Litany – Explanation

Litany – of the Saints

Here is the previously promised explanation of the bas relief, “Litany”, which is in the Various Subjects section:

In the Catholic church, the Litany is basically a series of short prayers to saints:   the saint’s name, followed by a response as in “St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us,”, or “St. Joseph, pray for us”.    There is usually a series of similar repetitious petitions, with different responses.  The prayers end with an “Amen”.

The sand- and stone-battered pieces of wood represent the phrases spoken or sung, as well as the humility of the people while praying.  Each is different, as are the phrases; each is connected to the one below, as the petitioners are to the words and to each other; each shows signs of what has been endured, as have the saints.

The litany begins at the top, when the people tentatively send up their initial request.  As they pray, the changes and patterns of the words are reflected in the various shapes and sizes of the wood.   At the very bottom, the single thin stick becomes the “Amen”.

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