The unveiling of the Our Lady of Guadalupe painting. Agnieszka Ruck

Our Lady of Guadalupe unveiled in new home

By  Agnieszka Ruck, Canadian Catholic News
  • March 21, 2020

VANCOUVER -- When Vancouver art collector and philanthropist Michael Audain acquired a 300-year-old painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he knew the religious artwork needed to be displayed in an appropriate setting.

Last month, the 17th-century oil on canvas work by Mexican painter Manuel de Arellano was installed in Holy Rosary Cathedral, a gift from Audain who said it’s important for it to be seen by people both as an important sign of religious devotion as well as friendship with the people of Latin America.

“When the painting is in my home, how many people are going to see it? But here, in this prominent position in the cathedral, the way it’s set up — it’s important,” he told The B.C. Catholic after the large oil painting was officially unveiled and blessed by Archbishop J. Michael Miller.

“The important thing with art is, it is made to communicate.”

The artwork, painted in 1691, depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe, surrounded by four small images telling the story of her appearances to St. Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531.

“The Virgin of Guadalupe isn’t only the patron saint of Mexico, she is the patron saint of all the Americas, as appointed by John Paul II,” he said.

“I’m told that other people, like the Filipinos, revere her. I think it’s great. I couldn’t be more pleased that it is in this position here.”

The new painting replaces a copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe near the altar in the cathedral, and her continued presence there is a symbol of the people’s devotion to Our Lady and the cultural diversity of those who love her, said Miller.

He thanked Audain and wife Yoshiko Karasawa for the generous donation. “It’s very splendid and it’s in a place of devotion in the cathedral.”

Audain and his wife own what is considered one of Canada’s most significant art collections.

To house his B.C. art collection, he built a 56,000-square-foot museum in Whistler, The Audain Art Museum which opened in 2016.

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