Monstra te esse matrem


Monstrance of silver, gold, and precious stones. 66 cm high. Vienna 1704.

I never understood how some people can object to the custom of praying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. What could be a more appropriate response to the real, true, and substantial presence of the Incarnate Word than to call out to his Blessed Mother the very greeting with which the Incarnation itself was announced: “Hail, full of grace!” The baroque goldsmiths knew this perfectly, as this Monstrance from  the Schatzkammer in Vienna shows. It is, as the official guide book points out, a kind of Latin version of the Byzantine “Platytera”.


3 thoughts on “Monstra te esse matrem

    • “Monstra te esse matrem” is a line from the hymn Ave Maris Stella, and means “show yourself to be a mother.” “Monstra” is an imperative form of the verb monstro, monstrare (to show), which is the same word that our word “monstrance” comes from, which is why I thought of that line in the context of a monstrance which quite literally shows Our Lady to be a mother.


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