Shrine of Mary Help of Christians
Don Bosco Upperhill

image_alt_text

muralAt the age of nine, John Bosco (the later Don Bosco) had a dream that was to become the watershed of his life and vocation. In the dream Jonny saw little ruffians fighting themselves, using abusive language and exchanging blows.
Johnny being a hyper-sensitive lad and an influential leader among his peers, attempts in vain to put to order using his own fists. There appears to him the Man from Nazareth, who with the words, “Not with blows but with kindness will you win them for me”, transforms those boys from ruthless wolves into gentle lambs. The man also gives Johnny a teacher, mother and guide – Mary.
The imposing mosaic, divided into three parts – Centre, Right and Left, attempts to interpret the dream in traditional and contemporary African terms. At the centre is Jesus, in a white cloak as a mystical figure described in the dream, watching the Virgin Mary as She guides little Johnny Bosco.
On the right of the viewer is a situation of confusion, despair and disorder. The prehistoric sketches of the warring peoples give an illustration of violence that is part of human history even today. The mask on the wall represents the sum total of suffering, disease and death in the society. The young man fighting and running around in a barren surrounding further reiterate confusion and violence. Colours are sombre and receding to depict the lack of love and care.
In contrast, on the left is a scenario of order, peace and tranquility. The prehistoric sketches here symbolize peace and organization in the community. The homesteads show order and settled life. The cows are symbolsof wealth, as are the sheep and goats. Domestic animals signify docility and as in the dream they are the climax of the transition from disorder to order.
The tree represents life. And in contrast to the mask on the right, on the left is a figure of an open palm. The open palm bestows blessings, as if saying, “Peace, Fear not!” Inside the palm are women rejoicing and dancing be-
The imposing mosaic, divided into three parts – Centre, Right and Left, attempts to interpret the dream in traditional and contemporary African terms. cause of the blessing of God. The colours here are warm and brilliant showing the presence of love and care. Close to John Bosco, on the viewer’s right, is a kneeling boy. He personifies the numerous young people on the way towards conversion who responding to the work of Don Bosco and his Salestians have come closer to Christ.
This mosaic work was designed and decorated by Mr. Leonard Kateete, a teacher and artist, together with his students. This glittering mural, containing almost half a million glass pieces of pied colours, strenuously arranged, is heavily aden with virtual images which actually potray the reality of today.