This is the image that St. Gaspar took with him on every mission.
This is a photo of the original painting after it was restored. It hangs in the St. Gaspar Museum, Albano, Italy.
This is a modern statue. It stands in the Cloister at Abbey of San Felice, Giano 'del Umbria, Italy. San Felice is the Motherhouse of the Precious Blood Missionaries.
This image hangs in the Precious Blood Spiritual Center, Columbia, PA
This image is from Peru. It hangs in the Motherhouse of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, O'Fallon, MO.
This statute stands in the Province Center, Pacific Province, San Leandro, CA
This is a wood carving that sits on my desk here in Chicago. I purchased the statute in 2001 in a little gift shop that is on the roof of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
This is a embroidered banner. It hangs in my bedroom and it travels with me on every mission.
Here is my latest article for Precious Blood Family. This month it is on the Madonna of The Precious Blood.
Madonna of the Precious Blood
by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, CPPS
Blood might be something we think about in medicinal terms if we are checking our cholesterol, or it could be part of the entertainment culture in movies that portray violence in graphic reality while we sit comfortably in our theatres. Maybe occasionally we think of Blood as gift and we treat it as a commodity that can be donated.
The gift of Jesus' Blood is an incredible and ineffable mystery that we seek to express in a variety of images. This month we pay special devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, that living chalice that by obedience becomes the human home for that divine blood to be formed as the creator of the universe takes human flesh and blood and pitches his tent among us.
The traditional image of the Madonna of the Precious Blood was a painting by Italian artist Pompeo Batone (1708-1787). St. Gaspar asked the painter Andrea Pozzi(1) to add a chalice to the child's hand and to add clothing. In a recent restoration of the painting the clothing has been removed, but the chalice remains. This image traveled with St. Gaspar on every mission and became the focus for his initial preaching. In various letters you find him giving instructions on how the image is to be copied. He insisted that the image should be beautiful, not sad, and that the great gift should be evident. She is the means by which our devotion to Christ remains human, and we experience his love and his gift in our daily experience.
In the rule of 1841 it is noted that it is the custom of our Congregation that each of our churches has an altar in which the faithful may venerate The Blessed Virgin who gives us this divine Child holding in his right hand this sacred chalice showing it to his Mother. Our Holy Mother invites all sinners to take for ourselves this "divine medicine" in order to heal us of our sins and to immerse ourselves in a life of virtue and grace.
Our Congregation has venerated our Holy Mother under a variety of titles. St. Gaspar placed the congregation under the protection of Mary, Help of Christians (May 24) and Venerable Merlini promoted devotion to her under this title. Francis de Sales Brunner who brought the CPPS missionaries to the United States was devoted to the Holy Virgin under the titles of Mother of God, and Sorrowful Mother. Our Missionaries in Guatemala promote devotion to her under the title in the native Quecha language. Her name, reflective of a Quecha ritual means literally, the Lady who gives us to drink. The Adorers of the Precious Blood promote the devotion under the title Mary, Woman of the New Covenant and celebrate her feast on September 15.
We live in an inhospitable world uncommitted to a reverence for life. Too many people still separate themselves from the feast she offers, and she continues to present this world to Jesus with the words, "they have no wine." Then she offers us the cup and says, "Do whatever he tells you." The grace of our salvation is God's work yet she remains "a vital participant, a central figure and the first recipient"(2) She invites us to the Feast of this new covenant where we take and drink the Blood of the new and everlasting Covenant. In this we become living chalices as well, and continue to offer the world this remedy from darkness sharing the experience of relationship and belonging to the Body of Christ.
(1)A letter November 1825 Gaspar writes: "I do not know who the painter was, in Rome, who depicted my Madonna. The one that added the Chalice to it is Mr. Pozzi; but the image was carried on the Missions by other Missionaries who are already deceased."
(2)Robert Schreiter, CPPS