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Wednesday 21 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Anselm of Canterbury

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

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