Palettes of Prayer

Creative pursuits of all types allow us to express thoughts and feelings that can sometimes be difficult to put into words. Color, form, texture or sound can take us to a place beyond language as we continually seek transcendent experiences that elevate, challenge and inspire.

Many Sisters of the Precious Blood make art and crafts, and while the forms of their creations vary widely — carving, painting, quilting, singing and many more — they share in common a means of communion with others, and a way to reflect the beauty of God.

In our journey to holiness, our growth into the fullness of our capacity to image God, beauty is important. Beauty is a connector to God, something that, when we notice it, makes us pause and experience a moment of wonder. And wonder is human intuition that there is something beyond ourselves, beyond our understanding that we call the Holy Mystery. And so beauty, which produces wonder, leads us into reverence of and union with this Holy Mystery.

Philosophers call beauty, truth and the good “transcendentals” — objective properties of all that exists, constants that persist throughout the varieties of cultures, religions, personal ideologies. But beauty has a specialness to it. Beauty brings pleasure to us. It touches our senses — our sight, our smell, our touch, our hearing — perhaps more than one of them at the same time; it also satisfies or pleasures our understanding because proportionality and relationship to other things are also qualities of beauty. Lately we have been seeing the amazing photos, taken by the Webb telescope, of the universe. Scientists have been impressed all over again, not just at the universe’s immensity, complexity and its age, but by its beauty. We are part of that beauty; the properties that lead us to call something beautiful are in us, and we have the capacity to perceive and receive beauty. Doing art is, for me, a way of being together with beauty, and connecting with the source of it all.

Story by Sister Mary Garascia; Mary Knapke photos

Top, Sister Mary enjoys painting watercolors. The painting in this photo depicts Mission San Luis Rey in California where many of the Sisters served over the years at our high school academy next door; middle, “Hemlock, Michigan farm,” not far from the church where she was pastoral administrator; bottom, “Feeding Frenzy,” a composition from several koi photos she took.

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