"Mary, the Queen", a mural by Sr. Mary Thomasita Fessler, OSF, is located in the fourth floor Reading Room in Memorial Library.
This mural depicts Mary's Queenship over all heaven and earth. Mary is Queen precisely because her son is king; her Queenship lies in her motherhood. The continuity of line in this panel lends a rather ethereal atmosphere, signifying the whole spiritual realm over which Mary reigns as queen. The whole mural is held in unity by the AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA, "Hail Mary Full of Grace," which is seen in the two side panels. Each section of these side panels shows an episode in the relationship of Mary with her Son, an episode in which Mary's part as Queen is being either begun or fulfilled in some manner.
The central panel shows the majestic Virgin with upraised hand denoting her position as Mediatrix of all Grace. The figure of Christ is a Child King, holding the world over which He reigns and the cross, symbol of our redemption. He is shown most intimately identified with the Virgin.
In the left panel, the first section portrays the great mystery of the annunciation. It is here that Mary utters her significant Fiat which gives acceptance to the duties and privileges of Queen and Mother of God. The attitude of entire submission and reverence is evident in both Mary and the Angel. The second section depicts the visitation. It is here that Mary gladly takes this first opportunity for dispensing grace; it is here that the power of her unborn Child touches the unborn John in the womb of Elizabeth and causes Him to leap with joy. The third section portrays the nativity. Representatives of both heaven and earth are seen rejoicing at the birth of their King. The shepherds, kings (shown in the first section of the right panel) and Angels adore Christ, each in turn being invited to be partakers in this august mystery. Overhead is seen a dove, symbolic of the Holy Spirit, whose Divine operation made possible the birth of Christ the King and the motherhood of Mary, Queen. The overshadowing of the Holy Spirit is evident in all the events of Mary's life and is the fulfillment of her Queenship.
The second section of the right panel denotes the flight into Egypt. Mary is seen fleeing into Egypt to protect her Child for all future generations of humanity. It is the beginning of her sorrows in connection with her Divine Son. The third section portrays wedding feast in Cana. In the beginning of our Lord's public life, it is Mary through whom the first miracle is performed. Here she displays her role as Mediatrix of all Grace and thus her role as Queen and dispenser of all grace is firmly established. Finally, in the last section is seen the portrayal of the death of Christ. In the supreme sacrifice of the King of Kings, Mary is associated most intimately. She gave herself in union with Him to such an extent that in each member of the Mystical Body, she beholds her Christ and is ever ready to exercise her sublime role as Queen and Mother in our behalf.
The two murals, "Christ the King" and "Mary, Queen," are made from over one thousand individually cut pieces of precious wood. These woods are cut in geometric and ameboid shapes and placed in mosaic-like fashion forming positive and negative areas. Each piece was cut separately from an original template of the large cartoon and range in size from a quarter of an inch to about six inches in the larger panels. This mosaic-like construction made necessary the individual beveling of each piece of wood. The nature-colored hard woods, coming from various parts of the world, are listed below. Each piece of wood was evaluated carefully for color and grain in order to bring out the desired result in symbol as well as design.
|Amaranth (Purple heart)||British Guiana|
|White Holly||United States|
|Prima Vera||Central America|
|East India Rosewood||India|
Each of the two murals, "Christ, the King" and "Mary, the Queen," is sixteen feet long and three feet wide, with a four foot high panel in the center.
The two murals were commissioned by Marquette University and installed in September 1955.