By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN A series of eight watercolor paintings titled “Like Us in All Things,” created by a Dominican nun, Sr. Marie Vianney Hamilton, have been donated to St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted.
Each of the paintings show Jesus at different stages in his life. The series was made about 10 years ago when Pope John Paul II asked the artists of the world to come up with depictions of Jesus that would appeal to people today.
To work on the project, Hamilton asked for a two-year leave from St. Cecilia Congregation of Dominican Sisters in Nashville, TN, where she had professed her perpetual vows in 1957.
When the series was completed, there were eight paintings: “Like Us in Childhood,” “Like Us in Learning,” “Like Us at Labor,” “Like Us at Rest,” “Like Us in Serving,” “Like Us in Sustenance,” “Like Us in Sorrow,” and “Like Us In Joy.”
Hamilton received her master’s degree in art education from the University of Memphis in 1984, and has studied privately and in workshop settings with some of America’s greatest watercolorists, according to the Christian Brothers University Art Gallery website.
She was an art teacher at the St. Cecilia Congregation of Dominican Sisters in Nashville, TN, and has exhibited her art in various galleries in the Memphis area.
According to the Christian Brothers University Art Gallery website, Hamilton’s aim as an artist is to give her paintings a spiritual quality that reflects, through her use of color and light, the Creator Himself.
She is known for her Christian Heritage Art Program which has been used in schools in both the United States and Canada. In 1990, she received the Houston International Film Festival Bronze Award for education multimedia for the program.
The program is a complete curriculum for teaching the history of Christian art to children in Catholic grade and high schools.
It was through this program that she met St. Mary’s chaplain Fr. Eugene Brown.
Brown was working in New Rochelle, NY for the Salesians who were publishing Sister’s Christian Heritage Art Program when they met. Brown flew to Memphis to help her with the photography portion of the project and later, he edited the textbooks which accompany the DVDs that contain the entire program.
Calling Brown her editor, Hamilton said she sent the paintings to him in appreciation for all of the help he has given her in the past.
Hamilton said her two favorites in the series are “Like Us in Learning” and “Like Us in Childhood.”
Today, Hamilton remains at St. Cecilia Motherhouse in Nashville, where she continues to paint.
Brown is hoping that people will stop by St. Mary’s and see the paintings, calling them “outstanding.”
They have been framed and matted by Mike Laxen of Winsted; and St. Mary’s Auxiliary and others have made contributions to cover the cost.
The series has been hung together in the hall south of the nurses station, going toward the chapel lounge.
When the renovation to St. Mary’s is complete at the end of March, the plan is to hang the paintings in the new area, where people can see them.
The paintings have been hung so that visitors and residents may go from one to the other, stop and study it, and move on to the next.
Brown is planning to print a small pamphlet with an appropriate scripture passage to be read and a prayer to be said at each painting.
“This is a wonderful addition to St. Mary’s and an opportunity for reflection on how Jesus’ life was very much like our own, and a learning tool as well,” Brown said.