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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

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Brazilians Celebrate Its Patron Saint, Nossa Senhora Aparecida

by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer

Our Lady of Aparecida DayA man makes an offering to Our Lady of Aparecida during the patron saint’s feast day on October 12, 2004. (photo: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

Approximately 100 miles north of São Paulo in Brazil lies the town of Aparecida, home to the Basílica do Santuário Nacional de Nossa Senhora Aparecida, the second largest basilica in the world. Only Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is larger.

And today on October 12th, a national holiday in Brazil, thousands of devotees are traveling to the Brazilian town to pay homage to Our Lady of Aparecida (“Our Lady Who Appeared”), the country’s patron saint.

The Marian shrine is Brazil’s version of Lourdes. In her physical form, Our Lady of Aparecida is a dark-skinned, clay statue of the Virgin Mary measuring less than three feet tall. Some refer to her as the “black Virgin” because of her dark coloration.

Nossa Senhora AparecidaAccording to one account, three fishermen hauled in the statue from the bottom of the Paraiba River in 1717. They weren’t catching any fish that day and so prayed to Virgin Mary. Soon after the statue drifted into their nets, bounties of fish followed in her wake, nearly capsizing the men’s boat. Ever since, the statue has been associated with miracles.

It’s notable that Brazil, whose population includes more than 75 million people of African descent, has a black Madonna as its patron saint. One of the many miracles associated with Nossa Senhora Aparecida, as Brazilians call her, is the liberation of a fugitive slave. Some Afro-Brazilians syncretize the saint with three female Yoruba orishas: Oshun, Yemaya, and Oya — all of whom are associated with water.

And in a modern era of technological miracles, Nossa Senhora Aparecida now has her very own Twitter feed, which you can follow (in Portuguese).

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Painting Shinto Shrines with Light
Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Watching video like this is tantalizing, making me yearn for a high-dollar cable package in which I can become immersed in a scene. Visuals like this envelop you. Here, screen size and resolution really do matter. The pictures are more vibrant, richer in meaning. What Discovery HD Theater is producing for television looks incredible; I only wish I could see their new series Lightscapes this evening.

The first episode captures artist Akira Hasegawa digitally painting the Grand Ise Shrine, a 2000-year-old mystical Shinto site in Japan, and the Uji Bridge during Bunka no hi, Japan’s national holiday celebrating culture and the arts. Hasegawa bases his kaleidoscopic, abstract projections on “the Shinto principles of the connectedness of nature, the spiritual, the universe, and the ephemeral.” The images move slowly but are never static. The colors morph synchronously with a rhythmic beating that enchants and beguiles, calms and propels.

Lightscapes_IseWeb-19If you have a half hour tonight, check it out at 7:30 pm Eastern and let me know what you thought of this experiential television. And, if you’re left with only your broadband, check out these fantastic live video shots from Iceland. You won’t regret it!

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