Friday, December 14, 2012

Portrait Artist For Pope Does Delightful Children's Book On Benedict's Real Life Love For His Fish ( Forward by Mons. Georg Gaenswein )

I was not aware that the official portrait artist for the Pope ( shown above and who has a wonderful story herself ) had written a charming children's book that is centers around Pope Benedict's real love for his garden and his fish. The UK Telegraph had a story on the book that was released the same day the Pope did his first tweet. The book is currently available only in Italian.

Mons. Georg Gaenswein wrote the forward for the book which was published in the Vatican newspaper . This site has a English translation of that foreword which I reproduce below.

The mystery of a little pond

A tale created and illustrated

by Natalia Tsarkova, painter

Foreword by Mons. Georg Gaenswein

Translated from the 10/10/12 issue of L'Osservatore Romano  
It is not a secret that Benedict XVI loves the Vatican Gardens, but he especially loves the Gardens of the Pontifical Villas in Castel Gandolfo.

Whenever he is in residence at the 'Castello' during the summer months, he takes a walk through the gardens every day, praying the Rosary amidst the beauty of creation: the trees, the plants, the flowers, the birds, the farm animals, the great orchard, the olives, the centuries-old oaks, the majestic cedars and so many other beauties of nature are an invitation to enjoy and meditate on creation.

They are like a symphony of extraordinary forms and colors, of amazing sounds which do good for the heart and soul. All nature, all creation, is a tangible testimonial to the greatness and beauty of the Creator, who made it all for us.
Among the places most loved by the Holy Father at the Castello is the Giardino della Madonnina, which was made for his predecessor Pius XI in 1933, and since him, four more Pontiffs before Benedict XVI would find it a pleasant place to pray - Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II.

Before the image of the Virgin Mary in the garden named for her, there is a little pond with red fish and two large carp. Every time the Pope finishes his prayers before the Madonna, the fish seem to gather at the edge of the pond, awaiting a generous treat from the Holy Father.

In fact, an anonymous and generous hand daily prepares a small bag with bread crumbs for the Pope to feed the fish. There is great 'joy' and lively activity in the pond when the 'largesse' comes.

This is the routine that gave birth to the story told by the author of this engaging little book, The mystery of the little pond , which is the story of two goldfish.

Natalia Tsarkova composed a dialog between Father Goldfish and his son, and has enhanced her story with marvelous illustrations and designs. And in the end, she could not do without a cat..

Behind the story is, of course, the Pope's love of creation, of animals, especially the small ones. Thus, to look at all creatures, including the small ones - who often escape an inattentive look - with the eyes of love, is the message of this engaging book.


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