Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 18 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Daudi Okelo and Bl. Jildo Irwa

Wow: You have to see what this cloistered nun has been up to…

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/16/17

She’s creating some exceptional art in a monastery in Cleveland.

A story from a couple years ago describes her remarkable gift:

Sister Mary Thomas spends hours daily on her knees in prayer. A 56-year member of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, the diminutive nun and her fellow sisters take turns praying 24/7 in a cloistered chapel at the Shrine of the Conversion of St. Paul in Cleveland, ensuring that the Blessed Sacrament is never alone. Their ministry continues unbroken since 1921, when the order arrived in Cleveland. But Sister has another, albeit unconventional, way of praying: through her art. An accomplished artist, she set her profession aside for several years after joining the convent to focus on deepening her faith and love of God. “But I was OK with it because I had a new life,” she says. For the past decade, the 82-year-old nun estimates she spent about five hours daily — mostly alone — working on her masterpiece, a 16-foot by 30-foot mural commissioned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and the Communion of Saints” is a labor of love and her largest creation. Sister works in a chapel on an upper floor in a non-cloistered area of the shrine building, just east of downtown Cleveland. The peaceful atmosphere belies the bustling Euclid Avenue below. Sunlight filters through stained glass windows onto the huge canvas tacked to the floor and large, bright work lights aid Sister as she deftly applies paint to the canvas with her left hand. Sister 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.

Read more.

Check out the video below. This is really something.

Photo: Lisa deJong / Cleveland Plain Dealer

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More