Inspiration of Saint Monica
A couple of years ago I received a request from a school in
Detroit seeking an image of St. Monica, which I did not have.
As a result, I was inspired to paint an interpretation of St.
Augustine's mother, one reflecting her belief in and
commitment to prayer. Dr. Janet Moses (the perfect subject for
this work), pediatrician at MIT, mother of four and wife of
60's Freedom Fighter Robert Moses, was the model for this
painting, for which I am eternally grateful. Saint Monica
faithfully loved her wayward son and wept for him every night.
She believed with a full heart that her prayers would lead him
to God, because hope is the essence of prayer. In stillness,
her prayers reached out to eternity—to God—just as ours do.
Contemporary American artist Janet McKenzie has committed her
life and art to celebrating women's lives and gifts. Best
known for her "Jesus of the People," the controversial winner
of National Catholic Reporter's Jesus 2000 international
competition, McKenzie's work boldly confronts and confounds
stereotypical thinking with luminous and haunting imagery. Her
art was featured in book form in Holiness and the Feminine
Spirit — The Art of Janet McKenzie and The Way of the Cross —
The Path to New Life (written by Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB),
published by Orbis Books. Her art has been exhibited at the
Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee and the Loyola University
Museum of Art in Chicago, among other venues throughout the
country. Janet McKenzie was the 2013 William Belden Noble
Lecturer at the Memorial Church, Harvard University.