Mother Hen or Icon of God’s Maternal Love?
Those seeking shelter under Mary’s cloak are usually depicted kneeling, and are by necessity at a much smaller scale. They may come from segments of Christian society, with royal crowns, mitres, and even a papal tiara in the front rows, or they may represent only the local townsfolk. Our Lady of Refuge, or the Virgin of Mercy, was a widespread devotion in Europe, often as a specific form of votive portrait, and especially in Italy from the 13th to 16th centuries. The Lutheran Reformer, Martin Luther, ridiculed the Schutzmantelmadonna as a “hen with her chicks.” But Our Lady of Refuge, the Virgin of Mercy, can be interpreted even more easily and respectfully as a special pathway to God, as an icon of God’s maternal love for us: ”As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…” (Isaiah 66:13).