On Sunday afternoon last an exhibition of paintings was opened in the “old kitchen” of the Guesthouse at Mount St Joseph Abbey.
The collection of about 40 paintings is by Galway artist, Sara Kyne. For two years Sara Kyne visited Mount St Joseph Abbey and recorded the monks in paintings. All the monks in the community are depicted in various different scenes, at prayer and at work.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, the Abbot, Dom Richard Purcell, recounted to the assembled guests the story of how the collection came about. Sara Kyne had previously completed a similar collection of paintings depicting the Benedictine nuns of Kylemore Abbey. She was anxious to embark on a similar project depicting monks. She contacted the monastery in March 2011, but the Abbot was away. Encouraged by the Prior, Fr Laurence Walsh, she came down to see the monastery and started into the collection there and then.
Over the last two years the collection has grown and taken on a life of its own. The artist visited the monastery almost every month over the last two years and has captured the buildings and scenery of Mount St Joseph Abbey in every season.
The collection entitled ‘Monks – Music – Mystery’ is on display in the oldest part nof the monastery buildings – the old kitchen of the former Mountheaton Mansion, now the Guesthouse of the monastery. The particular room dates from the beginning of the 18th century and with its vaulted ceilings and recessed windows, is full of character and the perfect home for this wonderful collection of paintings. Accompanying the collection is a catalogue containing 36 of the paintings in full colour together with a commentary or reflection on each of the pictures written by the Prior of the monastery, Fr Laurence Walsh. This catalogue, which has been beautifully designed, complements the collection perfectly. The exhibition of the paintings is open to the public for viewing daily from 2-6 pm and admission is free. The catalogue is available for purchase in the Abbey Giftshop at €10.