May 21, 2019

The 'Making' of Catherine

Catherine at the foundry before patination, waxing and polishing.
Patination is when chemicals and heat are used to give colour to the sculpture.

Editor: As part of the silver jubilee celebrations this year of Mercy International Centre, the Sacred Garden (back garden) is being redeveloped.

Among the highlights will be a commemoration space where deceased loved ones can be remembered and a teaching space which will be used in the various pilgrimage and formation programmes offered at the centre.

The garden will feature a specially commissioned sculpture of Catherine, inviting people to ‘Come, sit awhile’ on a shared bench with her and take some time for quiet reflection.

When Gael O'Leary was commissioned to create the bronze, the first of which is in the grounds of ISMAPNG Offices in Stanmore, New South Wales, she sat in that garden for some time.

'It was there I had a strong sense of Catherine sitting in the garden,' said Gael. 'I called the image "Come sit awhile".

I wanted to create an image that can speak to people, create something of her ethos. I felt she should be an inspiration and beacon of hope and comfort to all who come to sit beside her.'

Asked about the face of the sculpture, Gael responded, 'I did consult the various descriptions of Catherine. Everyone's Catherine is different. From reflection and prayer, this is the essence of Catherine McAuley as I have experienced her over the past 40 years of my life.'

Gael continued 'While creating the clay figure, I felt in some way as if I was channelling Catherine, a woman of courage, infinite wisdom and deep faith; a woman who had a kind heart and a listening ear.

In the Baggot Street setting there will be an invitation for all who wish, to come "sit awhile" with Catherine; to be comfortable in her presence;  to take inspiration from her spirituality and deep belief in the providence of God; to emulate her openness to others.'

The sculpture will be installed at Baggot Street in time for the three days of silver jubilee celebrations in September (24-26).

Further details about the plans for the celebrations and how to participate in these will be published in Mercy eNews and on our website.

Messages to:

Gael O'Leary - Bayside Sculpture
Mary Reynolds rsm - CEO MIA

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