Yesterday, I wrote briefly about a few priests who have influenced my thinking and offered me support before and since my confirmation in the Catholic faith. I realized as I was writing how interconnected that faith journey has been with my growth as an artist. I’d like to explore that a little bit here.
First, as I was thinking about them, I searched the internet. I searched the name of my long-time spiritual director, Father Carroll…and found absolutely NOTHING. It was interesting to find that someone who I viewed as godly, should not have a stick of recognition on the ‘information highway’. I DID find, quite by accident, that my home Parish in Lethbridge, St. Patrick’s Parish, is ‘temporarily’ shuttered. At some point, this will be a topic for my blog, particularly since Father Carroll shared with me some archival material about the history of the church building and I think that it is a truly significant landmark and a place where I celebrated my baby steps as a Catholic. As well, I found a great deal of information about the Oblate priests and their mission, but nothing specific to Father Carroll’s journey from Ireland, to serve as a priest to God’s people for what seems, a zillion years. Father Carroll’s final resting place is in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Cemetery in Mission, B.C.
I have always really treasured Canadian literature and novels that were inspired by the early settlement of Canada. These seem to contain powerful examples of how ‘the Priest’ has influenced Canadian society in a whole number of ways. Five of the books included in the list of novels that got me thinking about male archetypes in Canadian literature and in life, and eventually art, were John Richardson’s Wacousta, Ringuet’s Thirty Acres, Sinclair Ross’s As For Me and My House and Gabrielle Roy’s Where Nests the Water Hen and finally, O’Hagan’s Tay John. Along with these, are a whole number of more contemporary (mostly Canadian) novels written by women that also explore the same themes, but for now, I’m thinking EARLY Canada.
Two summers ago, my son and I visited the Jesuit mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons across the highway from the Martyrs’ Shrine Catholic Church near Midland, Ontario. This opportunity, and others since, have provided me the ‘magic’ of exploring settings that were essential to writers of these novels. My travels have invigorated my faith and contributed to greater knowledge of the early church in Canada. There is no way that I can possibly convey how significant my journey to Ontario and then up the St. Lawrence river to Prince Edward Island was this past summer. On so many different levels, returning to my ancestral roots, brought me to a profound realization in my faith.
So, I have been incredibly interested in reading about and painting archetypes that appear over and over again in life and in reading and this has transferred into my art, most literally, in the series I painted in art college, Three Men. In various cultures, there have been written scads on male archetypes. None of my work is related directly to these views and suppositions, rather I painted three men who were significant to my own life and the development of my esteem and path. In the end, I met these people again and again in literature AND in other art and so, I came to know them as archetypes because of their universality and how they were used as the conduit for so many stories.
I am certain that these archetypes have influenced my evolution as a woman/person and likely my readers will note how these directly impact my writing and the sorts of ideas I explore.