Opening Our Treasures: An interview with Aine Barrins rsm
The seeds for this booklet were planted in 2010 when Áine Barrins rsm was involved in the "Coming Home" programme at Mercy International Centre.
Some Sisters in the programme expressed interest in seeing images of Our Lady in Catherine McAuley's time. Having opened the manuscript by Clare Augustine Moore when following up on their request, Áine became enthralled with what she saw and knew she wanted to share those visual treasures with others, but how best to do this and what to share?
This small booklet with artworks by Clare Augustine with accompanying reflections worded by Áine grew out of Áine's own "contemplative pondering" of the beautiful drawings.
What must it have been like for Clare Augustine to be the artist in the House of Mercy when there was so much practical work to be done? Catherine McAuley may not have understood why Clare Augustine was moved to paint such works but, importantly, Catherine allowed the charism to be expressed by Clare Augustine through the illuminations she created. That variety and versatility of being Mercy was there in the Order from the beginning. It was clear to Áine that what Clare Augustine had painted expressed her faith, that "her art became her ministry".
Recognising that Clare Augustine must have had to do her own reflecting in engaging with the gospel images she created, Áine knew she must engage with them and thought that what was evoked for her might resonate with others.
The 13 reflections are each based on a different illumination. A short passage of text followed by two reflective questions accompanies each illumination. Individuals or small groups might take a different theme each time and use the questions as a springboard. While the images are traditionally religious, the accompanying text and questions have a more universal appeal.
Áine's hope is to make available through the booklet some of the rich illuminations of Clare Augustine and bring readers to find there an appreciation of the artist's art and faith and an invitation to nourish their own spirits.
Messages to: Áine Barrins rsm