The Lamp Is Burning
Someone was missing from the Sanctuary of St. Angela last week in Brescia. And there was something new.
This was my first visit since the death of Maria Teresa Pezzotti. The long-time leader of St. Angela’s Daughters in Brescia had died last December. As we often rediscover a death through an empty space, my expectation of Maria Teresa in the pew behind me fluttered momentarily, then plunged into reality.
The something new was her last project, a highly symbolic lamp. The idea had originated with two elders in the Brescian Company: to represent before St. Angela’s casket her myriad daughters from 1535 till today.
Its elongated contours suggest the storied ship of our patron, St. Ursula, and her maiden companions. Perforations represent the world’s many groups and forms of Ursuline life. Light shines through them all.
Brescia’s ancient walls are the model for the “sail,” which frames the flame. As Maria Teresa herself explained to me before the lamp was installed, this is the flame of fidelity to Christ, kept alight by the “wise virgins” of the Gospel parable (Matthew 25:1-13). Like them, she too has now been welcomed into the heavenly wedding banquet.