Shepherding Images: The Art Ministry of Sr Glynis Mary McManamon

Shepherding Images: The Art Ministry of Sr Glynis Mary McManamon

Shepherding Images: The Art Ministry of Sr Glynis Mary McManamon

Shepherding Images: The Art Ministry of Sr Glynis Mary McManamon

Shepherding Images: The Art Ministry of Sr Glynis Mary McManamon

Shepherding Images: The Art Ministry of Sr Glynis Mary McManamon

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By Jenny Beatrice, Regional Director of Communications, and Sr. Glynis McManamon, USA (Province of Mid-North America)

Last month, artist Sr Glynis Mary McManamon hosted an “Open Studio” at her new space In St Louis, Missouri, allowing visitors to view her works and her works-in-progress. “It was a welcome to my workspace,” she says.

The showcase was more than just a peek into her beautiful creations. It was a testament to her perseverance through transitions, both in her art ministry and in her health journey.

Sr Glynis’ ministry journey began in 1998 when she studied art at Bellarmine University. Three years later, she had her first solo exhibition, “Into the Clearing,” which featured 18 paintings exploring how women become addicted, how the disease of addiction progresses uniquely in women, and what women’s recovery can look like. The paintings were later donated to the Healing Place for Women in Louisville. She also established a studio in Louisville, in the Highlands, an alternative district, where she welcomed persons from all walks of life who dropped in for coffee and conversation.

But in 2010, her thriving ministry took a hiatus as she was called to serve the Province of Mid-North America with administrative concerns. Soon, another calling took hold.

In 2015, Sr Glynis returned to full-time ministry, opening the Good Shepherd Art Center (GSAC) in Ferguson, Missouri, a city marked by racial unrest due to the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown just one year earlier. GSAC served as a place for celebrating diversity, and affirming human dignity through themed exhibits, educational opportunities and community outreach. “It was about being a presence and inviting people into conversation,” she says.

The center dissolved in 2022, a casualty of Covid, and Sr Glynis was left once again looking for space and a direction for her ministry. Following a year-long sabbatical, Sr Glynis was preparing to explore how to minister with art when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of thyroid cancer. The remainder of 2023 was dedicated to medical tests and treatment. While waiting for results of treatment, she began renting an abandoned kindergarten room in the former Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish School in St Louis, which led to last month, May 2024, when she proudly invited sisters and friends from along the way to witness her process and her journey.

Displayed works included pieces related to her cancer treatment and six large acrylic icons on unstretched canvas (a practice for Sr Glynis) depicting healing saints: Michael the Archangel, Hermione, Nektarios, Charbel, Apollonia, and the Blessed Virgin of the Protecting Veil.

Some of her most unique pieces included her repurposing of two radiation masks used to mark where they direct treatment. One mask was collaged in newspaper headlines depicting suffering from places and people across the globe during the period of her treatment. The other was painted to mimic the view one would see looking through the Webb telescope. “You are here, a tiny pinpoint of the reality of a beautiful universe,” she says of the work. Both masks represent that view that our suffering is all a part of something bigger, something greater than ourselves. “If I were to name these pieces, I would call them, ‘Meanwhile in Other News…,’” she laughs.

What is calling Sr Glynis now?

Cancer therapy appears to have been successful per a June 21 CT scan,” she reports. “I consider myself currently ‘between gigs’ while I wait for my doctors to outline my future course.”

In the meantime, Sr. Glynis continues to create. She has the seed of an idea for an online home to showcase the flock of Good Shepherd artists at  www.goodshepherdarts.org.

And, most profoundly, she continues to bear witness to the beauty and suffering of the world through her work, all with the heart of a Good Shepherd.

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