Knights of Columbus
Statue and Painting of Mexican Martyrs Unveiled
Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson unveiled a painting and statue of the Mexican martyrs at the Knights of Columbus Museum. Commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the Knights of Columbus' founding in Mexico, the pieces were unveiled for the start of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15). They will become permanent additions to the museum's impressive collection.
Both artworks commemorate the Catholics killed by the Mexican government in the early 20th century. Though the episode is largely forgotten today, more than 40,000 Catholics -- including 90 priests and more than 70 members of the Knights of Columbus -- were killed or martyred for practicing and defending their faith during the 1920s and 1930s.
The painting by renowned Mexican portrait artist Martha Orozco features six priests -- members of the Knights of Columbus -- who were canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 24, 2000.
The statue by acclaimed Mexican sculptor Antonio Castellanos Basich depicts a peasant, a priest and a businessman -- all martyred for their faith. The statue symbolizes the martyrdom that affected every level of Mexican society.
Also on display at the museum until Oct. 9 is Images of Faith and Art from Mexico -- an exhibit of some of the best Mexican religious art ever created. This exclusive U.S. showing includes more than 35 pieces of art never before seen outside Mexico and 13 more from the collection of the Knights of Columbus.
Most of the works were painted during Mexico's Colonial period, and reflect the unique style developed by artists who created art that combined Old World style with New World flair. Many of the paintings come from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, the oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere, and home to some of its finest art.
Among the artworks are renditions of Christ, of various saints and Church leaders, and of the Virgin Mary –many showing her as Our Lady of Guadalupe, the miraculous 16th-century image that has become most visited Catholic shrine in the world.