August 23, 2021, Detroit – Sister Nancyann Turner, OP, felt inspired to participate in Detroit’s Healing Memorial, a large-scale participatory public art installation that recognizes the depth of loss in Detroit and all Southeast Michigan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A collaboration between the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, this memorial will offer support and healing for residents of southeast Michigan who experienced all forms of loss, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, occupational, and environmental.
The floor to ceiling installation will be adorned by handmade fabric pouches or small fabric envelopes containing a written dedication such as a blessing, a remembrance or a prayer. The cumulative personal dedications will come together to form a dramatic installation at the TCF Center in Downtown Detroit. The exhibit will be unveiled on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, the official COVID-19 Memorial Day in Detroit.
Sister Nancyann, an artist, created a memorial for each Adrian Dominican Sister who died of COVID-19 this past year, as well as several more memorials for young adults who had participated in Capuchin Soup Kitchen programs during their childhood. Sister Nancyann had served as Program Director of the Soup Kitchen’s Rosa Parks Children’s and Youths’ Program.
For Sister Nancyann, creating the pouches was a sacred endeavor. “As I created each one, floods of memories came to me and I felt connected to each Sister and found myself praying to her,” she said. “I knew well many of the deceased Sisters and felt myself blessed as I worked on each memorial. Within each one, I wrote a brief letter and prayer to that particular Sister for whom the memorial was being made – 14 in all. I felt peace and solace in making our remembering tangible.”
Sister Nancyann noted that many people have been in grief and in communal lament for the past 18 months. “We have wept and we have mourned,” she said. “We have become so much more conscious of the pain surrounding an enormous number of people – way beyond our family, our Congregation – beyond our country. Our expansive grief has also reminded us that we are not alone … we are all in this together. We care for each other in new ways and we will assert hope and work for justice.”