EVANS CITY — A replica of a statue created by an Evans City woman may soon be presented to Pope Francis.
Bernadette Conklin was instrumental in creating the statue “Mary, Ark of The New Covenant” last year.
The statue’s genesis was in 2009 when Conklin asked her son, James, to draw an image of Jesus in the womb of Mary.
She said last year the illustration was inspired by Leonardo DaVinci’s study of embryos in 1500. James Conklin completed the illustration and gave it to her, she said.
“I was in prayer the next day at Holy Sepulcher Church,” said Conklin, who runs Preborn Jesus Ministry. “The prayer at noon was the Angelus (a Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation) and the image came to my mind: the umbilical chord slowly changed to a rosary. I asked him to add it to the picture.”
Conklin said, “I wanted to begin a ministry for women who are considering abortions, introduce them to Mary. I needed an image and what better image than of her pregnant?”
Last year, the image was converted into a statue “Mary, Ark of The New Covenant,” by Philadelphia artist Douglas Vasko.
The statue is carved from wood in two pieces with the base being the Ark of the Covenant.
Just this week, three 16-inch replicas of the statue were delivered to A.T. Merhaut Church Restoration and Supply in Allison Park.
Conklin said two of the replicas are for sale at the religious retail store, but the third will soon be on its way to Rome and a possible presentation to the pope.
Conklin said two sisters of the newly opened Mary, Ark of The Covenant monastery in Toronto, Ohio, and Sue Newman, a seamstress from Connecticut who made papal vestments with the image of Mary, Ark of The New Covenant on them, are traveling to Rome to attend the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy Tuesday.
Events throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy will reemphasize and promote both corporal and spiritual works of mercy that all Catholics are encouraged to undertake.
The three hope to present the replica statue and vestments to the pope after the pope’s usual Wednesday audience with pilgrims Dec. 9.
Merhaut sales consultant Adam Miller said the store has ordered 12 of the 16-inch replicas of Mary.
“They are from Colombia, South America, ”said Miller. “We did preorders.
Of the 12 that were ordered, 10 are already sold. People are buying them from all over the country.”
“Bernadette has been on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) twice.
They just ran her interview again,” said Miller. “We tend to get more and more interest after her appearances.”
Conklin said New Ark is one of the lesser known titles given to Mary.
“The Ark of the New Covenant is important especially now in the Jubilee Year of Mercy,” said Conklin.
In March, Pope Francis called on the entire global Roman Catholic Church to take up his papacy’s central message of compassion and pardon, convoking a jubilee year to be called the Holy Year of Mercy.
“I am convinced that the whole church — that has much need to receive mercy because we are sinners — will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time,” Francis said in announcing the year, which begins Tuesday, this year’s Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception.
“All people should have their eyes on Rome and Pope Francis” said Conklin. “For the whole world, Dec. 8 will be the opening of a great year.”
For more information, visit www.prebornjesus.com.