THE IMAGE OF THE LADY OF ALL NATIONS
EXPLANATION OF THE IMAGE
The messages of Amsterdam are unique in the history of Marian apparitions because Our Lady gives detailed descriptions of her image in six messages. Mary appears here as the COREDEMPTRIX in three ways:
• She stands, penetrated by God’s light, before the Cross of her Son, with whom she is inseparably united.
• She has a cloth wrapped around her, about which she explains, “Listen carefully to what this means. This is as the Loincloth of the Son. For I stand as the Lady before the Cross of the Son” (April 15, 1951).
• Her hands have radiant Wounds. Thereby Mary describes in an image the suffering of body and soul which she bore in union with her divine Son for the redemption of mankind.
Again the Lady directs Ida’s look to her hands and thereby reveals to her that she is MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE: “Now look at my hands and describe what you see.” Now it is as if there, in the middle of her hands, had been a wound. From there, from each hand, three rays of light are coming forth, shining upon the sheep. The Lady smiles and says, “These are three rays, the rays of Grace, Redemption and Peace” (May 31, 1951). Grace from the Father, Redemption from the Son, and Peace from the Holy Spirit.
“I have firmly placed my feet upon the globe, for in this time the Father and the Son wants to bring me into this world as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate” (May 31, 1951). “This time is our time” (July 2, 1951).
In a biblical representation, Mary shows the visionary sheep around the globe which symbolize all the nations and races of the earth. Then she says that they will not find true rest “until they lie down and in tranquility look up at the Cross, the center of this world” (May 31, 1951).
Again and again, Mary directs our look to the Cross, the center of the world. Mary asks us therefore to spread this image throughout the world because “It is the interpretation and illustration of the new dogma” (December 8, 1952). For this reason, Mary emphasizes several times that this image must precede the dogma. “This image will precede … will precede a dogma, a new dogma” (April 15, 1951).
SHE IS NOT THE CENTER, YET SHE IS IN THE CENTER
It is true, Mary is not the center—she stands before the Cross of her Son—yet it is GOD’S WILL that in her vocation as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate she is in the center—above all in the center of our hearts, to lead us to HIM. The Mother deliberately emphasizes what she knows about herself, “Not me, but the Cross” (December 16, 1949).
“This image speaks for itself and shall already be brought into the world, because the world needs the Cross again” (April 15, 1951).
AN IMAGE FOR MEDITATION
When looking for the first time at the image of the Lady of All Nations you may be surprised to see Mary standing before the Redeemer’s Cross without Jesus. “Does she not block the Cross?” one might ask critically.
It seems almost as if the Mother standing in front of the dark cross wants to encourage us through this unusual image to ask questions and challenge us to meditate deeper about her vocation and place in the divine plan of redemption. Naturally, Mary could stand aside and point to the Redeemer on the Cross. Many artists, in fact, throughout the centuries have depicted the suffering of Jesus and Mary on Calvary like this or in a similar way. Yet heaven does not try in the image of Amsterdam to describe the vocation of the Redeemer and his redemptive sufferings, rather “they will use this image for the Coredemptrix” (April 29, 1951) as it is written in the messages. Yes, this image is meant to describe the vocation of the co-redeeming Mother without ever casting a shadow on the Redeemer. For Jesus is already risen and has returned to the Father in the splendor of heaven. Thus, He is no longer on the Cross. It stands in the radiant light of the resurrection from which Mary is enveloped. Our Lady, centered before the Cross, helps us to understand that Mother and Son are inseparably united in their mission. Where the Son is, there is also the Mother. The divine Son himself has called her into the center as Coredemptrix. From there we can joyfully realize that she, as the Mother of all nations, transmits the jointly suffered graces of redemption, intercedes and defends us.
THE ORIGINAL IMAGE OF THE LADY OF ALL NATIONS
The image of the Lady of All Nations was painted in 1951 by German painter Heinrich Repke and placed in a chapel on an estate in Germany, where it remained until the end of 1953. The painting was then transferred to the Netherlands and provisionally placed in the rectory of the Dominican Church of St. Thomas on Rijn Street in Amsterdam. At the end of 1954, the pastor of this church received permission from the local ordinary of Haarlem-Amsterdam, Bishop Huibers, to place the painting in the church’s Chapel of Our Lady. The solemn installation took place on December 19, 1954.
On May 31, 1955, the visionary Ida Peerdeman received her 51st message from the Lady of All Nations in the Chapel of Our Lady in the crowded St. Thomas Church. Negative reactions arrived at the diocesan office. Some people feared that the church might develop into a place of pilgrimage—something they wanted to avoid at all cost.
On June 10, 1955, the bishop withdrew his permission, and the parish priest had to remove the painting. The bishop stated as his reason that public devotion could not be permitted pending inquiry into the authenticity of the apparitions. Everything connected with the devotion was removed from the church. The painting was relegated to the rectory—first placed in the library and then in the cellar. It remained there until 1966.
The painting next found a welcome in the little parish church in Ville d’Avray near Paris (1966-1967). Then It returned to the Netherlands—first to The Hague, in the monastery of the Holy Sacrament Fathers (1967-1969), then to their monastery in Oegstgeest (1969-1970), and finally to the house on Diepenbrock Street in Amsterdam. The cellar of this house was transformed into a provisional chapel, and the painting was brought there on June 16, 1970. On August 15, 1976, the present-day chapel was consecrated. The image, having wandered for twenty-five years, had now arrived at its second-to-last destination. Its future and final destination was foretold by the Lady herself in her 52nd message: “a separate chapel” in the “house of the Lord Jesus Christ,” that is, the future Lady of All Nations Church to be built at the Europaplein in Amsterdam.
Source: Fr. Paul Maria Sigl: “Die Frau aller Völker ‘Miterlöserin Mittlerin Fürsprecherin'” (March 25, 1998)