Our Lady of Refuge Plaque – most commonly know as “the Virgin of Mercy” – depicts Mary holding her cloak wide open to welcome and shelter laypeople, clergy, and royalty alike. This depiction was inspired by legal codes which guaranteed safety and protection from prosecution to all who found shelter under the cloak of a person with authority such as a king or queen. Our Lady of Refuge is known in Italy as the Madonna della Misericordia (Madonna of Mercy), in Germany as the Schutzmantelmadonna (Sheltering-cloak Madonna), 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 fitting gift for a birthday, confirmation, first communion, and ordination.
A Solid Bronze Plaque in Three Sizes
Available in three sizes – Small (p171k – 2.5 x 1.4 inches) or Medium (p30m – 4.5 x 2.6 inches), Large (p546gd – 9.45 x 5.12 inches) – this solid bronze plaque can be placed with ease on any wall in your home or office. This plaque was conceived and cast in Germany by a master bronze-smith of world renown. A beautiful and meaningful gift for that special someone with a devotion to Our Lady of Refuge, the Virgin of Mercy.
Mother Hen or Icon of God’s Maternal Love?
The Virgin is usually depicted with people seeking shelter under her cloak. The people sheltered normally kneel, and are by necessity depicted at a much smaller scale. They may represent all members of Christian society, with royal crowns, mitres, and even a papal tiara in the front rows, or represent only the local lay population. Our Lady of Refuge, or the Virgin of Mercy, was a popular devotion in Europe, especially in Italy from the 13th to 16th centuries, often as a specialised form of votive portrait. Martin Luther disparaged the Schutzmantelmadonna as a “hen with her chicks.” But Our Lady of Refuge, the Virgin of Mercy, can be interpreted just as easily as a way 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).