Fine art can inspire our faith and even drive a spiritual movement. The most famous example is perhaps “Divine Mercy,” a painting inspired by the apparition of Christ as He appeared to Faustina Kowalska in 1931.
As the United States continues the National Eucharistic Revival, the Archdiocese of New Orleans turned to art.
In 2021, the Archdiocese of New Orleans called on local community artists to submit their works to an art contest under the theme of “The Year of the Eucharist & St. Joseph.” The various submissions were each steeped in Catholic themes, with the devotion of their respective artists clear to see.
St. Germain chose sacred images, rendered in full watercolor, to take her viewers on a journey starting from the bottom of the painting, which is mostly in darkness, to the top, which is fully aglow in light. The artist uses dark values of blue at the bottom of the painting to indicate the darkness of the world at the time of the birth of Christ. Light in the area of the Nativity scene comes both from the Baby Jesus and from the Star of Bethlehem announcing His birth.
There, we see His Mother Mary and St. Joseph with a lamb by his side. The lamb is our reminder of what is to come in the Paschal Mystery. He will be sacrificed as the Lamb of God whose death is the only perfect atonement for the sins of the world.
As we progress upward in the painting, Diane has images of the crucifix transposed over the Chalice, Host, and the Resurrected Christ. There is strong, vibrating light emanating from the image of the broken host. Here Diane is using this imagery to focus on the spiritual meaning of what we receive in the Eucharist. As Catholics we believe that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly present at every Mass, under the appearances of bread and wine. We believe that by frequent reception of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament we are spiritually and physically uniting ourselves with Him and we are transformed into His likeness.
Diane completes the vertical journey through this painting with the image of the open gates of heaven. The gates to heaven are not wide open, indicating that it takes a surrender on our part to unite our lives with Christ so we may have hope of entering into our eternal reward in heaven.
While the piece was painted under the theme of “The Year of the Eucharist & St. Joseph,” it stands as a worthy piece to meditate upon for the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, taking place in the United States until 2024.
The goal of the upcoming Eucharistic Conference will be to renew the Catholic faith through an encounter with the Living Lord Jesus Christ. St. Germain’s piece helps facilitate such an encounter by placing the viewer before the entire chronology of Jesus’ life, as recorded in the Gospels.
Diane St. Germain, who is a celebrated local Louisianian artist, was recently awarded the distinction of Master Signature Status by the Louisiana Watercolor Society, which is how she acquired her post-nominal initials LWS-M. Diane is a devout Catholic who is active in the life of her parish, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Slidell.
Diane met with the archbishop of New Orleans, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, in March of 2023; he called the work of sacred art “theologically sound.” The archbishop has given his permission and encouraged Diane to use the piece as a “tool of evangelization” to give meaning to the Paschal Mystery and the Eucharist. She has since brought the artwork to several classes of middle school and high school students to explain the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, to great effect.
Prints of this expressive work of fine art are available in multiple sizes on Diane St. Germain’s official website. Click here to learn more.