Art became prayer

On Wednesday 27 September, 25 members of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle including CSO staff, school executive, support staff and primary and secondary teachers were given the opportunity to explore spirituality through the creation of art.

Facilitated by Religious Studies Co-ordinator and practising artist from San Clemente High School, Mayfield, Rose McAllister, and CSO Education Officer (Religious Education and Spirituality), Bernadette Gibson, participants were able to contemplate and reflect in the beautiful surroundings of Kilaben Bay.

The workshop allowed the spirit to be awakened to the beauty of God’s creation and participants of all artistic abilities were able to pause, breathe, take notice and reflect on their own spiritual journey.

Staff were encouraged to experiment with a range of materials, to make connections between the relationship they have with themselves, others and God.

“The purpose of the Art and Spirituality Day was to provide participants from across all staffing levels in Catholic schools, an opportunity to express their faith and spirituality through art.

“The day was, in Ranson's words: an attempt to cross "...the great divide: Bridging Spirituality and Religion Today”. 

Using Lonergan's model of 'attending, inquiring, acting and interpreting’, art became prayer.

"Spirituality is a constellation of different activities" says Ranson (2002, p.18) Stepping into unordinary time reawakens the heart, it allows the experience of the presence of Christ in the life experience of other participants and scripture, and makes room for God to speak into the silence created,” said Bernadette.

Rose McAllister led the day, encouraging all participants to overcome inhibitions and fears of judgement and simply allow the spirit to move through them.

One participant shared her thoughts, saying, “When I got here this morning I wasn't just completely tired, my spirit was exhausted. Today has rejuvenated me, it has inspired me and I feel that there has been some really gracious intervention ...  my faith journey was reignited ... the whole day has been a faith leap, not just a step ... my spirit was completely wrung out.”

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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.