“Ave Maria” – Phoenixville, PA (1911)

To one raised in a conservative Protestant environment, the Roman Catholic devotional practices related to the veneration of the Virgin Mary and of the Saints could appear strange and somewhat suspicious.

Some theological study and an historical look at the role of this devotion, both in the Western and Eastern Churches, serves to build an appreciation of the practices.

This postcard, with an illustrated hymn to the Virgin, was mailed from Portsmouth, Virginia in August of 1911.

Addressed to Miss Elaine Walters of Phoenixville, PA, the postcard appears to be part of an on-going exchange of “postals”.

The writer, whose name I cannot decipher, promises Miss Elaine that a photo will be sent as soon as some are made.

There is no reference to religious affiliation or practice in the inscription, so one might assume that the sender may have mailed devotional postcards routinely – in the same way that some of my Protestant relatives send messages adorned with Bible verses.

On the face, the image surrounding the hymn depicts a group of passengers on a small boat.

The image may be related to an ancient title given to the Virgin of “Stella Maris”, Star of the Sea.

One hopes that Miss Walters and her correspondent enjoyed a long and happy postcard relationship.

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