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Beauty’s where you find it

In only its second year, the art exhibit featuring sisters and priests has become the favorite of Sister Glynis Mary McManamon, RGS, at Good Shepherd Gallery in Ferguson.

And it already has doubled in number of artists, from just seven last year to 15 for the show Sunday, May 7, through Thursday, May 25, at the gallery in Ferguson.

With the theme, "Beauty Will Save the World," the annual exhibit will feature 13 religious sisters and two priests from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, with eight artists joining seven returning from the "Laudato Si'" priest/religious show last year.

Sister Glynis anticipates continued growth of the artists' roster. If a sister or priest asks at the show this year about participating, "I'll answer like I did last year: 'Would you like to be in next year?'" she said, with a laugh.

Eight newcomers have answered in the affirmative: Sisters Jeanne Derer, FSM; Regina Kabayama, SSND; Sandra Krupp, ASCJ; Mary Joan Meyer, FSM; Gabriella Rogenski, CDP; Elizabeth Slenker, OP; and Joan Warner, DC; and Father Mark Dolan, the pastor of Our Lady of the Presentation Parish in Overland. Back from last year: St. Rose Philippine Duchesne pastor Father Thomas W. Wyrsch; and Sisters Corlita Bonnarens, RSM; Mary Beth Kemper, CPPS; Maria Liebeck, DC; Ann Francis Monedero, OSF; and Josephine Niemann, SSND; along with Sister Glynis. Sister Sharon O'Grady, RGS, will assist with curation.

On a recent day, Sister Glynis was planning the show, working with a scale-model of the gallery (1/2 inch = 1 foot) and plotting the best placements of the gallery's portable walls on wheels and, of course, for the artwork — paintings, photography, sculpture and more.

With the sisters/priest show, she's clearly in her element.

"This is the show I get most excited about, that I'm most invested in," she said, noting she has "a lot of conversation about it."

Conversations with returning artists and others led to the theme this year, which is a tagline for her art ministry: Fyodor Dostoevsky's quote, "Beauty will save the world." But the theme goes deeper than merely physical beauty, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI noted.

"People usually forget that Dostoyevsky is referring here to the redeeming Beauty of Christ," Pope Benedict wrote. "We must learn to see Him. If we know Him, not only in words, but if we are struck by the arrow of His paradoxical beauty, then we will know the genuine extreme beauty, the beauty that goes to the very end."

The pieces in the show consist of religious figures such as Jesus and Mary, people and nature — land, birds and flowers, all of which reveal "the ultimate beauty of God, the ultimate beauty of Christ, the beauty of universe," she said, adding that abstracts also are included "because abstracts convey spiritual experience that cannot be put into images or ... named."

Sister Jeanne has three paintings in show — young graduates in South Africa, a nursing mother in a Chinese worker's camp and a radiant iris.

"I hope my work reflects in some way the vast Beauty that surrounds us, captivates hearts and rings the bells of Hope, even in the midst of ordinariness, turmoil and tragedy," she wrote in her artist's statement. The works "speak to me of the enormous power of Beauty to move the heart and lift the spirit toward a possible, resilient, creative, life-giving future. Perhaps we need to turn to this great positive and creative power more than ever right now when so much is at stake globally."

Sister Jeanne and the other artists will be introduced midway through the opening reception, which runs 1-5 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at the gallery at 252 S. Florissant Road in Ferguson. 

>> "Beauty Will Save the World"

What • Art exhibit

When • Sunday, May 7 (1-5 p.m.) through Thursday, May 25

Where • Good Shepherd Gallery, 252 S. Florissant Road, Ferguson 63135

Who • Religious sisters and archdiocesan priests

Gallery hours • Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

More information • (314) 522-1155; rgsicons@yahoo.com 

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