As we remember the birthday of Madre Maria Nazarena Majone today (21 June), I recall the task given to me by Mother Elna last year where I was to make a life-sized painting of Mother Nazarena, at least 5 feet in height. This was to be used for the 75th death anniversary of our Congregation’s co-foundress (25 January 2014).
At first, I was really hesitant and refused to do it because it is not that easy to make a painting. Besides, I had only less than 10 days to finish it before the anniversary celebration. Yet, at the same time, I was also challenged because it was my first time to do a life-sized painting and it was a special celebration – a gift for Mother Nazarena.
I asked Sr Gladys for some pictures to give myself an idea on how to begin the painting and to draw some inspirations. While doing this, I realised how important it was to be patient and to sacrifice other things in order to find time. During the painting process, I encountered difficulties with drawing her hands and the structure of her body. Then an idea came… I asked some of our Sisters and Postulants to be my models. They became like mirrors that helped me to draw the areas that I found hard to paint.
The most difficult of all was the face of Mother Nazarena. I erased this area several times, repainted it and again erased it in the hope of improving my painting. As I was doing this, I listened to the comments, ideas and suggestions of the Sisters. And these proved useful because I saw an improvement each day. With the help of their feedback, the painting was being completed, little by little, even during the times when I became irritated with my progress. At the end of it all, I was so thankful to the community for their valuable help and support – they had played such a great part in the painting. For myself, I had never ever dreamt of being able to do a painting like that.
The task had also led me to recall the life of Mother Nazarena. One day I just realised that Mother Nazarena had a lot to teach us, her daughters, particularly about her love and service for the harvest, her dedication, prayer and life witnessing. It was a prayer that transformed her life with a zeal to pray and work for the harvest.
I thank the Lord for that occasion – challenging yet inspiring. It was an opportunity to deepen my knowledge and appreciation of the person of Mother Nazarena. Upon seeing the finished painting, I was drawn to love more deeply, to feel her serenity, and to imitate her continuous prayer which led her to be zealous in her apostolic life.
Sr M Cielo C Tanio fdz