Nancy’s childhood memories of nature 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, she experienced spirituality and simply understood the joy of discovering 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/Cote began writing and illustrating children’s books. Nancy’s books, poems, and paintings have earned numerous awards and have been exhibited throughout the U.S and in Europe. Her resume includes teaching children’s book illustration in the C.E. program at Rhode Island School of Design.
She studied with renowned artist, Brother Micky McGrath during the summer of 2018 at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.
Marek’s current exhibit of the Saints connects the many strands of both her personal and professional endeavors in a growing collection of work. 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 these extraordinary individuals on their own faith journeys.
She works from a home studio in the historic village of Somerset, MA, as well as in a studio at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River.
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.
One of the most loved saints in history, Francis gave up a life of luxury for a life devoted to Christianity. He was inspired to live a life of poverty and founded the Franciscan order. His brotherhood with the world and profound love of all of God’s creation led to his writing of the Canticle of the Sun.
A devout but poor Spanish farm worker who spent countless hours absorbed in prayer, Isidore 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.
Servant of God, Sister Thea Bowman pioneered the rights of African Americans in the Catholic church. She worked for social justice and racial equality among all people. The granddaughter of slaves, she fought racial prejudice and made major contributions to the ministry of the Catholic Church as a teacher, musician, liturgist and scholar.
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.”
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.
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…”
Founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order)His life as a valiant soldiers 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.
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.
A Chinese physician who tirelessly served the poor. He developed stomach issues in his 30’s and treated himself with one of the common medicines of that time, opium. He became addicted to the drug, which became his lifelong struggle. Still, Ji maintained his very strong faith, spending time in prayer, and attending daily mass. Because of his addiction, Ji was denied the sacraments, yet he remained faithful and continued to attend daily mass. He died a martyr, during the anti-Christian persecutions of the Boxer Rebellion.
This original painting was created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Ordination of Fr. John Murray, Pastor of St. Mary's, Our Lady of the Isle. Limited prints available.
A Dominican friar, mystic, theologian, and philosopher who was considered one of the greatest minds in the history of the Church and is best known for his works on the integration of faith and reason. He addressed philosophical problems, including the question of God's existence, and the relationship between reason and faith.
Father Damien devoted his life to missionary work among the lepers of Hawaii bringing hope, consolation, and encouragement to those who were exiled on the island of Molokai. He built a community for the hopeless as he doctored their bodies and souls until he also contracted the disease.
Born into slavery, Augustus Tolton escaped to freedom with his mother and siblings, crossing the Mississippi River from Missouri to Illinois in a rowboat. With great faith, hope, and love he pursued his education and endured as a pioneer despite hostility, harassment, and discrimination. Eventually, he was ordained the first African-American priest in the U.S. Catholic Church.
Worked tirelessly in the Amazon Basin of Brazil on behalf of the rural poor and the environment defending the rainforest from depletion and deforestation by agriculture. Sr. Dorothy was assassinated by criminal gangs who worked for wealthy ranchers exploiting the land. She was referred to as the "Angel of the Amazon."
Before the age of 25, St. Columbkille had founded twenty-seven monasteries as well as established forty churches in Ireland. One of the three great saints of Ireland, he established the first mission to bring Christianity to Scotland along with twelve companions, and was known as the “church’s dove.” A gifted man of many talents, St. Columbkille wrote poetry, music, and illuminated manuscripts.
Saint Cecilia’s Parish in Boston, MA is honored to host the art exhibit, Saints, by noted artist Nancy Marek Cote. This body of work provides a fresh perspective on some of the most well-known and beloved friends of God, including the debut of Nancy's newest work featuring Servant of God Thea Bowman. Nancy’s paintings portray the lives of the saints in a new and modern way that is both whimsical and joyful. Her unique style captures the spirit of these men and women—our patrons and companions—in a delightful way that communicates their relationship with God.
2022- St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Isle Church, Nantucket, MA
2023 - Sacred Heart School, Warner Robbins, Georgia - Artist-in-Residence
The work of Nancy Marek Cote modernizes the life of the saints in a most inspiring way. 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.