Chapel Art : The Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph


The image immediately to the left as one faces the main altar is a scene from the Gospel of St. Luke (Luke 1:26-28), which is cited in the Latin inscription: A man named Joseph [was betrothed to a virgin]… and the Virgin’s name was Mary. The Jewish priest from the Temple in Jerusalem – St. Simeon – witnesses the Betrothal (engagement leading to marriage) of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a widower – St. Joseph – of the House of David. Christian tradition holds that it was Simeon who arranged the marriage, as he had discerned that Our Lady was to be the vessel through whom God would take flesh and appear among us. Joseph it is who will serve as Protector of the Holy Family and foster-father to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

What is college but often a time in life when we discern our vocation, which for most of us is marriage – sometimes meet our spouses; grow in wisdom and faith and love.

A student asked me once to explain the words at the base of the Betrothal panel. There was a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph… and the Virgin’s Name was Mary. “How come there in Latin?” Well, there’s close to 400 dialects spoken by the Student Body at ASU, every corner of the globe. Latin’s the language of the Church… a language that is the base of most modern languages in the western world… but the possession of no one nation or people.