The Christmas Postage Stamp Connection

There is a lovely connection with the religious Australia Post Christmas Stamp this year and the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre in Melbourne.

Ursula Betka is the artist whose work has been chosen for these stamps. Earlier Ursula did the icon of Mary MacKillop that is now located in the chapel at the Centre.

After completing the Icon of Mary MacKillop, Ursula set up an exhibition and sale of her many icons to raise funds for Syrian refugees thus creating a double link with the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre.

When Ursula was asked about how it came about that her icon was being used for the stamps, she explained:

The painting for this year’s Australia Christmas stamp (2018) – The Madonna and Child in Humility, was created a few years earlier to convey the plight of Mary and the Christ Child as refugees, fleeing persecution in their homeland. Mary sits upon the ground, gazing in adoration at the child resting on her lap. The holy couple are poised anachronistically within a European landscape, far from their place of origins in Nazareth. Ursula Betka – Artist

Musical Angels Icon

Ursula continues to explain, “in 2016, I spoke with Sr Helen Smith and Garry McLean, CEO at the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre about the possibility of an exhibition and sale of my Icons to raise funds for Syrian refugee families. The idea was welcomed and thoroughly supported. The focal painting for the Icon exhibition was the Madonna and Child in Humility. While mounting the show, in February 2017, a representative of Australia Post visited. After some deliberation a request was made for the purchase of Madonna and Child in Humility for the 2018 Australian Christmas stamp. I agreed with astonishment and joy and the funds for the purchase were donated to assist Syrian refugee families to travel to Australia, through Barnabas Fund ‘Safe Havens’ project.”

Special congratulations go to Ursula for this achievement and for her generosity and care for her efforts for Syrian refugees.

Patricia Williams rsj

Ursula’s Explanation of the Mary MacKillop Icon (PDF)

View images of Ursula’s artwork in the gallery below…

Madonna in Adoration and Humility
Musical Angels Icon
Musical Angels Icon
The Two Religious Postage stamps 2018
All the 2018 Christmas Stamps
Ursula Betka teaching
Ursula and Marcia with the Mary MacKillop Icon in East Melbourne
Mary MacKillop Icon
Christmas Stamp First day cover 2018