Notes from Dr. Albert Ryle Kezel

THE STAIRS:  This is a bit of a mystery, all by word of mouth, and I really cannot vouch for every detail.  I know that Marguerite did put the small stone ANNUNCIATE VIRGIN

at the bottom of the red-carpeted stairs so that the person entering the door would “startle” Mary and thus fill in for the separate statue of St Gabriel that she was never able to find.  This would evoke the first words of the HAIL MARY.  The rest of the idea evolved naturally as the statue of the VISITATION evoked “Blessed art thou…” as spoken by St Elizabeth.  The name JESUS, added here by tradition, is evoked by the large corpus from a crucifix.  The Tridentine Breviary formalized the ending  “Holy Mary, Mother of God….”  This easily relates to the traditional image of OUR LADY OF PITY at the top of the stairs.  Somehow all of this relates to the AVE MARIA room at the entry of each cell of a Charterhouse, vividly described in THE SILENT LIFE by Thomas Merton.  This may have been a very private devotion of  Marguerite that she only partly explained to me.  I do not think she ever wrote about it. 

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THE ALTARPIECE:  Marguerite often told the story of how the Holy Cross Fathers offered her the old altarpiece from St Birgitta’s House on the Piazza Farnese in Rome.  They had a residence there for a