Painting Her Way Through the Pandemic

During the seven months of quarantine due to the pandemic, S. Mary Anna Euring has created hundreds of pieces of artwork: paintings bushed on rice paper, origami earrings lovingly folded and greeting cards enhanced with her photos of Long Island. But what to do with all this art? This past week, she decided to host a sale of her art to sisters and Motherhouse staff to raise money for the congregation’s OPening Word Program, an adult literacy program for immigrant women which operates on Long Island, NY.
She raised more than $4,000!

“All the money will go to the OPening Word Program whose students are really hurting at this time,” said S. Mary Anna. She added that each piece of art is imbued with prayer for the person who receives the art, as well as for the women in the OPening Word program.

“The gifts from this art show will be very welcome as our funding sources are diminished during the pandemic,” said S. Elaine Jahrsdoerfer who is on the Board of the Program. “The ‘preaching’ of Mary Anna’s art is enabling the ‘preaching’ of The OPening Word, (as the care and support of our women are surely good news to them).”

S. Mary Anna wasn’t always an artist. In fact, she didn’t begin painting until seven years ago when she retired. The Islip Art Museum offered a course in Asian Brush Painting. “When I picked up the brush, it was like I always had it in my hand,” she said. Where her interest in Asian culture came from, she is not sure. Although she vividly recalls her mother taking her to The Brooklyn Museum of Art. She said, “I stepped into the room filled with Asian art, I never wanted to leave that room.”

In mid-September, the St. Martin de Porres room in the Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse was filled with hundreds of her paintings, the surprising fruit from her time in quarantine.

“When I knew we would be locked down, I brought supplies from the art studio,” Sister Mary Anna said. She knew it would be hard for her and for other sisters in isolation. She wanted to give everyone, staff and the sisters, something beautiful to look at when they were depressed. “I wanted to give them something they could look at to feel uplifted, peaceful and inspired.”