The Spirit Cross
In Honor of Mother Cabrini
The Patron Saint of Immigrants
The Spirit Cross was inspired by the work and spirit of Mother Cabrini.
It was officially installed and blessed at The Mother Cabrini Shrine
at the Pentecostal Mass on June 9th, 2019.
The Spirit Cross was designed by Stuart Diamond.
It was developed and produced in the workshop of Colin Y. Lewis.
and is crafted from Wenge African hardwood
The pointed oval shapes used in the Spirit Cross has historically represented Christianity. Early images of Christ as an infant often depict him within this shape, which represented the womb of Mary, and the coming together of God and man, heaven and earth, in the body of Jesus.
Frequently depicted in spiritual, religious and medieval works of art and iconography, the mandorla (the Italian word for “almond”) is a divine feminine symbol, which represents liminality, the meeting point between heaven and earth. It can be represented by an aureole, a circle of light, or a luminous cloud symbolizing the illumination or divinity of a person or deity, enclosing the figure of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary.
Images of the Spirit Cross
Images from the Blessing Ceremony on June 9th, 2019 and
the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan
in honor of Mother’s Cabrini’s birthday on July 13th, 2019
First Impressions of the SPIRIT CROSS
Below are a few written responses to seeing the Spirit Cross: (The list includes academics, museum directors, artists, and spiritual leaders, et al.)
“This new image of the Spirit Cross has a meaningful future. In 100 years, people will have popularized and accepted it as one of the traditional depictions of the Cross, as though it had always been so. That’s how natural it is. The Spirit Cross may be modern now and express innovative ideas, but it feels ancient. It’s a significant contribution to Christian iconography in a subtle and original way. I’m surprised it was never thought of before.” (PG)
“I think the cross is very beautiful. The intersecting, elliptical spaces speak simultaneously to presence and absence, compelling the viewer to “fill in” what’s missing, thus actively engaging the worshipper in an act of faith. The voids seem to suggest the ascendant, eternal presence of the Holy Spirit (rather than the temporal, suffering, corporeal figure of conventional Crucifixions) and in doing this, they redirect our focus from sacrifice to salvation.” (AG)
“It is striking to see the cross, a symbol with so many centuries of history, and traditionally associated with a sacred male figure, presented in a way that blends so beautifully that history with modern symbolism so as to honor also the sacred role of women.” (SS)
“When I look at the Spirit Cross I see a narrow opening. I am drawn to the New Testament famous quote of Mathew 19:24 as well as several mentions in the Talmud of the narrow ways of virtue. The way it is placed in the cross it is almost like an eye of judgment or self-contemplation. In the Hindu tradition, it would be the sieve of discernment, the mythical swan’s beak that can separate milk from water.” (DS)
“Aesthetically, I truly like this piece. It is at once a strong non-representational ‘construction’ and strong subtle architectural art piece. In terms of signs and symbols, it very carefully and subtly suggests the presence of a ‘corpus.’ Within traditional Catholic churches, this is an important and central characteristic of the cross’ symbolism. Some may not see it in this piece. It contains a moment of ‘indeterminacy’ that requires the viewer to participate and complete the presence of the corpus. This work of art, as do all works of art, requires the co-creative participation of the viewer to concretize the completed aesthetic object – your Spirit Cross. I very much appreciate this piece. Well done!” (DP)
“Suspended, overlaid irises revealing wonder of the powerful mystery, eternity…standing… A window crossing time… (MC)
“For me, the Spirit Cross is a love story. It is a symbol of the Sacred Womb through which a loving universal God gave us his only Son incarnated upon our Earth. When Mother Mary gives birth to Jesus, God is no longer an abstraction but lives here and now in an intimate relationship within each of us. The Spirit Cross is a symbol of the Divine Feminine, of Creation itself – of the tender and caring bond between Heaven and Earth.” (DM)
“In its simplex outlines, there is an iconic opening, an invitation to the Holy Spirit’s Multiverse in all Her forms — Infinite journeys and manifestations.” (AK)