September 1, 2011

Modernist Oil Painting


Look at the color choices and design style Sister Mary Scraphia chose on this 1960's Picasso-esque rendering. I was a product of St. Martin Catholic church on Chicago's south side. Those of you that know the church can testify to its beauty. The museum quality stained glass windows, the 20 foot long solid quarter-sawn oak pews, the Nuns dressed in traditional black & white garb along with their heavily starched habits, crucifixes & hard biscuit-toed shoes. They walked the massive halls of the church with stealth-like ninja ability. Catholic school attendees, you know what I mean! ;-D I'd turn around and out of nowhere, there'd be Father John & Sister Mary Francis standing there waiting for me to giggle, run or make to much noise on the Carrara marble floors. It was difficult not to, with my black patent leather, Cuban-heeled shoes. And the sisters were always singing in Latin, painting or making pottery of some sort. As I write this post I can hear the bells ring in the tower & remember the unforgettable sweet smell of the holy water in the marble urns in the vestibule. So Sister Scrap as she's probably affectionately called behind her back, I dig your design style! Don't you?

Dimensions: 32H x 38L


PS. In later years, the archdiocese closed & sold the magnificent St. Martin in 1990. Does anyone remember the "Golden Horseman" on the steeple of the main gable? You could see it clear from Comiskey Park at 35th & the Dan Ryan. It was rumored that a Chicago land dealer purchased it!
Father John ate Sunday dinner at our home every week! He performed the wedding ceremony of my mom & dad & all my sisters and brothers. 
Not to worry, while in undergrad at DePaul, I saw a priest in my astronomy class dressed in straight leg jeans, Chuck Taylor Converse All-stars & a priest jacket & collar. Mind you many years had passed. The prof called out my name during attendance. Rousseau? Here, I called out. During the break, I got a tap on the shoulder. I turned around and it was Father John! He asked me if I was one of the Rousseau clan from back in the day. I hugged his neck so hard, grabbed his hand and called my mom & said "guess who's in my astronomy class?" She conferenced all her sisters in & I went back in to class. That week-end who do you think was sitting at Sunday dinner with his Chuck Taylor Converse All stars & straight leg jeans?! 

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