Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihi atawhai nui.
Images speak a thousand words. Art allows us to see through another’s eyes and an artist, whether with words or paint or, in this case, bronze, provides us with the opportunity to allow the artistic to speak to us, to put ourselves, our perspectives into the artist’s endeavours.
During my visit to Baggot Street, the home of the Mercy order, the gardens were being redesigned. As part of this redesign, Gael O’Leary, a NZ artist and former Sister of Mercy who used to teach here at Carmel, was commissioned to sculpt a bronze statue of Catherine McAuley (pictured on the left).
O’Leary has Catherine sitting on a bench. Her hand rests on the bench, inviting others to join her. Her face is turned towards this possible companion. The posture is invitational. Her prayer book is open on her lap, inviting us to share in her faith in God.
In O’Leary’s own words: in some ways it felt as if I was channelling Catherine, a woman of courage, infinite wisdom, and deep faith; a woman who had a kind heart and a listening ear. I felt she should be an inspiration and beacon of hope and comfort to all who come to sit beside her. The prayer book Catherine is holding indicates her communion with God. At the same time, it was important to show that she was a woman who was open to the needs of others.
Take time to pause, to sit a while, to allow God to speak to our hearts. We hear better when we are stilled.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ― Aristotle