Some of the Most Beautiful Women I Know Hang Out At the Basilica


I went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception here in Washington DC  last week to celebrate Mass the TV Mass. Afterward I went to the crypt church and took a series of pictures of the beautiful mosaics of the women of the Scriptures and early Church. Among them are Agatha, Agnes, Anastasia, Anne, Brigid, Catherine, Cecilia, Lucy, Margarita, Perpetua, Felicity, and Susanna.

At the right is a mosaic of St. Cecilia

The Mosaics date to 1927 and were designed and installed by Ravenna Mosaic Co, of St. Louis. They are  the backdrops for the 14 side altars that ring the apse and side galleries of the crypt. I could spend hours reading and studying them. Inspiring Latin inscriptions are integral to each mosaic. You can see the rest of the pictures I took here: Women of the Basilica. I recommend you use the slide show option when you get there.

In addition, I have put a video together of the images. The Latin text of the music in the Video is from the Song of Sings 2:1-2  Ego flos campi, et lilium convallium.  Sicut lilium inter spinas, sic amica mea inter filias  (I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys.  As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters). Composer is Frederico Guerrero.

If you are interested and may have missed an older post I did, I also took some photos of the Great Upper Church from the clerestory some months ago. Those photos are here: Basilica Clerestory 

18 Replies to “Some of the Most Beautiful Women I Know Hang Out At the Basilica”

  1. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say The National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception is undoubtedly one of my favorite places on Earth. The pictures are incredible. Any chance of seeing them in a YouTube video?

  2. It’s struck me that the Basilica seems to show the holy women of the Crypt Church quietly and in secret serving as the foundation on which the holy men stand as they look out on the world from the parapets.

  3. These are gorgeous … we’ll have to make a road trip out to the other Washington one of these summers.

  4. There is a restaurant in Berkeley Springs WV a few blocks from St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. It’s called “Maria’s Garden.” We enjoy eating there because it is very reasonably-priced, family-friendly and the servers are very pleasant. It apparently is a regular post-Mass breakfast stop, for when we had breakfast there one Sunday we were amused to note that just about everyone there we’d just seen at early Mass!

    The owners are devout Catholics. Their restaurant includes a small shop with Catholic literature. There is a chapel on the top floor, and images of the Blessed Mother EVERYWHERE. Maria’s Garden, is, I’m quite sure, Mary-er than the National Shrine.

      1. Oh, I think the Shrine is beautiful. I’d love to take more time to go through it (the last time I was there was when our parochial vicar was ordained, and we were accompanied by a hyper bouncy 8-year-old whose primary interest was the desserts offered in the cafeteria).

        I wasn’t making fun, the restaurant’s owners’ devotion to Mary is clearly heartfelt and admirable.

  5. LOL, Monsignor Pope! When I read the title to this article, my first thought was, “Awww, isn’t Monsignor sweet? He appreciates the old women like me who go to the Shrine at every opportunity!” A perfect example of the sin of pride … how dare I think I or any other woman could upstage Our Lady!! 🙂

  6. Beautiful mosaics.

    Ok, I have to ask…. why is there a woman with a crozier? (i mean the bishops staff if I didnt spell it correctly)

    1. Yes, that’s St. Brigid. Abbots and Abbesses of Monasteries traditionally had some of the trappings of the Bishop’s office. They were not Bishops of course but had special pastoral care of cloistered women and men. I do not think the tradition continues today, at least in the USA but I might be corrected on this.

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