By: Casey Murano
These prayer paintings have developed steadily over the last few months, and are a visual meditation on our collective yearnings for new ways of being. As a result, daily encounters at my placement site, church, neighborhood, and intentional community as a St. Joseph Worker is as much a part of these paintings as the physical materials of water, pigment, and paper. Content from the Federation gathering also joins the painting, questions like how do we radically see one another with deep compassion and live into a feminist abolitionist framework grounded in our Catholic roots?
This painting started with a destructive act –ripping the paper into four equal squares. I prepare the surface by drawing with an Advent candle.
Then the porous paper (a gift from Sr. Ansgar Holmberg) awaits the creative dance of watercolors. Soon, swirling circles of dandelion yellow, earthy reds and electric blue (a Christmas gift from my mother) seep into the paper, and the boundaries of the circles blur into a pool of color. Ubuntu, the community of forms say. We are one another.
Because of the candle wax resist, some of the paper remains untouched by paint. But these seemingly empty, in-between spaces — and the margins, too — are places where the Spirit works, where new possibilities form. I honor them with the tip of my colored pencils.
After going through the transformative process of gathering this weekend, it’s time to repair the rip, the wound of separation. The tape rejoins the edges so they become a river that invites active currents to meet, a cross that unifies rather than divides, and an intersection that allows shared insights to congregate.
Creating these paintings is a process that mirrors the complex creative work we do in our communities, seeing God in one another and all of creation, so we may truly move towards collective liberation for all. This is my prayer, that we may trust the creative process, and be inspired to grow as one.
[Casey Murano was the artist-in-residence at Event 2022. She recently volunteered with the St. Joseph Worker-St. Paul community]