Friday, June 7, 2013

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Visitors to Andalusia frequently notice the image of the Sacred Heart hanging on the stairway wall and occasionally ask if Flannery had a particular devotion to it.  Since today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Catholic calendar, I thought I would address that question and share what little we know about the provenance of the picture.  I haven't read anything in Flannery's letters or other writings that would suggest she was devoted in a special way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  At the same time, since the family worshiped at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, one would suspect that the image conveyed special meaning to the O'Connors.  The etching done by the obscure artist F. Giusto, however, is no mere decorative piece.  It is a 300 day indulgence granted by Pope Benedict XV on July 17, 1921.  There is an inscription in both Latin and English at the bottom of the print that reads: "We grant three hundred days indulgence to the Faithful who shall recite three "Gloria Patri" before one of these pictures of the Sacred Heart."  It is signed by the Pope and dated 17 July 1921.   Though the picture is original to the house, it is doubtful it was displayed in its current location.  In fact, when the FOCA Foundation was deeded the property, this image of the Sacred Heart was in what is now the gift shop where the Library of America photograph of Flannery now hangs.  If anyone knows more about the circumstances of the O'Connor's acquisition of the Sacred Heart print or where it originally was displayed please let us know. The image you see above is the actual print at Andalusia.
- Mark

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

i have been inquisitive of my painting for years. It was passed down to me. Was trying to learn more about it. . How many where duplicated.

Elizabeth Mead said...

Hello, We have one of these pictures as well. My mother who is now 102 said it belonged to her uncle who was a convert to Catholicism and she was given it by her aunt (her father's sister)-probably about 60-65 years ago (maybe even longer) as I remember it always hung in our house. My mother said she remembered her uncle had it for as long as she could remember. My mother could not remember where her uncle got it from, but it was in New Zealand. It now hangs in our house in Australia and most days I say the 3 "Gloria Patri" in front of it. As the picture was procured in New Zealand so long ago I would imagine there are a number of them world wide.