Queen of Heaven. Mother of Mercy. Blessed Madonna. She is the most famous mother in western history. The Virgin Mary - the mother of Jesus.
For centuries, the faithful have offered prayers, sought her comfort and petitioned for her help. Artists from Raphael to Leonardo Da Vinci have found inspiration in Mary. Most famously, there is Michelangelo's "Pietà" - Mary cradling the limp body of her crucified son - and of course there is music; all celebrating the gentle, loving archetype.
The Irish writer Colm Toibin has imagined a very different Mary. Gone is the tender mother, grief-stricken by her son's sacrifice, but ready to submit to God's design for human salvation.
Toibin's novel The Testament of Mary presents a woman who is angry and guilt-ridden. Set twenty years after the crucifixion of her son, we meet a Mary now living in exile in Ephesus. She is protected by two men. Though not named, they are followers of Jesus, busy with the task of writing the Gospels. They seek her corroboration of the "greatest story ever told." She is having none of it.
"The Testament of Mary" was produced by Frank Faulk, and first aired on The Sunday Edition last December.