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Current Exhibit: Boston College November 1, 2022 - December 9, 2022 Featuring 19 works by Nancy Marek Cote, including the debut of a new work of Society of Jesus founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, which she created for the B.C. exhibit. SAINTS are on display in the O’Neil Library Reading Room. “The work of Nancy Marek Cote modernizes the life of the saints in a most inspiring way,” said Roche Center for Catholic Education Executive Director Melodie Wyttenbach, “While whimsical and joyful, these mixed-media paintings are creatively made. This artwork challenges us to consider how we as ordinary people are called to lead saintly lives.”

Born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts, Nancy Marek’s childhood memories of apartment living, unkept yards, abandoned chicken coops, lilac bushes, weeds, wildflowers and an overall obsession with nature, all served as an initial source of her endless fascination with sound, color, and image; the beginning of a blossoming love and appreciation of the world. In this context, Marek experienced spirituality and simply understood the joy of finding God through the freedom to explore and imagine. Upon completion of a BFA in painting and receiving the Excellence in Art award from UMASS Dartmouth, Marek began writing and illustrating children’s books. Her work has earned numerous awards and has been exhibited internationally. Marek’s resume includes teaching children’s book illustration in the C.E. Program at Rhode Island School of Design, the 2018 Jurors’ Award from the New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) exhibit at the Wedeman Gallery at Lasell College in Newton, MA., and most recently was chosen to participate in a week-long TENT Program 2019 for writers and illustrators at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA. In addition to her prolific work as an author/illustrator of children’s books and poems, Marek studied with renowned artist, Brother Micky McGrath during the summer of 2018 at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in a course entitled “Wise and Holy Women (and a few good men”). Whether working on a new picture book, painting or simply enjoying the beauty of all creation, Marek continues to explore and render subjects enabling all to think more deeply about the human/God experience. Marek’s current exhibit Saints (Canonized and Otherwise) connects the many strands of both her personal and professional endeavors in a collection of seventeen paintings, which in a unique style capture the person and moment of the presence and relationship with God. Her hope is that this exhibit will inspire women, men, and children of all ages and backgrounds to a heightened appreciation of the beauty, courage, and passion that led the seventeen on their own faith journeys.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spain

St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order)

His life as a valiant soldier was changed when injured by a cannonball in a battle at Pamplona in 1521.  During his recuperation, he found himself intrigued by the lives of the saints and was drawn to dedicating his life to God's service.  Aside from founding the Jesuits, one of his great contributions was the publication of his Spiritual Exercises, a manual devised for the spiritual formation of his followers.

Mary, mother of Jesus, Nazareth

Mary, the blessed mother of Jesus, was a first-century Galilean Jewish woman who gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem.  

Joseph (Giuseppe) of Cupertino, Italy

St. Joseph (Giuseppe) of Cupertino, Naples, Italy ( 1603-1663)

A simple man with extraordinary faith that resulted in levitation upon prayer. Giuseppe found great joy in tending to and caring for the animals at the Friary.

St. Martin de Porres, Lima Peru

St. Martin de Porres, Peru (1579-1639)

Born to an African slave and a Spanish nobleman, Martin became a lay brother of the Dominican Order. He is noted for his work on behalf of the poor where he established an orphanage and children’s hospital. His life reflected extraordinary gifts which included miraculous cures and a remarkable rapport with animals.

St. Francis of Assisi, Italy

St. Francis of Assisi, Italy (1182-1226)

One of the most loved saints in history, Francis gave up a life of luxury for a life devoted to Christianity. His brotherhood with the world and profound love of all of God’s creation led to his writing of the Canticle of the Sun.

St. Cecilia, Rome, Italy

St. Cecilia. (2nd or 3rd Century)

Cecilia who was born into a wealthy Roman family expressed her love of God through music. She converted to Christianity and devoted her life to providing proper burials to martyred Christians. Her ministry and devotion led to her martyrdom.

St. Isidore the farmer, Madrid Spain

 St. Isidore the Farmer, Madrid, Spain ( 1080-1130)

A devout but poor Spanish farm worker who spent countless hours absorbed in prayer, Isadore had a particular love and devotion to the poor as well as a great concern for the proper treatment of animals. Legend tells us that angels performed his chores in the fields while Isidore prayed.

Dorothy Day, United States

Dorothy Day, United States (1897-1980)

An American journalist, activist and tireless campaigner for social reform and alleviation of poverty. She was a co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. “ We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” This “Servant of God,” is hailed as “a saint for our times.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Tepeyac, Mexico

Also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe, the name refers to the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1531.

Oscar Romero, El Salvador

St. Oscar Romero, El Salvador (1917-1980)

Archbishop of San Salvador, who spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations and torture amid a growing war that destabilized much of Central America. Distinguished by his attention to the poor and marginalized, his life was taken as he delivered a sermon concerning the government’s repression and violation of human rights.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Native American

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Native American ( 1656-1680)

Born of a Mohawk Chief and Algonquin mother, Kateri was exiled from her native community after converting to Christianity. She was known for her steadfast devotion, becoming the first Native American to be beatified.

St. Josephine Bakhita, Darfur Sudan

 St. Josephine Bakhita, Darfur, Sudan (1869-1947)

Sold into slavery at the age of seven, Josephine endured a life of degradation and abuse. Despite her circumstances, she developed a widespread reputation for her immense love of God. “Seeing the sun, the moon, and the stars, I asked myself who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see Him, to know Him, and to pay Him homage…”

St. Patrick, Ireland

  St. Patrick of Ireland (385-461)

Patrick used the shamrock to teach the nature of the Holy Trinity. He was abducted by Irish raiders from his home in Roman Britain (Scotland) at age sixteen and carried into slavery. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Poland

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Poland (1894-1941)

A Polish Franciscan friar, Maximilian was active in the resistance to the Nazis during the German occupation and was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he volunteered to die in place of a stranger who pleaded for his life to be spared.

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, Belgium

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, Belgium (626-659)

Known for her generosity to the poor and the sick, she served as the convent’s superior and was especially hospitable to orphans, widowers and travelers seeking safe lodging, including cat’s, mice and all of Gods creatures in need.

St. Anthony of Padua, Italy

 St. Anthony of Padua, Italy (1195-1231)

Of Portuguese descent, Anthony joined the Franciscan order and was noted for his powerful preaching and expert knowledge of scripture. When his words fell on deaf ears, an audience of fish rose from the water to hear his sermon.

St. Lucy, Sicily Italy

St. Lucy of Sicily, Italy (283-304)

A Christian martyr during the Diocletian Persecution. Lucy was known to bring food to Christians in hiding while wearing a wreath of candles around her head to light the way in the dark.

St. Therese of Lisieux, France

 St. Therese of Lisieux, France (1873-1897)

Labeled “the little flower,” Therese found immense love of all things in her selfless and approachable path to faith and spirituality. “What is important is not doing great works, but doing little things with great love.”

Nano Nagle , Cork Ireland 1718-84 30"Hx40"W acrylic painting Known as "the Lady of the Lantern," Nano devoted her life to the poor. She was a pioneer of Catholic education and despite Penal Laws, established and operated seven Catholic schools for children in Cork, Ireland. She founded the Presentation Sisters Order who continue her mission around the world and was declared Venerable in 2013.