Arielle Hebert on “Mary in the Glass”
I am interested in belief, in what we choose to put our faith and energy into, and how objects or experiences can become vessels for our need to believe. I’m also interested in doubt, in questioning handed-down narratives.
“Mary in the Glass” began as a memory from when I was very young of going to see an oily appearance of the Virgin Mary on the side of a glass building, a huge, colorful stain in the shape of her graceful silhouette. I wasn’t sure if I had dreamed it. Once I got the memory down, I did some research. The news reported over 500,000 people went to see Mary over the first few weeks it was discovered, and it became a religious site after the owner of the building sold it to Shepherds of Christ. Millions of people had gone there to pray or leave offerings.
This poem is an experience of both belief and questioning. The speaker is aware of the worshippers’ struggles, their needs to believe in this phenomenon, but she also expresses her own doubt that this is a divine experience