Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Earlier this month we did a Blog on Sister Mary Jean Dorcy  and mentioned her "disciple" Dan Paulos who carried on her work and has gone beyond her giftedness in his art. His great devotion to the Blessed Mother is evident in his work, so I thought it a good way to end this month devoted to her.

DANIEL THOMAS PAULOS is a master. He was introduced to the cut paper or silhouette art form in grade school, and later studied the secrets of the art of papercutting under the famed Sister Mary Jean. "It took him less than two years to accomplish what it took me thirty to do," she once said.

He was born in 1949 in Iowa to a large Greek-Italian family. As a young boy in Catholic school, he
became intrigued by the artistic cuttings of Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy. At her prodding, he learned the art of serigraphy (a print made by the silk-screen process) and began producing hand-pulled serigraphs of her favorite silhouettes, as well as his own.  Papercutting in religious art goes back to the sixteenth century, but has been almost a lost art in our more modern centuries.

Mary the Servant

The persistence of Sister Mary Jean drove Dan to restrict his paper-cuttings to spiritual imagery, concentrating mostly on the healing power of motherhood. “I think the role of the Catholic artist may be, in a quiet way, to convert a person, not so much to Catholicism, but to love of God and his mother,” he has said.  Dan works mainly with images of the Blessed Virgin, Christ, and the Holy Family, though in recent years we see more saints. His artistic rendering of Mary expresses not only delicacy and joy, but focuses also on Our Lady's strength of presence and her spiritual power.

Our Lady of Auschwitz
Dan also  gives us new images of old favorites such as "Our Lady of Perpetual Help," "Lourdes," or "Our Lady of Guadalupe." He gives a stirringly personal touch to the "Our Lady of Auschwitz" and the "Apache Madonna." (two of my favorites)

Apache Madonna

Dan, who lives in Albuquerque, N.M., says he is married to his career. “I work from when I get up until I go to bed. God has been good to me, and has given me very good projects on which to work.” 

About 90 percent of Dan’s original cuttings have been gifts to museums, churches and friends in many places throughout the world. His originals are hung in museums, not only in United States and Canada, but Europe, South America, and Japan.

Through his art Dan speaks of the strength of the Mary as our mother and protector, the  compassionate woman of the Magnificat. His "Paper Madonnas" tickle our consciences, prompting us "to go out and see what we can do to help raze bigotry, selfishness and fear." And this is how Dan Paulos understands his mission in life: "to create for the glory of God.”  He is noted for his generous heart. One artist said: I know he will tirelessly devote himself to helping another artist, without, envy, selfishness, or expecting a return on his time and effort.

Bl. Mother Teresa
St. Bernadette

His book, "Behold The Women,"  describes the  contribution made by Catholic nuns to our world. It is filled with moving testimonials, wonderful pictures and sincere recollections by many notable people. All proceeds benefit the work of St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art.

More of his lovely art can be seen at:TRINITY.COM

Dan Paulos

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