Ecce Mater Tua: Behold Thy Mother

An Exhibition of Marian Art from the Collection of the St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art, Albuquerque, New Mexico, curated by Daniel Thomas Paulos.

Exhibited at the Marian Library: April 7 - May 30, 1997

This Exhibit is curated by Daniel Thomas Paulos, an artist in his own right, and the owner of the collection at the St. Bernadette Institute of Sacred Art in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

St. Bernadette Institute was established in 1993, out of an ever- growing need to encourage artists to carry on the centuries-old tradition of creating sacred imageries. In this secularistic world, the Institute aspires to promote, encourage, and one day, financially support religious art and artists - all for the glory of God.

[Mary's Easter, Paper Cutting by Sr Mary Jean
Mary's Easter
by Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy, O.P.

[Mother and Child, casein by a Japanese Carmelite
Nun ]
Mother and Child

by a Japanese Carmelite Nun
For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church subsidized artists who portrayed the spiritual - the unseen. Theirs was considered one of the highest vocations; such artists flourished - especially during the Renaissance.

Pope John Paul II recently stated: "Artists have indeed a very noble contribution to make in building the civilization of man and in promoting the Kingdom of God on earth." God's Kingdom has many paths; it is the duty and privilege of the Church's artists to design the maps which will direct the Faithful to the Almighty.

Today there are too few artists who dare to create strictly sacred art. Commercial galleries simply refuse to handle the art of spirituality, asserting that such art is not marketable. Still, the United States is extremely blessed with a healthy number of artists who are braving the tides of secularism, hoping to produce an entirely new wave of sacred imageries for today. If we fail to encourage religious artists to maintain reverence in their work, we jeopardize contemporary, spiritual art. We cannot allow our traditional art forms to become merely decorative.

The life of any artist is not happy, easy or stable. On the contrary, an artist's life is often tumultuous, due to the lack of patrons and art buyers. Sadly, realistically speaking, most artists of the holy are forced to work two or even three jobs in order to sustain themselves. Still, they find the spiritual and physical stamina to create works of power and beauty - even amid times of mental exhaustion. This is what separates secular from sacred artists. This is where "grace of vocation" enters in.

[Throne of God, Paper Cutting by Dan Paulos]
Throne of God

by Dan Paulos

A calling to the profession of sacred artistry is a direct invitation: the voice of God beckons one to serve. This summons is an endowment from the Almighty. The artist's Fiat is a lasting gift to and for the world's populace. Not all who are called endure the demanding trials. The artists who do succeed, and devote themselves to the execution of holy art, tend to share the good fortune of living in resemblance to other contemplatives in the Church. For it is only through silence that artists can create from inspiration. Only through silence can they hear, feel, breathe the Word of God - and illuminate it.

The French author, Father Andre Doze, one of the chaplains in Lourdes, has utmost respect for artists who are able to translate the unseen. "They obviously do not seek the 'next' world, but rather the 'other' world." He goes on to say that the "other" world is right here in our midst. "It can be found," he says, "only through silence. When artists run out of words to say, when they run out of ideas to paint, they should remain quiet! They should not allow themselves to make decisions on what to say, what to paint. This is God's work."

St. Bernadette Institute is important to today's Church because of the vocations it will foster. It is the Institute's obligation, then, to offer these artists spontaneous contemplation, which will allow their spirits to soar above the level of everyday worries, temptations, and aggravations - pointing them in the direction of the true values of their important calling.

Artists who deal with "the sacred" realize, early on, the difficulty of their mission. They are called to be leaders and peacemakers, often forced to take on the role of teacher. Vatican Council II put it well: "Very rightly, the fine arts are considered to rank among the noblest expressions of human genius. This judgement applies especially to religious art and to its highest achievement, which is sacred art. By their very nature both of the latter are related to God's boundless beauty, for this is the reality which these human efforts are trying to express in some way. To the extent that these works aim exclusively at turning men's thoughts to God, persuasively and devoutly, they are dedicated to God and to the cause of his greater honor and glory." (Sacrosanctum concilium, 122)


Marian Cross by Paula Rodriguez
straw inlay, 7 1/2" x 12"

Mother and Child by a Japanese Carmelite Nun
casein, 15" x 18 1/2" [shown above]

Our Lady of Lourdes by Gaudalupita Ortiz
acrylic, 11 1/2" x 21"

American Folk Art Creche by Claudia Hopf
laser-cutting, 12" x 13"

Eleventh Hour by Anne Simoneau
acrylic, 15 1/2" x 18 1/2"

Mystical Rose by Virginia Broderick
stone litho, 20" x 22"

German Creche by Gertrud Richter
paper-cutting, 12 1/2" x 13"

Our Lady of the Chair by Brother Placid, O.S.B.
casein, 17" x 25 1/2"

Ave Maris Stella by Fr. William McNichols
colored pencil, 12 1/2" x 16"

Mother and Child by Gerald Bonnette
bronze, 9 1/2" x 11 1/2"

Mary at Work by Robert McGovern
woodcut, 14 1/2" x 17"

Serenity by Ted DeGrazia
collector's print, 17 1/2" x 28"

Guadalupe's Altarpiece by Jose de Alzibar
collector's print, 22 1/2" x 25"

Throne of Wisdom by Harry Breen
offset print, 20 1/2" x 35"

Madonna and Child by Franz Ittenbach
offset print, 17" x 29"

St. Bernadette of Nevers and Our Lady of Lourdes by Virginia Broderick
acrylic, 16 1/2" x 25"

Mother and Child by a Japanese Carmelite Nun
casein, 15" x 18 1/2"

Mother and Child by R.C. Gorman
offset print, 24 1/2" x 30"

Madonna of the Grotto after the art of Karl Muller
parian porcelain, 14" x 17 1/2"

Flight into Egypt by Brother Placid, O.S.B.
woodcut, 21" x 24"

Madonna of the West by Goyo Sabbath Seegar
cibachrome photograph, 18 1/2" x 22 1/2"

Mary's Easter by Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy, O.P.
serigraph, 21" x 25 1/2" [shown above]

Throne of God by Daniel Thomas Paulos
serigraph, 17" x 21" [shown above]

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