Ministries: The Arts

Bernadette Crook, RSHM: Iconographer
Iconography has brought me much joy, peace and understanding, and I have been privileged to see my work in many churches and to mentor student iconographers in my studio in England. Since September 2003, I have been the coordinator of the "Ibillin Project--An Iconostasis for Peace." This enormous project has involved designing and painting an entire iconostasis for a Melkite Catholic Church in Galilee. In June 2011, I was in Galilee to complete the painting of the Pantocrater for the 27 metre high dome. I knew I could not climb the scaffold, so we devised a system where I painted the work in sections on the floor which were then raised and installed. The blessing and formal opening of the completed church is scheduled for November 2011. I have watched this project expand far beyond initial expectations into a link between Christians in the United Kingdom with those in the Holy Land. I have seen how the images were received and held in reverence by Arab Christians. I became aware of how our efforts are helping to support a Christian community in need of heroic spiritual strength and endurance. For more information on this project, you may consult two books I have written, Rooted in Galilee and The Ibillin Beatitude Icons: Meditations and Icons

Ines Gizzarelli, RSHM: A Reed for God's Voice
Through the years as an RSHM, I have come to think of my ministry as a cantor / musician as a "reed for God's voice." Music has been a valuable tool in all the ministries I have been involved in for expressing our faith and hope in a God who calls us day by day to live our the truth of our holiness. I have used this most valuable tool for evangelization with children and adults, at liturgies, Eucharistic celebrations and celebrations of sacraments and Jubilees. Recently, my ministry has included our retired and infirmed sisters at Marymount Convent in Tarrytown. It is always my hope and my desire that when we gather to pray, the music will enhance their experience of prayer and speak to their hearts and souls. I want them to feel supported and affirmed in their efforts to live out the truth of who we are called to be. In a world filled with so much turmoil, and in the lives of people we know who are dealing with painful situations, music can be a source of hope and light. I find that music and song give expression to the reality of life, its times of struggle, uncertainly, failure, illness and pain, as well as the glorious moments of our spiritual pilgrimage. I often pray that we will one day find ourselves in the open arms of a loving and compassionate God, and our song will be one of eternal praise and thanksgiving.    

Bianca Haglich, RSHM: The Weaving Center
As an artist, I have always been attracted to the fiber arts, particularly to weaving. Through weaving, I have had extraordinary opportunities to study and teach in the U.S. and abroad, in Finland and China. At present I operate the Weaving Center in Tarrytown, N.Y. I see art as a reflection of the creative activity of God. At the weaving center, we learn the many steps entailed in the process, as well as patience with our time consuming craft, and the ability to accept ourselves and our creations--all qualities also applicable to life. The Weaving Center is also a place of community. We learn from one another, support each other, enjoy stimulating discussions on a whole variety of topics, and share many aspects of our lives with each other.  Watch Sr. Bianca Haglich's video on our YouTube channel: RSHM Channel

Edith A. Hart, RSHM: Paper Conservator
The arts are part of our human, cultural heritage and are among the essential ways that humans express the realities of life and communicate with one another. My ministry is the conservation of works of art on paper--watercolors, pastels, prints, drawings in all media, and documents. The work that I receive comes from museums and galleries in New York City and occasionally from other parts of the country. We have a rich legacy of art from the ages because people like me have learned the necessary skills to extend the life of these works. The art I work with has great value because it comes from the hands of a recognized artist or historical time or is important to a particular family or person. Each object that I receive requires careful testing and reflection on a particular treatment approach. Constant, cautious attention to details is always required. It has been highly satisfying for me to provide a service that extends the life of given work of art on paper. It is also a joy to work with the people I meet in the museums and galleries, as well as the many private individuals that I encounter. Often it can appear that a “miracle” was performed when comparing the condition of a particular object before and after treatment. This brings me great joy and a sense of accomplishment. Watch Sr. Edith A. Hart's video on our YouTube channel: RSHM Channel

Virginia McNally, RSHM: Earthen Vessels Ceramic Studio
About eight years ago, I took an art therapy course. Having previously taught ceramics for nine years at Marymount College, this re-encounter with art released a buried craft-woman spirit in me. So now I am the instructor in a clay and pottery studio I set up in a converted section of the basement at Marymount Convent, Tarrytown, NY. This oldest bricked-in section of the building has become for those who gather there--religious and lay alike--an incredibly exciting studio, with potters wheels, kilns, various clays, glazes and molds, and tools galore. The work is wet, dirty, slow and difficult, but immensely satisfying. We produce quite wonderful pottery and sculpture. In addition, the group of us who gather there have become a wonderful, supportive community for one another, ministering to each other as we share our experiences, emotions, and insights with one another. Watch Sr. Virginia McNally's video on our YouTube channel: RSHM Channel

Catherine Minhoto, RSHM: Liturgical Musician

"There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is." (William P. Merrill) I have been gifted for over a decade to accompany as pianist a Spanish choir at weekly Sunday Eucharist. With the worshipping community, we are able in song to give a melodic focus to the liturgical readings, a focus which I believe deepens our people's faith and sensitivity to the moments of God's gracious power in their daily lives. My parish community is located in a poor, disenfranchised area of Los Angeles, one frequently plagued by poverty, urban decay, and gang violence. Music is the language of my heart and and has given me the space to hold this community and these people in my heart. I consider myself a better musician--pianist, guitarist, singer--because in this experience of difference in language, culture, and world view I have seen there "meeting places for grace to unfold." (2007 General Chapter)

Genevieve Underwood, RSHM: Stained Glass Artist
After teaching Studio Art for many years at Loyola Marymount University, Sr. Gen continued her work in stained glass until her retirement in 2006. Her magnificent works can be found in churches, hospitals and schools in the Southern California area. Sr. Gen learned the art of stained glass from nationally known artist Roger Darricarrere whom she met during her sabbatical in 1975. She has said of her art: "My challenge is not to imitate, but to recreate and abstract images into their very essence. Beauty of line and color alone are sufficient to produce a successful work of art. In my work, I try to create a spiritual ambience in sacred space with glorious color and dynamic line. My goal is to complement the liturgy and to create a visual celebration of praise." Sr. Gen's "The Annunciation" served as the inspiration for the color palette of our web site and is featured on the site.  

Catherine Vincie, RSHM: Musician
Music has always been a part of my life as I began piano lessons at six and continued with a degree in piano performance at the Mannes College of Music. Since that time, my ministry has led me to work with liturgical music in RSHM community, in parishes and in schools. I have also learned to play the organ and have served at several parishes as organist. My principal ministry is teaching liturgical studies at the Aquinas Institute of Theology, but my music continues to be an important element of my work with the school chapel services. For me, sung worship is the ideal form of corporate prayer, and I know from my own experience and from that of others that music expresses more of our prayer than mere words could ever do alone. While still not a reality, Roman Catholic worship is sung worship, and we are gradually moving in that direction with the liturgical reform. My hope would be that all worshiping communities would raise their voices in song to praise the living God.



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