Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

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WEST HARTFORD – Connecticut artist Mary Billingsley has donated 21 paintings valued at more than $168,000 to Holy Family Retreat Center.

Ms. Billingsley, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Boston University, creates Christian art with Catholic themes using gouache paint. She has exhibited her work throughout the Northeast.

The paintings she donated to Holy Family depict each scene from the Catholic rosary and were created over a period of 20 years. They are being showcased on the third floor of the center’s retreat building, which has been enhanced with special lighting to accentuate the beauty of the paintings.

“The rosary paintings are exquisite, and we are deeply honored that Mary has entrusted her precious works to us,” said Passionist Father David Cinquegrani, director of Holy Family Retreat Center.

The rosary is a form of prayer, aided by a string of beads to count each prayer, used in the Catholic Church to recall events in the lives of Jesus and his mother Mary.

These events, categorized as Joyful Mysteries, Sorrowful Mysteries, Glorious Mysteries, and Luminous Mysteries, include such key moments as the Nativity, the crowning with thorns, crucifixion and death, Resurrection and baptism of Christ in the Jordan.

Ms. Billingsley said she decided to donate the paintings after her husband, artist John Matt, attended a retreat at Holy Family in the spring of 2016.
“It was an answer to my prayers, since I’d been searching for years for a venue in which to show all the works together,” said Ms. Billingsley. “John immediately realized that Holy Family was the perfect space to exhibit the paintings, and after seeing the spacious hallways, I agreed. I am so happy that these works of mine will be permanently displayed in such a beautiful and prayerful home.”

Limited edition prints of the rosary paintings are available for sale to the public. Information is available from Bill Walsh at 860-760-9755.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.