The Annunciation

The Annunciation marks the beginning of Jesus' life and is the First Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. Conveniently, this particular mural is located almost directly above the stained glass window which depicts the same event, however the mural is a different interpretation of the event.

As depicted here, the Angel Gabriel descends from heaven to give word to Mary that she is to bear a child. The dove atop represents the Holy Spirit and a ray of light shines upon Mary to signify that she has been chosen.

This particular image is contrary to traditional depictions for several reasons. Typically, Gabriel is standing or kneeling infront of Mary. In the stained glass window, Gabriel is kneeling infront of Mary. Traditionally the interior of Mary's personal quarters is not shown, instead The Annunciation takes place in an open garden or another section of the house.

You will also notice the presence of two plants; the fern on the left and the lily on the right. The fern is often a symbol of fascination, confidence and a secret bond of love. The lily is the traditional symbol of Mary, often symbolizing virginity, purity and chastity as well as majesty. It is difficult to discern what type of tree grows outside of the window.

You can also see the presence of clouds surrounding Gabriel. These clouds symbolizes that the message comes from heaven and often is present to show a connection between heaven and earth.

It also may appear as though Gabriel is holding something in his right hand. In fact it appears to just be a smudge in the paint. Gabriel's stance with his right hand pointed upward and bent at the elbow while the left hand moving into a positon directed downward is similar to the "Sign of Heaven and Earth," again connecting the message he brings to heaven and earth.

Mary's arms are crossed to represent what is known as the "Sign of Resignation," as a symbol of her obedience to God in receiving His message. Mary kneels infront of an open book to which she is said to have read the prophecy of Isaiah which says that a virgin shall bear a son.

Mary is wearing clothing of red and blue color. Blue traditionally is a representation of heavenly love and red, though used as a representation of the passion, is also used to depict love. Gabriel's red and white clothing show both love and spiritual transcendence. Everything else remains in neutral earth tones, making the two figures standout.