Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, February 13, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : News : Nation and World
7/16/2014 10:09:00 AM
Muralist says inspiration of Holy Spirit drives her creativity, artwork
Catholic News Service photo
Franciscan Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak mixes the glaze she uses to paint clay murals she creates in a studio on the campus of Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. Sister Jane Mary has been crafting murals with religious and spiritual themes for the past 3 8 years.
Catholic News Service photo
Franciscan Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak mixes the glaze she uses to paint clay murals she creates in a studio on the campus of Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. Sister Jane Mary has been crafting murals with religious and spiritual themes for the past 3 8 years.
Catholic News Service

SYLVANIA, Ohio — Looking over her latest work, Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak picked up a piece of hardened clay depicting the face of St. Joseph and began touching up pinkish tones of glaze that will transform  into a glossy flesh-colored finish once fired and cooled.

Satisfied with the final coat, the 84-year-old Sister of St. Francis of Sylvania carefully placed the face among the other pieces that will comprise the saint's image, including hair and beard. When a piece is removed, she takes care to return it exactly to the appropriate numbered spot on the 4-foot diameter mural, alongside images of Mary and Jesus of the Holy Family.

"Joseph is easier to do than Mary," explained Sister Jane Mary, wearing a pink flowered housecoat over her religious habit. "She has one whole  face and you can't divide her face very well.

"With Joseph I can cut off at the beard, I can cut off part of his hair. But with Mary there's no place you can really divide it. Mary has to be all one piece. Sometimes it's dangerous to do a whole piece because it can crack in the kiln," she said, drawing from nearly four decades of mural-making experience.

The mural of the Holy Family for Sandusky Central Catholic Elementary School is one of four that Sister Jane Mary has most recently been commissioned to create.

Others on her 150-square-foot worktable in the Alverno Studio on the campus of Lourdes University in suburban Toledo in July depicted Jesus the good shepherd surrounded by children, Christ with arms spread wide in a welcoming gesture, and St. Katharine Drexel of Philadelphia, who dedicated her life to ministering to African-Americans and American Indians.

Sister Jane Mary specializes in creating murals with religious and spiritual themes. She has been crafting murals for 38 years, working with clients across the United States. In all, she estimates she has completed nearly 100 murals since she arrived at Lourdes to teach art in 1976.

Her first mural -- a massive 40-foot tall image of Christ installed on the Franciscan Center on campus -- took more than two years to complete.  Others, not quite so large, on campus buildings watch over students on their way to classes. While she may still tackle large projects, most of her commissions range up to 50 square feet in size.

Much of Sister Jane Mary's work can be seen within a couple of hours of  her studio, throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Her murals also can be found as far away as Vermont, Minnesota, Texas and California.

Over the years, Sister Jane Mary never has solicited work. It's not her nature, she said.

"Almost every time I'm almost finished doing something, then another commission comes in. That's why I think God wants me to do this. I don't look for jobs. They keep coming to me. So I think I'm supposed to be doing this," she said.

When a commission does come in, Sister Jane Mary discusses it with the  client to better understand what a mural is supposed to depict and where it will be displayed. When a client is unsure of what to show, Sister Jane Mary turns to prayer, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance to faithfully design a mural that is pleasing and inspirational to the viewer.

"I try and visualize," she told Catholic News Service. "There's a lot of thinking before you begin. I visualize things to see what's possible, how I would like to picture this. Then I do a lot of sketching.

"The kind of unique, almost spiritual thing that happens is sometimes it's entirely different from what I started to do. When I first started to do something I had one idea and in the process the whole idea changes  and it was much better than my original idea. It's the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I think, that really comes through. Sometimes it's so obvious, it scares me.

"We like to do it that way. We feel that we're supposed to be working that way. The work we do in here is more like a ministry than it is a job. We feel the work is really something that brings beauty to others, uplifting people," she said.

For most murals, Sister Jane Mary will draw it to scale and then enlarge  the image to its final size using a projector before the dozens of ceramic plates can be cut, dried and glazed. For very large works, she will work on a mural in sections.

"Each piece has its own blessings and its own disadvantages and advantages. There's always one or two pieces that always give me a little bit of a problem. I think that's to keep me humble. Usually I pray a lot over this," Sister Jane Mary explained.

Each piece costs about $100 to $135 per square foot to create. That is in addition to delivery and installation expenses.

Sister Jane Mary's interest in art evolved at an early age. Growing up in the now-closed St. Hedwig Parish in Toledo's Polish community, she drew murals and other images in grade school. In sixth grade, she created a six-foot tall image of Jesus for the final scene showing heaven in a school play. When she entered religious life at 24, the congregation's leaders recognized her talent and nurtured it.

A graduate of Mary Manse College in Toledo, Sister Mary Jane later obtained a master's degree in English from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a second master's degree in art from Bowling Green State University. She taught art at Toledo's Cardinal Stritch High School for 14 years before joining the faculty at Lourdes, which was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis. Retired from teaching, she now devotes much of her time to making murals.

To this day, Sister Jane Mary credits her religious community for supporting her work.

"They really let me go," she said. "Whatever I want to do they trust that I'm going to do the right thing, I guess. One of my cousins once said to me 'If you weren't a nun you'd probably be a millionaire.' I said, 'On the contrary, if I weren't a nun I probably would have never done any of this.'"

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved