May 13, 2014


This gathering was a celebration in honor of Mothers Day, celebrated in Latin America on May 10, and also International Midwives Day, May 5. I do love to collaborate! and I got another chance to do so on Sunday. Since I couldn't spend Mothers Day with my own kids and grandkids, I spent it in the next best way.... a gathering at Trish Snyder's house with midwives and students from CASA. For those who don't know, that is Centro para los Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende, a school here that offers a three-year degree plus one-year residency in professional midwifery.
Suzanne Ludekens had invited me to create a huipil form as a tribute, a place where the women could write their dreams, prayers and intentions. Her hope was for an art project that could allow them to claim their strength as women and midwives, and to receive blessings of love and support from each other and all of us as well. 

In preparation, on Saturday I had created a huipil from from simple manta, lace, and a hand-embroidered panel with the Virgin of Guadalupe, a gift from my friend Judy Sadlier in Antigua, Guatemala. From Mexico, Guatemala and Panama, all these young women were missing their mothers back home. And we expats were missing our own kids as well.

Upon arriving at Trish's house with this "matrix", we met all the young women, heard some of their stories, as in the ones from Guatemala whose mothers actually do weave traditional huipils. I had to admit to a gringa infatuation with the centuries-old art form which is theirs, not mine.

Suzanne brought a blessing to be read in spanish, thus bringing us into a sacred circle before beginning our work. La Virgin, our spiritual Mother, Empress of the Americas, naturally became the centerpiece, the focal point, of our project. Each woman chose a strip of fabric and a marker, to write on, and read it aloud before affixing it to the huipil.

The blessing had been printed on paper and cut into strips. All were invited to select a strip and tuck it inside the pocket at the top of the Virgin panel.

When it was complete, they were excited to gather around it for photos. And even more excited to take it back to CASA with them, where it will hang in their dorm as a reminder of this day, this love and support they have in San Miguel.

As Suzanne said, "... it was a ritual of such love, solidarity and compassion." 

La Guadalupana, mother of us all, bless these young women and the new life they are dedicated to birthing into our world!


Wendy Brown-Baez said...

Love this collaborative idea, cross-cultural and honoring the Feminine in such a colorful and thoughtful and fun way!

Lena Bartula said...

Thank you Wendy, it was so meaningful and yet, so much fun. These young women bring hope for a future much brighter than I would have imagined for them. they're insightful beyond their years.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

These kinds of rituals hold the world together...

gma said...

Oh this is wonderful Lena.

rebecca said...

thank you for allowing me to share this ultimate expression of mother love!

redondowriter said...

I loved seeing your work on Rebecca's site yesterday and today I see the story behind what she posted. Very inspirational.

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Wow. These. Are. Amazing!

Hettienne Grobler said...