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Aquino gives Pope sculpture made from tree felled by typhoon.

MANILA -- When Typhoon Glenda ravaged the country in July last year, like any other weather disturbance, it toppled trees and electric poles. Among the casualties was a centuryold acacia tree inside the Malacanang complex.

On Friday, the centuryold wood of that acacia tree was presented to Pope Francis, repurposed as a wooden sculpture of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots the pontiff's favored devotion.

President Benigno Aquino III showed the sculpture, which was handcarved by the awardwinning artist Fred Baldemor, to Pope Francis during his courtesy call in Malacanang.

A Palace statement said the Pope first encountered the devotion of Mary, Undoer of Knots in the 1980s at the Church of St. Peter am Perlach in Augsburg, Germany, in the form of a painting. It depicts Mary, untying a large knot while crushing a serpent with her foot.

"Our country has made marked progress over the past few years, but there are still many knots to be undone," a statement released to media said. "In Mary, Undoer of Knots, in His Holiness' life, and in the story of the Filipino people, we see the beauty of faith and the strength of devotion amidst the suffering and challenges of life."

It said that among the challenges still being faced by the country is the worsening effects of climate change and that Pope Francis will have the opportunity to meet many Filipinos "who represent resilience, faith and hope."

"The vast majority of these survivors have been able to rise from the devastation Haiyan wrought through their faith in the compassion and mercy of our Lord," it added."

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 16, 2015
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