There stands in the middle of the atrium of Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland a life size white marble statue of Mary on a marble pedestal. The statue shows Mary standing as a queen in long robes wearing a crown and holding the child, Jesus, seated in her arms. Her left cheek rests upon the boy’s head nestling upon her left shoulder. She gazes meditatively upon her sleeping son. Her foot protrudes from beneath her royal raiment cocked in such a way suggesting a gentle rocking of her resting boy. The left hand of Jesus lays on his mother’s chest taking comfort from the pulse of her heart.
The statue is a replica of a statue originally sculpted in 1860 by Henri Bouriché for the new library of the renovated Sulpician seminary of Angers, France. The image of Mary is known as or Seat of Wisdom.
In his “Meditations on the Litany of Loreto, for the Month of May,” Saint John Henry Newman says Mary has the title of Sedes Sapientiae because “the Son of God, who is also called the Word and Wisdom of God, once dwelt in her, and then, after His birth of her, was carried in her arms and seated in her lap in His first years. Thus being, as it were, the human throne of Him who reigns in heaven, she is called Seat of Wisdom.”
In this image, Mary beholds Jesus, the Eternal Wisdom of God, with her eyes. She internally experiences Jesus with her heart. Then, she presents God’s Word externally to the world with her hands. In this image, Mary is both a mystic and a missionary. She both prays and proclaims. In this image, Mary is the model modern disciple.