|Sr. Aelred beside the icon|
It was anointed, in the presence of family and friends, by Bishop Richard. He explained that icons are very different from statues. The purpose of a statue is to remind us of the saint to whom we are praying. Icons are the product of much prayer and fasting too; hence they are written as result of contemplation and spiritual experience rather than being the product imagination. They lead us deeply into heavenly presence. This is why rather than being blessed they are anointed with chrism on the back in recognition of their holiness.
The icon shows the child Jesus holding the hands of Mary and Joseph in front of the Holy Family Church, Reigate, and above the entrance, the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove.
Text and photo, Ann Lardeur