He is the image of the invisible
God.

Colossians 1:15

Just as the image of Jesus, the Son of Man, was an attempt to understand the humanity of Jesus, God incarnate, so, too, the vision of Jesus as the True Image was an exploration of the divinity that resides in human nature. This view of human nature as the "image and likeness of God" emerged during the debates that raged over Christian iconography in the eighth and ninth centuries. It hit at the very heart of the questions: How do we understand Jesus? How can an image capture the meaning of Christ? As theologians reflected upon these questions, they engaged in a contemplation of the meaning of human nature. It was seen as created by the same God and participating in the same transcendent creativity as Jesus, the uncreated True Image of the Divine. In the image of Christ, human nature saw itself reflected at the centre of its being. And so, human nature came to be understood as an icon of God, just as Christ was an icon of human nature.
He is the image of the invisible
God.

Colossians 1:15

Just as the image of Jesus, the Son of Man, was an attempt to understand the humanity of Jesus, God incarnate, so, too, the vision of Jesus as the True Image was an exploration of the divinity that resides in human nature. This view of human nature as the "image and likeness of God" emerged during the debates that raged over Christian iconography in the eighth and ninth centuries. It hit at the very heart of the questions: How do we understand Jesus? How can an image capture the meaning of Christ? As theologians reflected upon these questions, they engaged in a contemplation of the meaning of human nature. It was seen as created by the same God and participating in the same transcendent creativity as Jesus, the uncreated True Image of the Divine. In the image of Christ, human nature saw itself reflected at the centre of its being. And so, human nature came to be understood as an icon of God, just as Christ was an icon of human nature.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

The Veronica

The Veronica refers to the impression made upon a cloth St. Veronica used to wipe Christ's face during the Passion, though the saint's name may be a misinterpretation of the Latin term vera icon - true image - applied to such holy relics as the Veronica.

Heiko Schlieper (1931-).
St. George the Victory Bearer Ukrainian Catholic Church.
c. 1996
Secco
PMA: PH93.1.328.
© The Provincial Museum of Alberta.


Luke Painting the Virgin

In addition to being a skilled literary craftsman, the evangelist Luke, tradition teaches, was also an accomplished painter.

Jean Colombe and Workshop
Pierpont Morgan Library.
c. 1480
parchment
PMA:J99.1866.
© The Provincial Museum of Alberta


Because the one who by excellency of nature transcends all quantity and size and magnitude…has now…contracted himself into a quantity and size and has acquired a physical identity, do not hesitate any longer to draw pictures and to set forth, for all to see, him who has chosen to let himself be seen.

John of Damascus, On the Images

For eighth-century iconoclasts, there was no thinker more dangerous than St. John of Damascus (d.749). A vigorous defender of images, he was branded by Christian iconoclasts a "traitorous worshipper of images" and a "wronger of Jesus Christ." For John, the moment the divine became incarnate, the eternal became particular in Jesus, the divine became a fit subject for iconic representation. God was not exclusively divine and beyond the reach of human sensibility. In Jesus of Nazareth, God had walked the earth as a man, had been abused and rejected as a man, had suffered and died as a man. Portraying Jesus in his humanity was not only an appropriate task, but a sacred duty, for it was only through Christ’s humanity including his Passion, death, and resurre Read More
Because the one who by excellency of nature transcends all quantity and size and magnitude…has now…contracted himself into a quantity and size and has acquired a physical identity, do not hesitate any longer to draw pictures and to set forth, for all to see, him who has chosen to let himself be seen.

John of Damascus, On the Images

For eighth-century iconoclasts, there was no thinker more dangerous than St. John of Damascus (d.749). A vigorous defender of images, he was branded by Christian iconoclasts a "traitorous worshipper of images" and a "wronger of Jesus Christ." For John, the moment the divine became incarnate, the eternal became particular in Jesus, the divine became a fit subject for iconic representation. God was not exclusively divine and beyond the reach of human sensibility. In Jesus of Nazareth, God had walked the earth as a man, had been abused and rejected as a man, had suffered and died as a man. Portraying Jesus in his humanity was not only an appropriate task, but a sacred duty, for it was only through Christ’s humanity including his Passion, death, and resurrection that the meaning of his divinity became clear.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Saint John of Damascus

Saint John of Damascus, shown with an icon of Christ, was the great apologist for the iconographic tradition and saw in the life and sufferings of Christ the reflection of humanity's greatest glories.

Heiko Schlieper (1931-).
Saint George the Victory Bearer Ukrainian Catholic Church.
1996
Secco
PMA:J99.1542.
© The Provincial Museum of Alberta.


And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my sprirt rejoices in
God my Saviour…"

Luke 1:46-47

Marie Guyart was born in 1599 in Tours. She married, had a child, and was widowed by the age of nineteen. To provide for herself and her son, she ran the business of her brother-in-law. In 1631 she entered the Ursulines of Tours, and took the name Marie de l’Incarnation. In 1639 she sailed to New France to establish an Ursuline mission to serve the French and First Peoples communities. Her gift for practical affairs made her one of the builders of religious and civil life of Quebec. The convent became indispensable to the French colonists. Along with her sisters she established one of the first schools for girls and a safe haven for orphans. Her glimpse of Jesus, the True Image, helped her to contribute to the development of both the colony and several generations of young women, some of whom found vocations themselves.
And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my sprirt rejoices in
God my Saviour…"

Luke 1:46-47

Marie Guyart was born in 1599 in Tours. She married, had a child, and was widowed by the age of nineteen. To provide for herself and her son, she ran the business of her brother-in-law. In 1631 she entered the Ursulines of Tours, and took the name Marie de l’Incarnation. In 1639 she sailed to New France to establish an Ursuline mission to serve the French and First Peoples communities. Her gift for practical affairs made her one of the builders of religious and civil life of Quebec. The convent became indispensable to the French colonists. Along with her sisters she established one of the first schools for girls and a safe haven for orphans. Her glimpse of Jesus, the True Image, helped her to contribute to the development of both the colony and several generations of young women, some of whom found vocations themselves.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Arrival of the Ursulines and the Sisters of Charity in New France

In 1639, Marie de l'Incarnation left the Ursulines of Tours in order to found an Ursuline order in New France. The convent which she established was an integral part of expanding French territory, educating young girls, and anchoring the nascent community around the message and life of Jesus.

Sister Marie-de-Jésus
Photo : François Lachapelle
c. 1928
Painting
PMA:J99.1626.
© Musée des Ursulines de Québec.


Portrait of the Venerable Marie de l'Incarnation

In response to visions indicating her vocation was in Canada, Marie de l'Incarnation (1599-1672) established the Ursuline congregation in Quebec (1639) and served church and civil society.

Sister Marie-de-Jésus.
Photo: François Lachapelle, 1980.
c. 1672
painting
PMA:J99.1626.
© Musée des Ursulines de Québec.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Understand the nature of Jesus’s divinity;
  • Be able to summarize key developments in the theology of Jesus’s divinity through the ages;
  • Describe the origins of the Ursuline convent in New France and summarize its influence on New France society.

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