Friday, November 04, 2016 - Updated: 6:00 am
When Mon Yough Catholic School in White Oak became Mary of Nazareth School at the start of the 2015-16 year, Father Kevin Dominik, pastor of St. Angela Merici Parish, wanted to somehow commemorate the new name.
He gave a small picture depicting the Virgin Mary to Patte Martin, art teacher at the school since October 2015, suggesting it as the basis for a new mural in the school.
Martin, who also teaches at St. Therese School in Munhall and used to work in Pittsburgh Public Schools, had helped students paint school murals and created a few in children’s bedrooms for family and friends.
But this project was different.
“I went through Catholic school all the way and my mom was a big devotee of the Blessed Virgin,” she said. “My mom’s name was Mary Alice.”
Martin’s mom passed away two years ago, so she missed the opportunity to see the mural that Patte created this summer. Or did she? Martin feels that her mom watched her create it and is enjoying it now.
The teacher worked on the mural during the summer break for three to four weeks, four to five hours a day. “It was a nice time to reflect on my mom and her life and Mary,” she said.
From the small Virgin Mary image given to her by Father Dominik, Martin researched other Marian images and painted a larger version of the artwork. She then scanned it into a computer so the picture could be projected onto the stairwell wall and drawn with acrylic paints.
The mural features the names of the eight parishes that feed into Mary of Nazareth School: St. Mark, St. Michael, Corpus Christi, St. Angela Merici, St. Robert Bellarmine, Queen of the Rosary, St. Patrick and St. Jude.
The picture also includes a prayer from the end of a litany to Mary of Nazareth: “Mary, Queen of Peace, we entrust our lives to you. Shelter us from war, hatred and oppression. Teach us to live in peace, to educate ourselves for peace. Inspire us to act justly, to reverence all God has made. Root peace firmly in our hearts, and in our world. Amen.
“I read it and I said, ‘This is so appropriate for this time and this age.’ The focus on teaching peace,” Martin said.