Have you ever felt the pain of the past?

A feeling of guilt, shame or simply confusion? Maybe you have wished with all your heart that you could change something, but can’t? I have. Typically, these feelings run deep and most others just would not understand your personal hurt as they didn’t experience what you did or are not going through what you are currently going through. This makes the pain even stronger.

As I sat in mass one Sunday afternoon, sadness surfaced to my heart. You see, the evil one likes to distract us and bring fear, doubt, guilt and ugly lies… he knows just how to do that, especially during holy moments like the mass. This particular Sunday I was at a polish mass with my then Fiancé, now Husband. I don’t speak Polish so really it was like a nice hour of adoration/me crying out to Jesus.

Around  this time, Our Lady of Guadalupe began following my husband and I. She seemed to have chosen us the moment we got engaged. He intended to propose to me in front of Our Lady of Czestochowa but providence had it that we would kneel in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe when he asked me to be his wife. Little did we know the grand joy of that slight difference. Ever since then, she would just pop up in all sorts of places that we did not expect. This particular Sunday at this beautiful Polish church, SHE WAS THERE! It was just a guest visit, so to speak, as her image was traveling around, but of course she would be there when we were.

As I prayed during the homily, since I didn’t understand the Polish priest, I stared at Our Lady with the past weighing me down. My heart didn’t understand nor did it know what to do with it. When I looked at Mary a sudden strength of peace overcame me and I felt Mama speak to my bleeding heart. “ I know what you felt. I know your pain. I understand your confusion then and now, and I, your Mother, am here.” With that, I felt her wrap me in her mantle of deep deep love and hope as tears fell down my cheek. Even now, as I write this memory, I weep, for her gentle presence was unmistakable. 

I couldn’t shake that stunning encounter. Nor did I feel like it was only for me to experience. So I painted it. Over the next few months I prayed with this message and discerned how to portray it best. Eve soon came to my mind, as I couldn’t imagine the weight that she and Adam felt after the fall that changed the corse of history. Furthermore, the concept of the Pieta, Our Lady embracing Christ after the crucifixion, was a position I could see Mama in as she held her other children. Soon this image, titled, The Woman, was created.

We can all place our selves in the place of Eve, no matter our past, having regret. Maybe it is due to a big thing that we chose knowingly or, perhaps, unknowingly. Maybe it was something that was done to us even and we just did not know how to stop it. No matter what it may be,  we are to let go of the past and surrender it all to Jesus through Mary to be redeemed. In this painting, you will notice a bitten apple and a white rose that is growing out of it. This is a symbol of hope and redemption, for nothing is lost or without hope when we give it over to Christ.

You might ask yourself, but why is it Guadalupe ?  I felt strongly that Our Lady of Guadalupe wanted to be a part of, not only my husband and my marriage, but to my personal healing. Furthermore, she wants to be a part of your life. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a powerful miracle that I was able to uncover more and more as she kept sharing herself to us. It is the only image that was miraculously created by the Divine and still remains today. Every symbol on her image is so intentional. I could go on all day, but a few examples are: The stars on her mantle are the exact constellation of the sky the very day she appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico and they make the melody of the choir of angels  that was heard when she came. Her hair parted in the center is a sign of her virginity, while the ribbon is tied just so to show that she is with child. The rays she stands in front of is a sign that she is greater than the sun god and bears God within her. There are a multitude of things to learn from her and it is very clear that she wanted to share this version of herself with many. Thus, it became a no brainer that in this painting Mary was to be portrayed as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas.

I pray this image brings you healing, brings you peace, and gives you hope. Sit with it. Pray with it. Just stare at it and let the Holy Spirit work in you. Allow Mother Mary into your life. She yearns to be your mother and will bring you assuredly to Christ.

Kate Capato

Kate is a Sacred Art Painter, Inspirational Speaker, and Faith-filled Movement artist on a mission to spread God's love through beauty! Her inspiration comes from prayerful encounters with the Lord, and the rich traditions of our Catholic faith. When she's not creating something faith inspired, Kate is often traveling all over the world with her hubby soaking in the wonders of God's creation, or spending time with family and friends to live every moment to the fullest. To see her work, visit her portfolio below and share in this mission of spreading truth and goodness.

  1. Lawrence (Larry) Francis Ligocki says:

    Dear Kate,

    Thank you for sharing your story behind your work The Woman. You must have had quite an experience of Divine Mercy. Your story helps to understand the two women.


  2. Rachel says:

    This is beautiful. Looking at it I feel Mary so near and a sense that she is sharing alongside of us the sorrows that we women carry.


    Hi Katelyn, Beautiful painting. You said that her hair is parted but the ribbon is Ted to show that she is with child. I don’t see the ribbon. Is it on the bodice of her gown?

    • Thank you so much!

      So if you reference the original Guadalupe image, you will see it more clearly. Here, Eve is positioned where it would cover the ribbon that is on Mary’s waist.

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