Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Bishop Boeynaems  (1903 - 1926)

Bishop Libert Boeynaems, SS.CC.  came from Belgium to Hawaii in 1881 and spent his first fourteen years on the island of Kauai before being assigned to Wailuku, Maui.
Appointed bishop on July 25, 1903, he initiated many building projects throughout the mission. Three major churches were built during his term of office: Sacred Heart Church, Punahou (1914) St. Joseph Church, Hilo (1919), and the renovation of St. Anthony in Wailuku (1920)
Also part of the Sacred Heart Father's building program were  St. Anthony's Orphanage in Kalihi Valley (1909), St. Anthony's Orphanage, Wailuku (1923), and Father Louis Boys' Home, Hilo (1916). 
Bishop Boeynaems ambitious plan to convert the Fort Street cathedral into an impressive Gothic structure began with the construction in 1910 of an ornate Gothic porch fronting the church as a first phase of his proposed plan to renovate the church.

Bishop Alencastre  (1926-1940)

Born of Portuguese parents in Porto Santo, on the Portuguese island of Madeira, the future Bishop Stephen Alencastre, SS.CC. migrated to Hawaii with his family when he was just an infant, living on Hawaii, Kauai and later on Maui.
Desiring to be a priest, he was sent to Europe for his seminary studies. He was ordained a priest at the Fort Street cathedral on April 5, 1902. In 1913, he was assigned to the Punahou mission in Honolulu and the following year constructed the present Sacred Heart Church on Wilder Avenue as its pastor.
On April 29, 1924, Father Alencastre became a coadjutor bishop to the sickly Bishop Boeynaems, succeeding him upon his death in 1926.
The new bishop, Hawaii's sixth and last vicar apostolic, realized the changing times and saw the need for training island men for the priesthood. He opened the first St. Stephen's Seminary in Kalihi Valley. Bishop Alencastre also did some major renovation to the cathedral, importing the marble main altar to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Faith in Hawaii in 1927.
Alencastre was also responsible for the continual building of schools and churches in the islands. On November 11, 1940 Bishop Alencastre died of illness on board a passenger ship returning to Hawaii from Los Angeles. With his passing, the mission era of the Catholic Church in Hawaii came to an end.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Mass on Sunday
This week in Hawaii my favorite bishop ( this does not include archbishops!). was in Honolulu. I introduced Karen (our Oblate here in Hawaii) to him last year and she is an avid fan. She thought it would be a great idea to fly over to Oahu to hear and meet him, but things did not quite work out. We were able (after a bit of effort) to stream the lecture and Mass.

(The photos were taken from his Facebook)

Bishop Robert Barron was the speaker at the diocesan Red Mass, Jan. 17 at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu. His topic was “The Noble Project: Law, Politics, and the Gospel.”

Bishop Larry Silva presided at the annual public liturgy that is the Church’s prayer to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance for the islands’ public servants. Present were members of the state’s executive, legislative and judicial branches, city and county officials, faith leaders, and others.

Bishop Barron's talk addressed “the natural law,” which, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, “is a reflection of the eternal law of God and is, in turn, the ground for all of our positive laws.”

When the relationship between God’s law, the moral law, and political law is lost, our society suffers,” the bishop said. “Human law at its best participates in the lawfulness of God and is in service of love and justice.”

A tradition in Hawaii since 1955, the Red Mass is customarily celebrated in January, to mark the opening of the state legislature. The Red Mass was introduced in the United States early last century from Europe where it has been celebrated for 700 years. It is an annual event in Washington, D.C., and other major mainland cities. The Mass is named for the color of the vestments used for a Mass of the Holy Spirit.

Mass in Kalaupapa (St. Damien's Church)

The night before Bishop Barron gave a talk on the 7 Keys to New Evangelization.

At the Mass on the 17th Bishop Barron said the highlight of his trip was the pilgrimage to Kalaupapa to visit the site of Hawaii's two great saints: Damien and Marianne. Mahalo and Aloha!

Sunday, January 15, 2017


This past week the priests in the Diocese of the Hawaiian Islands had their annual retreat on Oahu. Father Steven from Waimea attended. This caused me to look up the present Bishop and the history of the Church in Hawaii. During its mission period (1827-1940), the Catholic Church in Hawaii had six bishops. Officially referred to as vicars apostolic, they all belonged to the France-based Congregation of the Sacred Hearts who sent the first Catholic missionaries to Hawaii in 1827. They were missionaries in the true sense of the word, leaving a legacy that has influenced the Church in Hawaii even up to modern times.

Bishop Rouchouze  (1833-1843)

Hawaii's first missionary bishop, Stephen Rouchouze SS.CC. was a Frenchman. He was consecrated a bishop in 1833 at the young age of 35 to head the mission of "Eastern Oceania" which included the islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, Gambier, Marquesas and Tuamotu. He was stationed in Gambier in 1835, and after religious freedom was permitted in Hawaii, arrived here on May 15, 1840.

On June 6, the eve of Pentecost, he baptized 195 native Hawaiians at the Honolulu mission on Fort Street, signed a contract on June 22 for the building of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace; and in December ordained Sacred Hearts Father Bernabe Castan to the priesthood, the first ordination in Hawaii.

Bishop Rouchouze sailed for Europe on January 3, 1841, to gather more missionaries and supplies for his Pacific missions. But on his return voyage in early 1843, his ship, the "Marie-Joseph" sank and all were lost at sea.

Bishop Miagret (1847-1882)

A French Sacred Hearts priest who worked with Bishop Rouchouze in Gambier and Hawaii, Father Louis Maigret, SS.CC. was exiled from Hawaii in 1837, along with the dying Sacred Hearts Father Alexis Bachelot. They left Honolulu bound for Ponape on November 23, 1837. During the voyage, Father Bachelot, Hawaii's first Catholic priest, passed away and was buried in Ponape by Fr. Maigret.
Made a bishop in 1847, Bishop Maigret completed the cathedral planned by his predecessor in 1843; founded the island's first Catholic school, Ahuimanu, in 1846; and brought in Hawaii's first nuns, the Sacred Hearts Sisters, in 1859.

Bishop Maigret ordained Father Damien de Veuster in the Honolulu cathedral on May 21, 1864, and in 1873 assigned him to Molokai.  In late 1869, he attended the First Vatican Council in Rome.
Bishop Maigret died on June 11, 1882, after 42 years of service in Hawaii, 35 of those years as a bishop. He is buried in a crypt below the cathedral sanctuary.

Bishop Koeckemann (1882-1892)

German-born Bishop Herman Koeckemann, SS.CC. was a brilliant scholar. He arrived in Hawaii in 1854 as a young priest and was assigned continually to the Honolulu mission. He was made coadjutor bishop, one designated to follow the present bishop, on August 21, 1881, to assist the aging Bishop Louis Maigret.

Bishop Koeckemann became Hawaii's third vicar apostolic following Maigret's death nearly a year later. With a diminishing population of the native Hawaiians, his administration saw a new apostolate with the growing numbers of Portuguese immigrants. A strong advocate of education, he introduced the Marianist Brothers to staff Catholic boys' schools in Honolulu, Wailuku and Hilo. He welcomed then Mother Marianne Cope and her Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse to work with Hansen's disease patients in Honolulu and Molokai.

The bishop's relationship with Father Damien was stormy at times, but he always showed a fatherly concern for the great "Apostle of Molokai."

Bishop Koeckemann died shortly after being stricken with paralysis on February 22, 1892. He was finally laid to rest under the tall iron cross in the Catholic cemetery on King Street near downtown Honolulu.

Bishop Ropert   (1892-1903)

Father Gulstan Ropert, SS.CC. came to Hawaii from France in 1868 and was assigned to Hamakua on the Big Island, where he immediately fell in love with the Hawaiian people. He made Waipio Valley his center and had Father Damien, his neighbor in Kohala, build a couple of chapels there.
After fifteen years in Hamakua and nine years in Wailuku, Maui, he was appointed bishop, despite his protests, on September 25, 1892. He continued his predecessor's support of education by building Catholic schools. and assisted the Franciscan Sisters with their hospital in Kalaupapa.

In December, 1892, Bishop Ropert constructed an impressive two-story residence for the mission fathers on the cathedral grounds and erected the statue of Our Lady of Peace that still stands in the cathedral courtyard.
Bishop Ropert's administration witnessed the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the eventual annexation of Hawaii by the United States. The bishop was a good administrator, mild-mannered, and extremely kind and patient. Many say that his disposition suited well the quiet conducting of the affairs of the Catholic mission through Hawaii's disturbing political era.

After patiently bearing an illness for several years, Bishop Ropert died on January 4, 1903. He is buried next to Bishop Koeckemann at the King Street Cemetery.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Hawaiian Bride
I was so sure that after I was here in Hawaii a year ago, I did a Blog on a wonderful local artist, but find this was not the case. My first day here we went into the small, very choice museum in Waimea to say hello to the director who is the aunt of my sheep shearer.
MADGE TENNENT was a naturalized American artist, born in England, raised in South Africa, and trained in France. And while she ranks among the most accomplished and globally renowned artists ever to have lived and worked in  Hawaii, she is not today that well known internationally,.something the locals are trying to amend!
Madge's parents took a lively interest in comparative creeds that embraced many religions, as well as in matters of psychic and astrological trend. Their efforts to promote tolerance among various races and creeds left a lasting impression on Madge.
A child prodigy, Madge spent her formative teenage years in Paris, where she honed technical mastery under the tutelage of William-Adolph Bouguereau. She was also exposed to the city's leading avant-garde artists, including CezanneRenoir and Picasso, who influenced her pioneering vision. 
After her marriage in 1915 to Hugh Cowper Tennent, she relocated to his native New Zealand. In 1917 they moved to British Samoa where Madge started her love affair with the Polynesian peoples. While on leave in Australia, she studied with Julian Ashton “and learned” she said, “to draw for the very first time". Julian Ashton founded the Sydney Art School in 1890. He was an ardent disciple of Impressionist painting, having served as an art educator in South Africa, New Zealand, and British Samoa.
Local Color
The Tennents arrived in Honolulu with their two young sons in 1923, planning on a three-day stop before continuing on to London to enroll the boys in a proper British boarding school. Almost immediately they were introduced to members of the local artistic community, who saw her Samoan studies and begged her to stay and paint the Hawaiians. She needed no further persuasion.

Lei Queen Fantasia

The Hawaiians are really to me the most beautiful people in the world:, she once said, “no doubt about it – the Hawaiian is a piece of living sculpture. They are strong, serene and proud.” . Using grand swirls of oil Madge portrayed Hawaiian women as solidly fleshed and majestic- larger than life - capturing in rhythmic forms the very essence of their being.
Her method of applying thick layers of paint to achieve a graceful, perfectly balanced composition is evident in “Lei Queen Fantasia”. Everything on the canvas whirls. The paint is applied in whirls in what might be called the “Tennent whirl” – the colors bright and luminous. Madge envisioned Hawaiian Kings and Queens as having descended from Gods of heroic proportion, intelligent and brave, bearing a strong affinity to the Greeks in their legends and persons. She was criticized for her portrayal of larger size women but to her Hawaiian women fulfilled the standards of classic Greek Beauty.

In Madge's enchantment with color and use of the bright, warm hues she gave us insight into the colors endemic to Hawaiʻi. Generously applying paint with a palette knife, she avoided sensuousness in the representation of skin texture, instead imbuing the trademark sense of strength and grandeur tinged with a fragility. Just as she constructed her women layer by layer in paint, she built her canvases to equally monumental proportions; when standard issue could no longer satisfy her vision, she sewed pieces of canvas together to attain the desired size.

Dancer at Rest
Her refusal to feel entirely satisfied with her output, even in the face of widespread acclaim, reflected her conviction that the artist “evolves through conscious effort.” This conscious evolution became strikingly apparent in the early 1940s, when her famously vibrant, swirling colors and thick, granular strokes gave way to a subdued monochrome. Thereafter followed paintings in shades of ocean blues and earthy island sepias on linen. 

Madge's prolific output spanned paintings, drawing and sculpture. Her reverent fascination with Hawaiian women inspired her sweeping aesthetic quest that would culminate in her iconic signature style, resulting in enormous paintings of voluptuous female figures of brilliant, swirling hues morphing into graceful, harmonious compositions.

A prominent figure on the international circuit, she exhibited to critical and popular acclaim around the world. At the time of her death, many critics considered her the most important individual contributor to Hawaiian art in the 20th century

In 2005, Hawai'i Preparatory Academy (which Karen's two children attend) was chosen by the Trustees of the Tennent Art Foundation, founded in 1954 by Madge Tennent herself, to become the caretaker of the collection. You can be sure I will go back many times to bask in this glorious collection- which is the largest of Madge's works anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017



Calley O'Neill (Hawaii)

It is no coincidence that the monastery's patron saint of the year is Saint Marianne (Cope) of Molokai, since I once again find myself in this glorious paradise, where I will spend 2 mo. of water PT staving off back surgery. I will focus on history, news, etc. of the Big island of Hawaii.

Our first artist is a local,  who did the windows in the Annunciation Church where we go to Mass. This Madonna and Child is in the small side Eucharistic chapel, where I daily receive the Eucharist.

Calley O'Neill graduated from the Pratt Institute (NY) Summa Cum Laude, getting her Master's at Goddard College (Vt), where I got my Master's. She considers herself an ethno-visionary artist, whose themes are indigenous cultures, which have become vulnerable, through politics or mismanagement of natural resources.

Endangrered Frog
She was inspired by Frances Moore Lappe's “Diet for a Small Plant” (which had a profound impact on many of us in the 70s). It made her aware of the world's plight, especially hunger. She decided to dedicate her art to making affluent countries aware of vulnerable peoples and endangered animals across the globe, while at the same time offering hope for the future.

She is also noted for her murals in public 
places throughout the islands.

Mural of the Annunciation

Friday, December 30, 2016


Saincilus Ismael-  Haiti
All through the Christmas season, we find cultural differences in the art for this joyous and grace-filled  time.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Saincilus Ismael was born in Petite Riviere de l’Artibonite, Haiti in 1940. He was educated by the Friars of St. Mark and at Antenor Fermin High School

 Ismaël led a full and rich life. An agonomist as well as an artist, he was also a political activist. He spent seven years in prison for opposing the Duvaliers, Papa and Baby Doc. Even so, thanks to the popularity of his art, he died a relatively wealthy man by the standards of his homeland: his estate included a Volkswagen.

   The artist spent most of his creative life in Deschapelles as director of an art center associated with an American medical and religious mission. He trained scores of students and exerted a powerful influence on artists working in the 'Artibonite style,' two features of which are elaborately decorated clothing and backgrounds.

   Ismaël has been exhibited worldwide and appears in most surveys of Haitian art published since the 1970s
He was closely associated with Doctor and Mrs. Mellon at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles where he supervised the Ceramics Center. Ismael developed a style that was instantly recognizable, scenes of Haitian peasant life rendered with the intricacy and precision of a Byzantine icon. In an Ismael painting, every garment of a subject's clothing would be a different geometric pattern, as would the houses and the trees.  It is said in Haiti that Ismael's output grew tenfold after his death. 

Gebre Merha was born and raised in the ancient holy city and former imperial capital of Axum (Aksum).  He learned iconography in the traditional manner, passed down for generations in his family of distinguished artists.  He now lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

His family provides him with wood for his carvings and paintings from the mountains surrounding Axum, where the trees are still felled by hand-axe. His icons are painted in glue-based distemper paint and acrylic on un-gessoed wood.  In addition to traditional icons, Gebre paints African designs in acrylic

An almost shocking piece of art, is Louis Kahan's
Flight, with its modern escape from what looks like a city in ruins  (representing our present age?) with the protective Joseph at the wheel of a jalopy. Mary is in the back with the Child, protecting Him.  On top of the vehicle are a saw and hammer (to show Joseph's trade) a spinning wheel, and various pieces of luggage.  The car is obviously breaking through barbed wire, which symbolizes (?) the tyranny under which they are escaping.  It is a bold work of art, very expressive for our day and age.

Louis Kahan (1905- 2002) was an Austrian-born Australian artist whose long career included fashion design, illustration for magazines and journals, painting, printmaking and drawing. He is represented in most major collections in Australia as well as in Europe and USA. He won the Archibald Prize in 1962 with a portrait of Patrick White. 

He enlisted in the French Foreign Legion in 1939 and was sent to Algeria, North Africa as a war artist, although he had never received any formal art training. He had an exhibition at Oran in 1942. He was a voluntary artist for the Red Cross between 1943 and 1945. During this time, photography of soldiers was not permitted. Louis made over 2,000 drawings of wounded soldiers being cared for in the hospital at Oran and these were v-mailed (an early form of microfilm) to the families of soldiers. When he found that the originals were being destroyed after transmission Louis began to save them and over 300 were later given by him to the Red Cross Museum in Washington, USA.   

In his paintings, prints and drawings Louis explored many interests and themes, including dreams, death, and his own life. Childhood games, portraits and nudes were ongoing subjects. Symbolism particularly characterizes his later works. Later, dreamlike prints and paintings often show his tools of the trade: palette, brushes, tailor's scissors and tape. These represent a kind of metaphorical self-portrait and life history.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Sarah Hempel Irani- USA

Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey
Pecos, New Mexico
“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more”.
(Jer. 31:15)

Today we have the feast of the HOLY INNOCENTS, a disturbing incident in salvation history. It is as if the Lord wants to remind us that even in the midst of rejoicing there can be sorrow. In our time the slaughter of innocents goes on through abortion and war. At this holy time, our prayer must be for all who perish due to sin and ignorance.