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Wednesdays Throughout the Year

The Icon of Mary, "La Bruna", is the oldest image of Mary that has been adopted by the Carmelites.

The icon belongs to the Carmelitesí basilica church in Naples, Italy. It bears the title "La Bruna," or "the dark one". It derives its title from the dark color of the flesh tones applied to Mary. This touching image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is frequently imitated in other depictions of Mary, Queen Beauty of Carmel around the world.

The style of the icon captures a certain "tenderness," in which the Mother's head lies in fond proximity to that of her Child. The Greeks nicknamed this type "the sweet kissing" icon.

The Carmelite prototype was painted in the first half of the thirteenth century, on wood, measuring 39 in. x 31 in., and in accordance with Byzantine criteria for iconography.

Tradition says it came from Mount Carmel, the Carmelites' birthplace. Recently historians have claimed that Marian images of the "tenderness" style are the ones venerated from the earliest stages of the order's existence.

Source : La Bruna : Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites