ST. MICHAEL - THE URBAN ANGEL QUIS UT DEUS

Inspiration to write this icon was the sculpture of Saint Michael Archangel from the lobby of the Saint Michael Hospital in Toronto. Saint Michael, Who defeated  Satan, in a  triumphant, winner’s pose, with right hand holding a sword and left hand raised to haven in a gesture  not to be mistaken and saying: “Who is like God “. This statue called also “The Urban Angel” is present in St. Michael’s Hospital for a hundred years. It is recognized and loved as an inspirational symbol of strength, hope and healing for employees, patients and their families. Unusual and enigmatic way of the statue to the hospital’s lobby is worth to notice.

 

It is year 1892, Toronto. A diphtheria epidemic was sweeping Toronto. The medical officer of Toronto’s Health Department asked the Sisters of St. Joseph for help. They answered the call and organized St. Michael’s Hospital in an old Baptist church on Bond Street. Everything was needed for the new, 26-bed hospital: furniture, linen, other supplies. Sisters were known in local pawnshops, money was often short. One day, while in the shop, they came across very unusual item- a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. It was difficult to recognize, it was black with soot and grime, but Sisters had no doubt-it was St. Michael Archangel, who from now is going to be the patron of St. Michael Hospital. The only thing left was to bargain with the shop owner and they knew how to bargain. The statue was bought for $49 with money they had saved from selling old newspapers. It must been quite a challenge for the nuns to get the statue to the hospital, followed by hours of gently washing away years of dirt to reveal the beautiful white marble underneath, Saint Michael Archangel in all His power, Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts where during the war in haven He defeats Satan. The Urban Angel, guardian of sick and everybody in need.

 

Then, in the year of 1997 the statue yielded a very old secret. As the statue was being moved from the hospital’s Bond Street entrance to the new Victoria Wing, someone notice the word “Pietrasanta” chiseled on the back. Incredibly, this marble had come from the same quarry in Italy as the marble Michelangelo used in 1499 for his famous sculpture, “Pieta”. There are many unanswered questions still exist:  How old is the statue of Saint Michael? Who is the author? How did it get into Canada? Nobody can answer those questions. The answers still remain mystery.

 

The icon of Saint Michael Archangel – “The Urban Angel” was written to commemorate elevation of His Grace, Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, to the College of Cardinals, an international group of principal advisors to the Pontiff. It happens during the formal consistory in Rome on February 18, 2012.