In March, Amityville Dominican Sister Barbara Schwarz found herself hospitalized from Covid-19. Even today, she continues to heal from the virus’ effects on her. She, therefore, finds it delightful that, although she has been busy with “the ministry of healing”, the Holy Spirit has made her look very busy as of late with various projects coming to light.
This month, S. Barbara’s painting of the “Bent Woman” was published in a booklet entitled “Live the Word” by Redemptorist Publications in England. The booklet is distributed weekly to a readership of around 5,500. It is designed to be picked up in church on a Sunday and to sustain the reader through the week by providing the weekday Bible readings, an article and a reflection.
“The Bent Woman” painting accompanies the Gospel reading and reflection on a story from the Gospel of Luke 13:10 in which Jesus encounters a woman who could not straighten her back in 18 years. He heals her on the Sabbath to the delight of the people and the chagrin of religious leaders.
The unusual thing about S. Barbara’s painting is that Jesus is also bent in the image. He is bent over so he can look in her eyes.
“Jesus would not look down on her,” mused S. Barbara Schwarz. “They are meeting as human beings, person to person and that was important because Jesus, God, cares about us as persons. It is not so much how she looks or her cane that is on the ground, he wants to connect with her as a person.”
“The Bent Woman” was first published in May 2014 in Global Sisters Report. “I feel honored that the piece is getting further publicity and that the preaching of Jesus looking in the eyes of the woman, has gotten a wider audience.” Over the years, several protestant churches around the United States have featured the painting in their bulletin or other publications.
Click here to see a PDF of the booklet page in which the Bent Woman is featured.
S. Barbara is also an active member of the Dominican Institute of the Arts (DIA).