Puppet show at St. Thomas á Becket in Reston honors Our Lady of Guadalupe

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For years Helen Dickey, a parishioner of St. Thomas á Becket Church in Reston, has combined her devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe with her love of art in the form of a beloved puppet production. 

Dickey’s devotion to Our Lady began shortly after the birth of her first child. She happened to read the story in a children’s book and was struck by the story of “heavenly art.” Dickey took the story as a sign that she should cultivate her passion for art. 

"I love the story and I always have a wonderful time doing this play." Esther Dickey

She was inspired to start the puppet show to raise funds for crisis pregnancy centers. The first show she produced was of the Nativity. She then decided to create a show based on her favorite story. 

“I started with Juan Diego and then saved Mary for last,” said Dickey. “As the years went by, I added something every year to make it look better and be better.”

Over the past 20 years, the production has grown from a small-scale single person play to a multi person production with a huge stage. 

Helen’s daughter Esther has helped with the show since she was 4. Now at 17, Esther and her friends manage the puppets.

“I love the story and I always have a wonderful time doing this play,” said Esther. “It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun.”

As snow began to fall Saturday afternoon, a dozen families from Dickey’s homeschool group gathered in the church hall to watch the two-foot-tall marionettes bring Juan Diego’s vision on Tepeyac Hill to life. 

For the Jeanette Murphy and her family, it’s the one event they do every year during Advent. It’s a big hit with her five kids who start asking about the show weeks in advance. 

“I find that it fills me up during the season when we are so busy,” said Murphy. “There is something about this story that really speaks to me. It jump-started the spread of the faith on this side of the world.” 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017