Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ray of HOPE...seen by thousands in South Bend...


Contact: Valerie Aschbacher FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel. 503-659-8259 (not for release) May 18, 2009

Email: info@maryfulloflife.org

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A FRESH RAY OF HOPE at the Crossroads in South Bend Indiana

This past week, overshadowed by controversy and adversity, apart from the arrests and protests, unshaken by President Obama’s arrival to South Bend, Indiana, and approximately a mile away from the center of Notre Dame University, a fresh ray of hope made its way to shine upon the community from higher ground. At the crossroads of North Hill Street and East LaSalle Avenue, an unusual image, a fully and visibly pregnant Mother Mary is literally “showing” life. Presented on a billboard in the vicinity of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Jesus, as an unborn child, is portrayed under the protection of his mother’s mantle. In its message, Mary Full of Life appears to bear the weight of humanity into the world and to bring new life.

In 2004, Valerie Aschbacher, a Catholic woman in Portland, Oregon, commissioned a sculpture through an anonymous artist, requesting an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be “barely showing”. The intended purpose of this artwork was to reproduce and sell it, as a way to raise funds for starting a charitable, nonprofit organization.

As the process evolved, it became clearer that the emerging image had a distinctly different mission, which was not, after all, to be barely showing, but rather to be quite apparently “with child”. With each new development, Mary Full of Life proved to have a life of its own. When Aschbacher began researching the thousands of titles and works of Mary throughout the centuries, she discovered, Mary Full of Life was undoubtedly special and she began to pursue copyright protection for the works. Over 250 photos, taken by a professional photographer, uniquely captured the cleverly crafted piece of art, which seems to be full of life from every angle. An inspired prayer, patterned after the Hail Mary, accompanies the image. The collected works are culminated into a website where visitors can engage in a virtual, spiritual experience - www.maryfulloflife.org

The expectant mother, Mary Full of Life first appeared November 13th, 2008, on a similar billboard, atop the city landscape, against a dark backdrop, among the poor and lost souls of Portland, Oregon. From that single billboard, the message of its mission continues to make its way around the globe, with daily visitors to the website in places where it might be least expected – such as China, Myanmar, Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia, Belgium, Chile, Ivory Coast, as well as across the United States.

When several individuals from around the nation, including Jeanette O’Toole of Elmhurst, Illinois expressed an interest in having a similar billboard displayed in South Bend, Indiana, Valerie Aschbacher agreed to pursue it with a local advertising company. Donors from around the country helped to defray the costs. Now, for at least a month, it will stand, larger than life, and speak for itself, with the hopes of furthering its mission - to unite humankind to uphold the sacredness of human life.

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