Lady LibertyThere are two beautifully crafted statues that have meaningful connection with New York City.  One of these is the Statue of Liberty, generous gift of France, now located in New York Harbor. The other is a sculpted statue of Elizabeth Seton, entitled Hazard Yet Forward, designed and created by Sister Margaret Beaudette, Sister of Charity of New York. Both statues share a striking commonality.

What is this striking commonality between both statues?  Notice the right foot of the Statue of Liberty (Lady Liberty) and the Left foot of Elizabeth Seton (The Strong Lady*). Each foot is in mid-stride. Both statues depict a determined movement—onward and outward. Each provides a message of compassionate urgency to all who reflect upon its amazing beauty.

In 2017 Dave Eggers** wrote a children’s book that portrays a powerful message of compassionate love for all. In Egger’s book the illustrator, Shawn Harris, highlights a possibly unnoticed feature of the Statue of Liberty. Upon close view, one can see that the right foot of the statue is in mid-stride…moving, not stationary.  Lady Liberty cannot wait to welcome the “…tired and poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”  Instead of waiting, there is courageous outreach and, as the author noted, “…unwillingness to rest.” Not only does “she” welcome the needy to her shores; she moves forward…out to the sea to meet all.

In 1997 Sr. Margaret Beaudette sculptured a statue of Elizabeth Seton that portrayed a powerful message of compassionate love for all. Upon close view of the statue, Hazard Yet Forward, one can see that the left foot of the statue is in mid-stride…moving, not stationary. The Strong Lady cannot wait to reach out to God’s people—those who are tired, poor, yearning to be free.  Instead of waiting, there is courageous outreach and unwillingness to rest. Not only does she embrace those who are needy, but she moves forward…out to all.

Let us draw inspiration from the symbolism present in both artistic creations—one representing the love and gratitude of one nation for another, as well as a responsive reaching out to all in need,  the other representing the mission of loving, determined outreach specific to all who share the spirit and mission of charity. More importantly, both statues represent the call to all God’s people to love courageously and compassionately.

Prayer

Leader:  Loving God we thank you your inspired calling as received through the creative work of your artists.
Response: Open our hearts to your love.

Leader: Give us wisdom to see where, when and how we can most effectively reach out to your people in need.
Response: Open our hearts to your love.

Leader: Give us courage to leave our harbors or places of security to be with those who need us.
Response: Open our hearts to your love.

All: Loving God be with us as we move together with courage and confidence, knowing that you are with us always.

Amen

Our Reply:
And us…are we ready to be inspired and moved to loving action, to leave our harbors or places of security to venture with Lady Liberty and The Strong Lady for the sake of God’s children, near and far?

Let us move together, prayerfully and with courageous hope.

 

** Eggers, D. (2017). Her Right Foot. Chronicle Books LLC.

  * Hann, C.  (2017). The Strong Lady. Seton Hall Magazine

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