Blessing ceremony held for new Gardens of St. Francis mural

Press Staff Writer

        A special blessing ceremony was held Aug. 10 to celebrate a new mural installed at The Gardens of St. Francis senior living community located in Oregon.
        The mural was created by Sister Jane Mary Sorosiak, OSF, who since 2004 has served as the director of Alverno Studio, located on the campus of Lourdes University.
        Some may remember Sister Jane Mary as an art and English teacher at Cardinal Stritch High School from 1961-1976. She also taught in grade school for a few years, and served as assistant professor of art at Lourdes University for 28 years.
        She has been creating murals for over 35 years and her work can be found nationwide.
        “I had the privilege of seeing her work first-hand last year when I was there with my fellow coworkers for a retreat held at the motherhouse of the Sylvania Franciscans,” said Heidi Hoffman, Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care at The Gardens of St. Francis. “Part of the retreat involved a tour of Alverno Studio, where I first met Sister Jane Mary. That prompted the idea of having a mural created for our facility.
        “That process started in January of this year,” Hoffman said. “Sister Magdala Davlin, OSF, who also helps sister Jane Mary, got us started with the process. That involved the two of them coming out to our facility to get an idea of where we wanted the mural and what we wanted.
        “We had a wooden sculpture of the Holy Family on the exterior wall of our Holy Family Center,” she said. “I, along with our administrator, Brandon Webb, thought that would be the perfect spot for the mural of the Holy Family.  It is one of the first things you see when you enter the facility. From that point, Sister Jane Mary started creating our mural.”
        The mural is comprised of 222 individual tile pieces, each one hand made. It measures approximately 5 feet high and 10 feet long. “It's like a giant puzzle being but together,” Hoffman said.
        The sisters enlisted the help of Hans Klink to install the murals once they were completed.
        On Tuesday, Aug. 1, Sister Jane Mary, Sister Magdala, Klink and his granddaughter Bridgette, arrived at The Gardens at 9 a.m.
        “According to Sister Jane Mary, they always start their project off by having coffee and donuts, and that's exactly what they did,” Hoffman said. “I set them up in our main dining room and they had their coffee and donuts, and then the real work began.
        The team started off by laying out the blueprint of the mural on four tables. They then began unwrapping all 222 pieces of tile and placed them on the blueprint. Each tile piece had a number on the back, which corresponded with the number on the blueprint. From there, Klink took each piece, one by one, and adhered it to the wall.
        Throughout the day, residents, staff, family members and visitors would stop by and watch the mural come to life. “It was amazing to see,” Hoffman said.
        Father Ken Lill, a Gardens of St. Francis resident, offered the blessing at the ceremony, which was followed by a reception for residents in the Gardens’ Holy Family Center.


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