The above painting by artist Zenon was commissioned in 2000 by the Daughters of Divine Zeal in Richmond, to represent our past, present and future in Australia.
The background of the painting shows the beginning of Australia, a land inhabited by the Aborigine peoples.
The sailing ships represent the fleet of ships that bought the first European settlers to Australia. These settlers were convicts from England and they landed in Botany Bay in what is now New South Wales.
The mass of people represent the many nations that have populated Australia since the first settlers. They have been migrants, refugees and free settlers from all walks of life.
The donkey with Mary and the Christ Child and Joseph represent the Christian faith of the land. The Sisters are the Daughters of Divine Zeal that first arrived in Melbourne, Victoria in 1959.
All are moving towards the Cross, which is also made up of the people and the Heart of Jesus.
To the left of the painting shows the modern Australia with its tall buildings in the background. The faces shown represent the many cultures that make up this great land. The Sister is the Sister of the future walking together with the people and pointing out the way of the Cross.
The wheat in the foreground is the wheat of the harvest, the vocation of life.
To the right of the painting is a passage from the book of Matthew followed by a reflection on Australia and its journey through time (text composed by Paula Stuart):
And when He saw the crowds He felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to His harvest.’ Matthew 9:35-38.
Australia with the Dream Time, from a race as old as time itself. Traditions rich with ancient culture, of gatherers and collectors, of hunters and providers. Of Walkabouts, Corroborees and Sacred Sites. This land of theirs, their spirit bounds.
Of settlers who have come in chains, of free men with their mark to make, they’ve etched their path, their history’s made.
Of migrants who have left their roots to make a home in this distant place. They toil to make this land their own, their courage strengthens all around.
Refugees come garbed in hope escaping from their torturous foes. Desperation knows no bounds, their journey here no easy road.
A continent of contrast from rugged cliffs to the parched and barren waste. The Centre and the Kimberleys, to the fertile coastal plains.
A home it has provided for those of many lands. They all give their special skills that make this country grand.
The Founder of the FDZs, his vision still applies. Care and comfort, support and love. This challenged world of drugs and rolling dice, of street kids and the unemployed. Help us move towards the Cross. Rogate still our prayer today.