Immaculate Heart of Mary Statue, St Mary’s Cathedral

By Vivienne Rose Diamond

As we continue exploring the theme of Divine Feminine Energy Rising, we take a trip to one of the spiritual homes of Mary, St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, NSW, Australia.

South facing view of St Mary’s Cathedral
West facing view of St Mary’s Cathedral

Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Our Lady, Mother of Yeshua, Mystical Rose are a handful of titles bestowed to her, the quintessence of pure love, caring and compassion. Along with Magdalene, Mary led a core group of Sisters of the Rose at the Crucifixion in Jerusalem. They prayed at the foot of the cross until Yeshua died and remained in mourning up until learning of his resurrection.

Last month, I too prayed at the foot of the bed of my 92-year-old cherished father’s frail body in the aged care home. He was my first teacher and guide who walked a path of love, tranquillity, belonging, caring and responsibility. He provided his family and friends with simple and meaningful strategies to teach, heal, create, nurture, entertain and solve problems. Decency, loyalty, strength, dignity and self-respect were all qualities that he not only held in high regard but also practised every day during his time on this Earth. He was a charming, considerate, courteous gentleman who tenderly touched lives; he communicated from his heart with serene and pure vibrations of love.

Forty-eight hours prior, I instinctively felt drawn to visit the grand Gothic revival construction of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. The original Cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1865, nevertheless Archbishop Polding commissioned a new building to be designed, which now prevails on the current site.

From the vista of Hyde Park, I fixed my eyes on the flying buttresses of the nave and the ominous stone statues of gargoyles as they sat tall on the turrets and towers glaring hotly down at me.

Flying buttresses of south nave with stone statue of Mary carrying the baby Yeshua
Ominous stone statues of gargoyles
Ominous stone statues of gargoyles
Ominous stone statues of gargoyles

As I walked through the main doors of the cathedral, I was greeted by the high arches of the central arcade and the south facing Rose window (Rosone). The length of the nave gave the impression it was endless.

Main doors of the cathedral showing high arches of the central arcade

The opulent colours and rays of light through the grand North window with the “Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary” refracted rainbows. Straightaway, I felt a clearer and more expansive awareness and I understood that my father’s time of living in his physical body was very close.

Magnificent grand North window with the “Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary” as Queen of Heaven and Earth surrounded by the celestial choir, winged and robed in blue, singing, and playing instruments.

The altar in the chapel of Our Lady was constructed from Oamaru stone, natural New Zealand limestone.

Altar in the chapel of Mary surrounded by 8 saints including:
  • Saint Teresa of Calcutta (original name Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu)-Founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Received Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979 and the Templeton Prize in 1973. Baptized 27 August, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia (now Republic of North Macedonia) and died 5 September, in 1997, Kolkata, India. Feast Day is 5 September.
  • Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (original name Edith Stein)-Roman Catholic convert from Judaism, Carmelite nun, spiritual writer and philosopher. Executed by the Nazis in 1942 due to her Jewish ancestry at the Auschwitz concentration camp. A modern day Martyr. Born 12 October, 1891 in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) and died 9/10 August 1942. Feast Day is 9 August.
  • Saint Maria Goretti-Patron Saint of youth, girls and teenagers and the youngest canonized Saint. Born 16 October 1890 and died at the age of 11 in Italy, on 6 July in 1902. At her beatification in 1947, a crowd of 250,000 gathered and was canonized by Pope Pius XII. Feast Day is 6 July.
  • Saint Monica-Mother of Saint Augustine, Patron Saint of Mothers, Wives and Alcoholics. Born of Christian parents in Tagaste (present day Souk Ahras, Algeria) in 333 and died at Ostia, near Rome in 387.
  • Saint Hildegard of Bingen-Patron Saint of Musicians and Writers, German abbess, visionary mystic and composer. Born in West Franconia, Germany in 1098 and died 17 September, 1179 in Rupertsberg near Bingen, Germany. Feast Day is 17 September.
  • Saint Catherine of Siena (original name Caterina Benincasa)-Dominican tertiary, mystic and one of the Patron Saints of Italy. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970 and Patron Saint of Europe in 1999. Born in Siena, Tuscany on 25 March 1347 and died on 29 April 1380, in Rome, Italy. Feast Day is 29 April.
  • Saint Teresa of Ávila (original name Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada)-Spanish nun, one of the significant mystics and religious women of the Roman Catholic Church and author of spiritual classics. Initiator of the Carmelite Reform and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970. Born 28 March 1515 in Ávila, Spain and died 4 October, 1582 in Alba de Tormes, Spain. Feast Day is 15 October.
  • Saint Mary of the Cross (Saint Mary Helen Mackillop)-Religious figure, educator and social reformer who was the first Australian beatified by the Roman Catholic Church and the first Australian to be recognised as one of its Saints. Unceremoniously seen as the Patron Saint of Sexual Abuse Victims and founded Australia’s first order of nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. Born 15 January in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1842 and died 8 August 1909 in North Sydney, NSW, Australia. Feast Day is 8 August.

It was 4:45 PM and Evening Prayer or Vespers was about to take place, said the generous, warm-hearted and welcoming volunteer in the Cathedral store, positioned in the western nave. There were all types of Cathedral collectables including postcards and icons, stationery and rosaries, medals, and books.

The Rosary beads in all sizes, shapes and quality were strung with multi-coloured crystals, plastic, and wood. I scanned them and even though beautiful, nothing jumped out. She then went over to the vitrine and took out a sparkling crystal rosary. It was made from Swarovski crystals. Beguiled, I knew it was the perfect gift to hold and recite the rosary throughout my father’s dying process.

Crystal Rosary

Unexpectedly the cantor sung choral music that expressed Latin chants and psalms. The first pew, fronting the high altar summoned me as my ears and mind were mesmerised by the melody. A tad to the left, the most superb statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Madonna and child was placed. The ornamented royal blue and gilded mantle over a dark red robe shimmered despite the late afternoon. A sceptre in her left hand, a symbol of sovereignty and the baby Yeshua in her right carried the orb, a golden globe surmounted by a cross. A gesture of blessing with his right hand was presented. A heavenly crown upon her head of 12 stars, as mentioned in the book of Revelation 12:1 from The Holy Bible, New King James Version:

“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.”

Two triangular floral arrangements consisted of yellow tiger lilies, chrysanthemums, gladioli, daisies, delphinium and greenery decorated her. At her feet, two additional white floral arrangements of white tiger lilies, lisianthus and roses encircled her. A small waterfall of tears raced down my cheekbones in a series of cascades. My soul was flooded with waves of sadness and loss as I contemplated my sweet father’s passing.

I had faced many demands in the aged care home over the last 10 months, yet pushed onward. The alarm system in my body caused my adrenal glands to release surges of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. I experienced an elevated heart rate in that moment, as if I was under attack, a freeze response was turned on.

I struggled yet meditated the Hail Mary Prayer and asked for heavenly intercession as was the norm during my schooling years. A Catholic primary and high school upbringing in the inner west, in the Polding group was where the ‘whole’ girl-body, mind and spirit-was nourished. We were encouraged through our faith to search for meaning and to acquire a sound moral basis for life. We showed up at mass regularly each Friday in the Polding Memorial Chapel on perfectly manicured school grounds. It was here, I learnt the Hail Mary.

Without warning, a delicate, warm, light-filled, graceful presence swathed me and the omnipresent field of consciousness expanded throughout the cathedral. In the present moment, I experienced a state of mystical knowing, that my father would be under her spiritual motherhood, that she would continue her motherly care for him and let him pass peacefully. After Vespers had finished, I strolled home a lot more settled in my body, mind and soul.

It was the second of February 2022 and our family jointly agreed on the decision not to escalate him to ICU/intubation/resuscitation as we wanted to prioritise comfort. I held a lengthy bedside vigil and encouraged relaxation and provided tender reassurance as I stroked his forehead. He showed symptoms of shortness of breath, agitation, and pain. He was given a second 2.5mg subcutaneous injection of morphine.

I prayed the rosary simultaneously and was guided into a restful, silent and soundless space. A kind, soothing presence pervaded the unlit room except for the single white candle beside the icon of Mary cradling her son on his bedside table. His bedroom was scented in roses-pure essential rose oil that I sprayed on both of us. I splashed Lourdes Holy Water on his emaciated body and anointed his forehead with it. I experienced once again being blanketed by this loving, serene presence and my fading father inhaled and exhaled, noisily breathing. The mellow repetition of the words of the Hail Mary Prayer especially “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death” was felt in the heart of my being.

The experience of my father’s dying process was one of inner guidance and explicit connection with Mary. Rosary, also called prayer beads, comes from the Latin rosarium, meaning “rose garden”. The most universal rosary is the one offered to Mary, the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin and as I repeated out loud the 150 Hail Marys with the assistance of the rosary and meditated, I felt totally loved and hugged by Mary’s protective embrace.

Statue of Mary surrounded by blooming red roses outside St Mary’s Cathedral House

Mary is the spiritual being representing the Divine Mother. Just as she parented Yeshua, she guided me to develop my inner Christ light. Mary is the essence of nurturing energy, of acceptance and unconditional love. Her energy is incredibly uplifting and healing. I felt a sacred reverence and a profound awe and appreciation to recognise that I wasn’t without assistance. I asked for help and realised I, my father and all of humanity are her children.

And so, it is!

(C) Mary card from the Rose Sisters Oracle

May the inspiration of the Divine Feminine Energy be with you.
Rose Blessings Vivienne and Leslina xoxo

March 2022


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