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.
Kolbe’s was a surprisingly difficult face to paint, with all its subtle slopes and planes, and many many hours went into this painting. But how could I expect any less than the grace to grow in perseverance when I am painting the image of a man who persisted in spreading the gospel in the midst of war, despite persecution and beatings, who willingly gave his life for a stranger, and even at the last, though he was starving, continued to praise God?
I was young the day that JPII died, but I remember vividly the feeling of loss, as though a dear friend had passed away. Of course I never actually met Pope Saint John Paul II, but when I was inspired to begin painting a series of saints his was the first image I chose. Only now do I realize why: one of his greatest messages was the call for this generation to a New Evangelization. I am this generation, and this is but one small I way I can share Beauty and Truth with the world.
I painted this image the day I found out I was expecting our first daughter. We were newly married and she was a surprise—”unexpected”, as it were. I found great consolation from Our Lady as I went through the intense and incredible journey of preparing for motherhood, knowing that she, too, experienced an unplanned pregnancy. Though unexpected, our little Clara Marian was totally meant to be!