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Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho
Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho
Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho
Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho
Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho
Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho
Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho

Madonna of the Streets Shrine, Altar Art Nicho

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The Madonna of the Streets is the patron saint of anyone who has to spend a lot of time on the road, including drivers, travelers, itinerant workers, and the homeless. She's also called on by godparents and anyone else who is close to a child but is not the child's parent or not in its immediate day to day life, but they want to ask the Blessed Mother to watch over them especially.

This shrine features a full-color print of the Madonna and Child surrounded by mixed-media embellishments, including enamel paint, paper, ink, fabric flowers, glass beads, ribbon, and a tiny double-sided Miraculous Medal affixed to a short strand of rosary bead chain. An excerpt of a prayer adorns the sides and top as a petition, reading, "Enlighten and be merciful to those who fail to love and give them peace."

The shrine is three inches high including the attached corona adorning the top and 1.5 inches wide with a waxed fabric cord for hanging.  The box forming the frame and the corona are made from reclaimed post-consumer tinplate diverted from the landfill, which is hand-hammered, folded, painted, punched, and scored to form this nicho shrine.  

The Madonna of the Streets is a great example of how popular religion/folk beliefs can come to shape more formal, "orthodox" religious tradition. This was not originally a portrayal of the Virgin Mary and Jesus at all when it was painted, but that's how it was read and what it has become. So it shows how it's hardly a one-way street where the Church hands down official proclamations about things and the masses of the faithful just nod and fall in line. Folk traditions and movements absolutely can and do exert influence "upwards" as well. Scholar Robert Orsi has noted that these popular traditions combine with the official ones, circulate, and essentially form what he calls a "theology of the streets." I can't think of a better patron saint for *that* than the Madonna of the Streets.

All spiritual and devotional pieces are made with care and intent with respect to traditional origins, lore, and practices, all of which I'm happy to answer questions about.

To learn more about folk religion and popular Catholicism as well as an array of folk traditions about a slew of patron saints, visit the website at and follow the tags.

LEGALESE: As required by law, all items are sold as curios to preserve and teach the traditions of folklore and popular religion. I don't sell anything I don't use myself, though, and quite a few customers over the years have sworn by my traditional formulas since I started selling them in 2002.

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