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In The News

New Sculpture installment at the Mary Undoer of Knots Shrine on Mount Lemmon
Diocese of Tucson Online News 8.27.2021

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The Mary Undoer of Knots Shrine on Mt. Lemmon has now installed their newest sculpture. It depicts the Theophany which is known in the Western Catholic Church as the Epiphany. It is placed on the baptismal font that runs through the grotto. Co-founder of the Shrine, Catherine Kinghorn says the sculpture is placed near the baptismal font and the grotto.


"The baptismal font and the grotto are set into the creek that runs between the chapel and the bell tower. There is a walkway down from the chapel into the creek and then another walkway out of the creek to the bell tower. This allows for a full procession from the chapel to the baptistery and a return to the chapel for the liturgical celebration of Baptism, Eucharist and Chrismation. "

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The artist, Brian Donahue, is also known for making a lot of the artwork at St. Augustine Cathedral, Tucson AZ. He says his inspiration for this new sculpture came from the shrine itself.  "Since the shrine is Byzantine, I felt it was important to maintain that style of art. So, it blends in with all the other beautiful iconography found throughout the complex. Due to the size and shape of the stone Baptismal grotto, I felt a bronze relief would fill the space better than a statue and allow for a more complete story of the Baptism of Jesus by being able to include more figures and elements. Plus, the grotto only allows for a front view. A three dimensional statue would have been a waste since only two dimensions are visible," said Donahue. 

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The process was not an easy one. Donahue says he made the sculpture out of clay first, which took about two months. Then it was sent to the Metalphysics Art Foundry in Tucson where they did their "magic." The 200-pound sculpture was cut into nine pieces to cover it with bronze and metal.

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"Once it is all in bronze sectionals, the pieces are welded together and finished into the original size and shape. This is where the mastery and skill of the foundry craftspeople comes in. Finally, the bronze patina is applied. This is done with heat and various chemicals to achieve the desired appearance. I then gilded the halos with 23k gold leaf," said Donahue. This work of art was then transported back to the shrine to be installed. This was another venture that needed all hands on deck. "I transported it to the shrine on Mt. Lemmon in the back of my son-in-law’s pick-up truck. With the help of friends and family we had to hand-carry the art down the steps and into the grotto to do the installation by hand, "stated Donahue.

Article from March of 2017 from the AZ Daily Star

Click the Article to see it.

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Co-founder of the Shrine, Dr. Eugene Kinghorn says the sculpture adds another element that represents the Byzantine Church. "There’s always a bit of confusion as to why the East refers to the Epiphany as the Theophany! This is true for a number of feast days like The Presentation of Jesus (West)/The Meeting (East), Lent/The Great Fast, The Assumption/The Dormition," said Kinghorn.


According to the Ukranian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, "In the Western Church, Epiphany means the manifestation of Christ to the world...Theophany is the word used in the Eastern Church because the baptism is the manifestation of God, of the Holy Trinity.  God the Father spoke, 'This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased' (Matthew 3:17).  The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed these words as true, as Jesus came up from the waters of the Jordan River.”

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Donahue says creating this sculpture was a spiritual journey for him; a journey that he hopes will bless others. "I hope the work I have done will bring an added joy to those who visit the shrine for Mass or other Sacraments. This was a very spiritually rewarding project for me. The kindness of the Kinghorn's and the beauty of the shrine made it a real pleasure. I strongly recommend everyone to visit the Mary Undoer of Knots Shrine," said Donahue. The shrine is connected to St. Melany Byzantine Catholic Church in Tucson.   If you're interested in visiting the Mary Undoer of Knots shrine you can visit:

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In December 2017 Chuck Albanese Presented on the Dome Project to St. Phillips in the Hills as they hosted an Iconography Exhibit.

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