I was a participant in the St. Joseph Health System Pilgrimage 2009 in France. This painting is a story of the French sisters and the journey we as pilgrims made in the spring of 2009 to discover the history of the sisters and in so doing reveal more about ourselves. The route of the pilgrims was an intertwining tale of relationship and connection, a pathway filled with walls and turrets, mountains to climb, bridges to cross, villages through which to meander, and lush fields to pass by. We as pilgrims were fortified by the good words of Father Medaille and the call to prayer by Mother St. John Fontbonne as we each sought our inner spirituality.
The richness of 350 years of history becomes a montage in this painting as I was inspired by:
- The 13th century walls of Carcassone, birthplace of Father Medaille.
- The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Le Puy.
- The Chapel of St. Regis.
- Fourviere, the Cathedral at Lyons.
- The two mountains in Le Puy-en-Velay, the Chapel of St. Michaeland the Statue of the Virgin.
- The rosary beads that remain by the bedside of Mother St. John Fontbonne, and the cemetery where she is buried.
- The International Center in Le Puy.
- Candles to commemorate the first 6 sisters of the Congregation-Claudia Chastel, Francoise Eyraud, Marguerite Burdier, Anna Chalayer, Anna Brun, and Anna Vey-plus Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille and Bishop Henri de Maupas.
- Lace making of Le Puy.
- Water reminiscent of the spring at Lourdes.
- Fields of rape seed, vineyards, and small villages dotting the French countryside.
- Father Medaille’s message of love.
On a personal note, my husband has been part of the St. Joseph Health System first as a staff physician and later as an administrator for the past 30 years. Joining him on this pilgrimage gave me a deeper understanding of the real meaning of the work he and others in the health system do on a daily basis. I knew right away that I wanted to express my pilgrimage experience through a painting in which I would respond to the places I visited and the words that I heard during the week. Buried beneath the beauty of the French countryside and quaint villages was the real story of the beginning of the Sisters and how they lived in a dramatically different world in 1650 than the France of today. The brilliant colors of France and the places we visited, each with a special meaning, remained with me when I returned home. So, together with my memories and some sketches during the week – and hundreds of my husband’s photographs, I have re-traced my trip in oil paint. We spoke of Sacred Encounters on the Pilgrimage – and to me, the intimate space that I enter when I paint is my own Sacred Encounter. I have tried to let the joy, love, and hope I felt during the pilgrimage emanate in this work of art.
Prints are available in two different options by contacting Barbara:
18 X 24” A PILGRIM’S JOURNEY
Signed, limited edition of 99,
giclee´print on canvas.
Price: $135 + tax and shipping
18x24” “PILGRIM’S JOURNEY
Signed, limited edition of 99,
giclee' "gallery wrap" canvas print with mirrored borders ready for hanging.
Price: $285 + tax and shipping