Title: “Mother Clelia, Mother and Teacher”
Technique: Oil painting
Dimension: 80×100 cm
Author: Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio
Iconographic Description of the Painting
This painting, intended to be a celebratory work of Mother Clelia, Foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is also meant to be, above all, a point of reflection that draws us to enter in, to get to know Mother Clelia’s charism and to experience the value that education held as part of her evangelizing mission.
The depiction portrays a younger Blessed Clelia approximately during the years of the founding of the Insitute. She has a soft, serene expression and a gaze that follows and accompanies the observer. Her youthfulness is not solely in time, but it is the youthfulness of one who knew Christ and who remained always young because she carried in her heart a fervent love that transformed itself into a zeal to make the Sacred Heart of Jesus, her sole point of reference, known and loved.
She is “Mother and Teacher,” the one who as a disciple learned from the crucified Christ the way to love without holding anything back and then sharing it with others through self-gift.
With rich symbolic meaning, the Foundress’ hands represent the central point of the composition. With her right hand Mother holds the Crucifix, pressing it close to her heart as if to become one with it yet revealing it to others at the same time. With her left hand she takes up the Word of God making her a “voice” to teach and form her daughters and those who take part in her apostolate.
The gesture of the hands is also deliberately reminiscent of her hands as reproduced in the urn containing her sacred remains which is kept in the Generalate of the Institute. One, closed, “welcomes” Christ and the other, open, offers itself and “gives”.
However, the message contained in the scroll shown in the lower left of the piece is even more explicit: “Trust in the Heart of Jesus and you will see miracles….” This is one of the most beautiful expressions of Blessed Clelia Merloni and it was also the “light” which guided her life. Despite moments of darkness and obscurity (represented by the dark sky forming the background behind her), this conviction was the light that illuminated her path on this earth and which she has left us as her lived experience.
Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio