I painted this for the man who is now my husband, back when we were still courting. It was a pivotal point in our relationship as we discovered that although I have a father whose faith is bold and charismatic—and that was very much what I was used to—my husband’s quiet strength is exactly what I need. He is like how I imagine St. Joseph must have been for Mary: often silent but never lacking in faith.
I was inspired for this painting during adoration at a weekend retreat. My original idea was to have a priest saying mass in a classroom, but it eventually evolved into this. I incorporated a lot of symbolism into this image that I am still unpacking to this day.
I’ve always loved Padre Pio for his bold personality and his intense devotion to God in the midst of great suffering. As a girl who tends to speak before she thinks, I feel as though I’ve found a kindred spirit in this man who allowed God to work through his nature to refine him—and thus for God to do incredible things.
For the longest time I believed I would become a sister, and in particular a Missionary of Charity. Something within me burned for a life of service to the poor, of humble but difficult work for the glory of God. Though it was not to be (God called me instead to the humble but difficult work of a mother), Mother Teresa remains a model of selflessness and quiet dignity for me. I hope I captured a glimpse of her beautiful soul with this painting.