St Peter’s Campus receives specially commissioned icons

2017 marks the bicentenary of the formation of the Marist Brothers.

To celebrate this milestone, four icons have been specially commissioned to travel all over the country visiting each and every Marist school and community for a week throughout the year.

On Friday 17 June, St Peter’s Campus, All Saints College Maitland, received two of the four paintings to display at the school for one week.

Both regional Marist schools, St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton and St Peter’s Campus, Maitland, came together to celebrate a special Marist bicentenary liturgy to reveal the significance of the images.

Renowned iconographer, Michael Galovic of Chittaway Bay, has written each icon to represent four different Marist stories. When viewed together, these four paintings tell a story – the story of the mission of the Marists in the way of St Marcellin Champagnat: to make Jesus known and loved. 

The first painting represents the interior of the house at La Valla that St Marcellin acquired to accommodate the first two Marist brothers – the Little Brothers of Mary, as they were known locally. 

In this painting the artist included a section of the table that St Marcellin built for this infant community as well as some of the other rustic features of this first house. The loaf of bread symbolises the sacredness of the community gathered around the table. In this painting, the Marist mission to make Jesus known and loved had begun in earnest.

The second painting depicts the difficult situation that the first community of Marist Brothers had in establishing the school at The Rocks in Sydney in 1872. Put simply, the students were undisciplined and out of control.

It wasn’t until the brother in charge invited the students to build an altar to Mary and to pray to her daily during the month of May that things turned around. 

The chaotic bottom of the painting quickly gives way to the more ordered stained glass windows. The bright golden intrusion of colour from the top left hand corner suggests that this change of attitude and behaviour was a gift of the Holy Spirit. 

The Marist mission to make Jesus known and loved had come to birth in this young colony of Australia.

The commissioned icons left St Peter’s on 24 June and made their way to St Francis Xavier’s College for the final week of term.

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Gabrielle Sutherland Image
Gabrielle Sutherland

Gabrielle Sutherland is a Marketing & Communications Officer for the Catholic Schools Office and a regular contributor to and Aurora.