Thomas Merton once said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
A special afternoon of discovery at Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent in Buffalo, NY, blessed approximately 35 members of St. Jude the Apostle Senior Club from North Tonawanda, NY, on Tuesday, June 25.
SM Amelia Pieczynski greeted the group at the entrance to the convent and led them to the main chapel, where she spoke about the exquisite stained glass windows in the chapel, crafted by Tyrol Company in Innsbruck, Austria. Sister Amelia shared her expertise not only on the iconography of the windows, but on Gothic revival architecture as well.
The group then visited the Felician Sisters Art Studio where they heard a presentation on the process of making stained glass windows by SM Ann Therese Kelly, who recently designed a large window for Villa Maria College in Buffalo and the chapel windows for Our Lady of Hope Provincial House Chapel. Many of the visitors were pleased to reconnect with Sister Ann Therese and learn of her work since she grew up in North Tonawanda and was a member of the former St. Albert the Great Parish. St. Albert’s became St. Jude the Apostle when the parish merged with the former Ascension Parish during the Journey of Faith and Grace in 2008. Participants enjoyed coffee and doughnuts in Alumnae Hall and completed their afternoon with a brief explanation of the Felician Heritage by SM Joanne Suranni.
According to Sister Joanne, the guests were impressed with the beauty and grace of Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent, as well as the giftedness of the sisters.
At the conclusion of the day, seminarian Michael Brown, who is doing his pastoral year at St. Jude the Apostle Parish, visited with two of his former teachers, S Emily Marie Jurecki and SM Patricia Tomasik. He said he felt a special blessing in visiting with the sisters who gave him the firm foundation in faith that he has had throughout his life.
Sister Joanne said the tour provided the guests with “a glimpse of Felician life and spirituality through the lens of our artists and historians.”
Sister Joanne and the group are extremely grateful to SM Kevin Szeluga, local minister of the central convent, and SM Vivian Maczonis, local minister of St. Aloysius Convent, for providing the hospitality and refreshments. They also expressed appreciation to Sister Amelia and Sister Ann Therese for sharing their knowledge and gift of time.