Michael O'Neill McGrath : A Great Artist

Link from this week's America Magazine is this great mp3 recording of Michael O'Neill McGrath, O.S.F.S., widely known as simply "Brother Mickey," 

He talks about his vocation as a painter, what inspires him and and some of his notable works over the years, including "Christ the Teacher", shown below which was recently presented to Pope Benedict XVI. 



and click here for slideshow of selections from Brother Mickey's work here .


Here is a transcript of an interview with Michael

and below a couple more of his images with a quote from Francis de Sales who has greatly influenced his spirituality.













In the recording he mentions The Windsock Visitation is one of his favourite images of a gentle presence in a violent world so here it is below:




This image of the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth was commissioned for the Monastery of the Visitation in north Minneapolis, a group of monastic sisters. 

In what has become a well-known neighbourhood tradition, the sisters hang a windsock outside their house every other day of the week as a signal to the neighborhood children that they can come in and enjoy after-school activities. They read and paint. 

They pray and have fun. The sisters celebrate birthdays with the kids and walk through hard times with them as well. The spirit of the first Visitation, where Jesus was so lovingly shared between two kinswomen, is very much alive in their work today and is the inspiration for this painting.

Mary, dressed in gold because she is the woman clothed with the sun, also wears a cape with green stars and blue crosses, which symbolize Bethlehem and Calvary. She is a little fearful of the news she has recently received herself, that she was pregnant with God’s child. But Luke tells us that she put her fears aside to be with her cousin Elizabeth and help her in her own miraculous pregnancy. Elizabeth’s bright and welcoming smile assures Mary, and us, that in God’s plans, everything always works out for the best. 

The tops of their halos form a heart which meets at the bottom in the wombs of the two women. 

The fluttering windsock behind them reminds us of the wind of the Holy Spirit, ever fresh, ever new.

2 comments:

Fran said...

Oh I love Bro. Mickey! A few months ago we put some of his art into the church where I work. He will come give a talk there in March, I can't wait!

Philomena Ewing said...

Thanks Fran. Lucky you on both counts! He sounds great on the recording; someone I could learn a lot from. His work is beautifully fresh and inspiring.