“One in the Body of Christ” depicts the namesakes of the four founding parishes of All Saints Academy: with the Blessed Sacrament centrally placed, and Saints Jude, Isidore, and Alphonsus adoring on the left and right. A depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Perpetual Help is compositionally seated at the left side of the Eucharistic Presence, corresponding to the position of the infant Jesus in the original Byzantine icon, and analogous to her position at Jesus’ right side during the Crucifixion. This particular image of Mary was chosen for its significance to the local Parish of St. Alphonsus, where the icon is specially venerated by the Redemptorists Congregation of the Catholic Church. Eight other Saints are depicted in Adoration on the left and right, with an overall equal presence of male and female Saints from all centuries of the Church’s history. Each Saint was chosen by All Saints Academy as dedicated exemplars of ASA’s Vision as a Catholic School under the categories of Faith, Learning, Loving, and Serving. Aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary and founding Parish Saints, these exemplary Saints are depicted left to right in historical chronology:
St. Cecilia - Music and the Arts
St. Sebastian - Military and Athletics
St. Albert the Great - Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)
St. Joan of Arc - Defense of the Faith
St. Juan Diego - American Evangelization
St. Kateri Tekakwitha - Stewardship of Nature
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - Catholic Education
St. Teresa of Calcutta - Charitable Service
Most Reverend David Walkowiak, Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids blessed the finished 5x12’ mural entitled “One in the Body of Christ” on April 13th after 8:30AM Mass at St. Jude’s, adjacent to All Saints Academy’s Middle School campus where the work will be installed (the Diocese published a blog post with photos of the blessing).
In retrospect I was struck by a quiet moment with the painting at the close of the project. I felt like a vessel. I felt like God worked through my talents. I’m humbled by this. Feelings of inadequacy and awe simultaneously arise in me when I consider the idea of God working through me, and I hope this is the way it will be with all my future projects.