In February, we explored artwork created by the Maryknoll Sisters. This month, we take a look at artwork created by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. All kinds of creative men have become Maryknollers. They are carpenters, masons, painters, designers, printers, and more. These Fathers and Brothers created artwork in educational materials, church buildings, promotional crafts, and more. Today we highlight four Fathers and Brothers who have used their ingenuity, style, and skill to help the Society carry out its mission work all over the world. Click on the photos to enlarge and see captions.
Brother Carleton Bourgoin joined Maryknoll in 1953 and began his foreign mission career in Tanzania. There he served as a carpenter, mechanic, handyman, electrician, and more. He taught local people various trades and helped carry out educational and development projects. In his spare time, Brother Carleton enjoyed painting and playing the piano. His paintings were famous among Maryknollers. He gave many away to friends and others hung throughout the Maryknoll campus.
Later in his life, Brother Carleton painted a variety of subjects, including landscapes and portraits. He painted portraits of Maryknoll’s founders, Fr. Thomas Price and Bp. James A. Walsh. These portraits now hang in the Maryknoll crypt, next to the founders’ tomb.
Fr. Donnelly returned to the US in the 1990s for an assignment to promotion. During his years of promotion work, he wrote and illustrated graphic novels about the lives of Catholic missioners. These “novelettes”, as Fr. Donnelly called them, helped spread the word about Maryknollers and non-Maryknollers alike.
Here we see two examples of Fr. Donnelly’s artwork. These are pages from his graphic novel “Heroes and Heroines of Maryknoll”. Below is an illustration of the resurrection of Christ. On the right is the first page of the story of Bp. Patrick Byrne.
Before he was ordained in 1965, Fr. William Donnelly was an army officer and worked as a commercial artist. After ordination, he went to mission in Guatemala, where he served as a parish pastor in several cities and as the Director of the Center for Integral Development in Huehuetenango. In addition to his duties as a pastor, Fr. Donnelly used his artistic skill to draw illustrations for parish education programs. These programs taught people about the catechism, hygiene, first aid, cooperatives, and more.
Brother Thaddeus Revers joined Maryknoll in 1932 and went to mission in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, and the US. He was a master carpenter and helped build many of Maryknoll’s missions. Maryknollers knew him as a steadfast leader in times of peace and times of stress. Brother Thaddeus also used his carpentry skills to carve intricate statues and create inlaid wood artwork. These included likenesses of the Blessed Mother, the Holy Family, and other saintly figures. Brother’s work was an expression of his faith and of the joy he felt in his vocation.
Below are two works by Brother Thaddeus. First we see his wood inlay rendition of artist Jozef Janssens’ painting “The Flight to Egypt”. Brother hand-carved over 700 pieces of 43 types of wood to create this piece in 1953. Next we see a kite he painted during his mission in Japan.
Fr. Michael Simone was ordained in 1956 and began his mission in Bolivia, where he worked as a parish priest. He then went to mission in the US, Chile, Venezuela, and Hawaii, teaching religion, art, and art history in parishes and in universities. Fr. Simone had a natural talent for art and studied painting later in life.