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Full of Grace: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art, and Life Hardcover – November 2, 2010

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Like Mary herself, this gem of a book is a gift of consolation and understanding that will withstand revisiting-unto-intimacy. I can't recommend it, enough.
--Elizabeth Scalia, First Things

Fifty-nine meditations (the number of beads on a traditional rosary) on Mary by a superb writer. She possesses a poetic sensitivity for images that express what words alone can't. 
--Marianist Father James L. Heft, National Catholic Reporter

Intellectually stimulating and visually stunning, Full of Grace is a timely work of reflection. . . a vivid portrait of the Virgin Mary both as a biblical figure and as a beacon of inspiration. 

--Associated Press

Scared child.
 Proud parent.
 Beloved icon.
 Soul sister. In her startlingly beautiful new book . . . Dupré uses each of these phrases to describe the Virgin Mary.  
----Cathleen Falsani, The Dude Abides blog

Intriguing . . . eccentric . . . an astonishing range of images . . . [Dupré] writes with lyricism and insight. 
--The New York Times

About the Author

Judith Dupré is the author of several international bestselling books, including Skyscrapers, Bridges, Churches, and Monuments. Winner of a number of prestigious fellowships, she holds degrees from Brown University and studied at the Open Atelier of Design and Architecture in Manhattan. Currently, she is at Yale Divinity School studying the impact of memory, beauty, and ethics on architecture and community building. She lives with her family outside New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400065852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400065851
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judith Dupré is passionate about buildings. She writes about history through the lens of a single building type, whether skyscrapers, bridges, memorials, or churches. She has written books about all these subjects, including Skyscrapers, the best selling book in the world on that topic; Bridges; Churches, a New York Times bestseller; and Monuments: America's History in Art and Memory. Above all, she seeks to engage and delight those who profess "not to know much" about architecture.

A storyteller with an ear for the telling anecdote, Dupré's writing has garnered praise from publications ranging from The Oprah Magazine ("magisterial, meticulously researched") to The New Criterion ("a scholar with a novelist's eye for detail and a journalist's easy style").

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Dupré holds degrees from Brown and Yale Universities and studied at the Open Atelier of Design and Architecture in Manhattan. She has received numerous prestigious awards and fellowships, including grants from Yale, New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has been named twice a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the oldest artists' colony in the U.S. In 2004, the Westchester Arts Council awarded her the Artists Award, the county's highest cultural honor, citing her as a "champion of the arts and literacy."

An intrepid traveler, amateur gardener, and weekend cruciverbalist, she lives outside New York City with her sons. Join Judith on Twitter (@JudithDupre) or Facebook! ( Also visit:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Monika Wiesner on November 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A must-read! Judith Dupre captures the essence of spirituality and invites us into the heart and life of Mary. For anyone that has traveled to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, this book will illicit powerful memories. "Full of Grace" documents works of art and architecture, historical events and faith traditions, and shares the history of each.

Artfully blending past and present, Judith invites us to seek Mary in today's world, both in the spirituality of our hearts and in the messy humanness of everyday life. Written on the premise that Mary's image is continuously reinvented through cultural interpretation, Judith seeks to further transform and enhance our understanding of this most powerful person of history.

An excellent resource for clergy. Judith takes history/tradition/lore and makes it relevant for contemporary use. As a pastor, I consider this a useful resource for sermon writing. What does Mary have to say to us today? Judith's insights open the door to our own spiritual awakenings as she brings a new awareness to an old narrative.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. McAvoy on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a gorgeous book. This book is a series of essays reflecting on Mary, from the author's personal experiences to reflections on Christianity's evolving theological treatment of Mary. These are supplemented by works of art depicting Mary throughout Christian history. The essays and pictures, ranging from early icons to modern digital prints, complement each other perfectly. Ms. Dupre's artistic perspicacity, personal candor, and obvious academic knowledge shine through on every page. Dupre's is a much-needed voice about Mary that belongs as part of today's conversation; with the author's focus on globalized life and social justice, she makes it clear that Mary is not simply a figure of history. No male writer toiling away on the theotokos in an academic or monastic cloister could ever have penned the chapter on the Palestinian hair salon, and that is but one of many insights and experiences Dupre has disclosed with a frankness which took a great deal of personal courage. Authentic self-revelation is always one of the hardest things about being any kind of artist, and therefore one of the hardest-found. The author did not dull her emotions by hiding behind the ersatz shield of academic objectivity, denying Mary her due power. Neither humanity nor scholarship were sacrificed; Dupre displays extensive knowledge while communicating the deep, personal role of Christ's mother in her life in a wonderful way. If you have always had a special feeling for Mary, regardless of your religion, or you are looking for a Christmas gift for someone in your life who does, you could do no better than this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Diane on November 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Judith Dupré is known for taking on big architectural topics and presenting them in unusual, compelling formats that made them accessible to non-specialists. Her last book, Monuments, America's History in Art and Memory, provided lavish visuals and clear, conversational technical overviews rich in examples and detail, but also explored what makes a given work of architecture or art endure on an experiential level. Why do some works resonate over time and others not?

In her newest book, Full of Grace, she extends the trajectory to explore how Mary endures and resonates in various forms over time. Dupré weaves together biblical stories, analysis, and interpretation of religious artwork along with contemporary world issues and her own very personal essays and insights. The book is moving and informative and generous as its subject.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tanja Butler on December 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has the immediacy, energy and complexity of an actual encounter. In it Dupre recreates the familiar, making the "old, old story" newly strange and marvelous, and builds bridges of understanding to practices and beliefs that seem foreign or arcane. Her narratives and commentary are shot through with Mary's simplicity, unaffected movements, and fresh beauty. I am delighted, comforted, confused, consoled, and affirmed by the deeply dimensional presence of Mary in these pages.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Regina C. O'Leary on November 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful, nourishing book! This intimate portrayal of the girl from Nazareth who became the Mother of God shows the Virgin Mary's powerful presence in the here and now. With humor, pathos and intelligence, Dupre links events in the life of a modern, divorced mother to occurrences in Mary's life. The illustrations are beautiful, combining familiar masterpieces with unexpected contemporary images. This book was a real comfort to me, and will help many people realize that they're not alone in their struggles to find meaning. Just as Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love, Dupre takes the reader on a journey at once deeply spiritual and authentic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dell Stahl on December 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully presented, and could be listed in a 'Coffee Table' category. The art included is outstanding, and includes copies of many of the great religious works of art. Not only does the author, Judith Dupre, include much historical and Biblical information about Mary and the Birth of Christ, but she also writes about personal experiences in her life and her Faith. Her research is extensive, and, as a result, creates a valuable addition to an individual's library. Members of our church studied this book as an Advent Book Study group. Excellent choice!
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