Saturday, September 22, 2018


One of the fun aspects of doing research for this Blog, is finding information on  totally unrelated  searches to the initial research.  In these weeks of unrest in our Church  I found this inspiring story of a very talented nun, who can give us courage in our old age! Also she belongs to a community dedicated to continuous adoration of the Eucharist where the nuns pray 24/7. Their ministry continues unbroken since 1921, when the order arrived in Cleveland.

MOTHER MARY THOMAS is a nun of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland, Ohio. She and her sisters live in the monastery connected to the Conversion of St. Paul Shrine.

Mother Mary  began painting in high school in Appleton, Wisconsin. She then studied  at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Instituto Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, and the Duanto Alighiere School in Rome.  It was during her time in Rome  that she felt the call to the religious life.       

“I was attending the Easter Vigil Mass in the Crypt Church at St. Peter’s. Things changed when I received Holy Communion. I felt a strong religious calling connected to devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.” Mother Mary says she experienced an indescribable joy the instant she received Communion. “I felt the Lord’s presence. He just overtook my life. It was as though my whole life’s work was shown to me then.”

She resolved to devote her life to the Eucharist. When an American priest lent her a directory of religious communities in the United States, she discovered the Franciscan Nuns of the Blessed Sacrament, the former name of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (whose most famous nun is Mother Angelica of EWTN fame). The artist entered the order’s monastery near downtown Cleveland in November 1959.
Mother  Mary did not miss her art during the 14 years that followed. She embraced contemplative life, its ascetic lifestyle and her duties within the cloister.

Then, one year, her community celebrated their superior’s feast day with a display of their individual arts and crafts. For the occasion, Mother Mary sketched a stained-glass window depicting the Holy Trinity. Afterwards, her superior asked her to prepare a portfolio. Ever since then, she helps support the monastery by executing commissioned works and with paintings auctioned at an annual fundraiser.
For the past decade, the 84-year-old nun estimates she spends about five hours daily, mostly working alone.  She works in a chapel on an upper floor in a non-cloistered area of the shrine building, just east of downtown Cleveland

Mother Marey says she hopes that her art can help people find God and connect more with their faith. “People are really searching today. They need God and are looking for Him. Eternal life means so much. Once you start examining Christian themes and the mysteries of our faith, trying to express those eternal values and truth is the highest form of art you can do,” she adds, noting that sometimes an icon or a work of art can help people understand the mysteries of faith.

"Jesus belongs to all of us. His love is for each and every one of us exclusively and permanently. 

Her painting style is reminiscent of the Mexican muralist movement (she studied under famed Mexican Muralist David Siquieros)  in which she uses  vibrant colors and strong line and shape.  She also does stained glass windows and designs vestments.  

She certainly is an inspiration to all who think their waning years to be fruitless. Not only in her art, but in her love of the Lord does she give us hope.

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