Schönstatt - Begegnungen

A World of Colors and Settings - And Always the Shrine in the Light

Paul Cooper, Manchester: Shrine Art, Witness of Covenant Reality

 

 
 
 
Fotos: Cooper © 2001
Paul Cooper, Manchester
Foto: PressOffice Schönstatt, mkf © 2001

(mkf) The pictures of Manchester artist Paul Cooper are more or less all centered around one subject: the Schoenstatt Shrine. The Shrine in the midst of ruins; the Shrine in garden settings, surrounded by flowers; the Shrine in view of Pentecost or Christmas; the Shrine with flames, contrasting colors the unifying feature of all the pictures being the motive of light: the Shrine in the Light, light from the Shrine illumining the world, an inbreak of light into the Shrine.

End of May, while visiting Schoenstatt, Paul Cooper, a member of the Schoenstatt families' in Manchester, England, brought two folders with photos of all of his pictures to Press Office Schoenstatt. The pictures, he shared, are a mirror of his own covenant history, witnesses of the reality that Schoenstatt members call "Covenant of Love". He had never thought of bringing his pictures to the public, "but when they can help others to see the Blessed Mother working in their life, I am ready to pass on these pictures. I see myself as an instrument. It would not be possible for me to do a picture on demand. I only paint what lives in me. When these pictures are of any use for Schoenstatt, I am open for

The Reality of the Home Shrine

When Paul Cooper, an art teacher like his wife, began with the "Shrine art" he had never physically been in a Shrine. "We only have our Shrine in England since last year," he said. "I only came to Germany for the first time a few years ago, before, the children were little and there was just no opportunity to go." He gave up teaching art and brought up his children after the death of his wife. "At first the pictures were a way of working through the death of my wife," he adds. "I did not know much about Schoenstatt then. I had a home shrine, and that was a very powerful experience." From him, the pictures are an expression of his covenant with the Blessed Mother and the love for the Shrine, rooted in the home shrine experience. "I got a picture of the Shrine from the priest who actually started Schoenstatt here; it was through him that I got in touch with Schoenstatt, like most of us here. The picture of the Shrine meant a lot to me from the very beginning."

The Shrine in the Light

The erection of the Shrine in England, Paul Cooper said, had a strong impact on his pictures. The time of preparation once the actual construction had started was a very intensive one "We really want our MTA to set England afire!" He has a series of "Shrines under construction". It's a real joy for the artist to now know the Shrine so close. The unifying feature of all the pictures being the motive of light: the Shrine in the Light, light from the Shrine illumining the world, an inbreak of light into the Shrine, persons made of light entering the Shrine and at the same time setting out from there, Mary, her instruments, and the Shrine as a oneness of light.

Several visitors of Press Office Schoenstatt paged through the folders meanwhile. "These pictures radiate something," a South African lady said. "How great that we can express Schoenstatt not only in words but in pictures also, and that God created people with such a talent!" "That's really intense," said a member of the families' league. "One should do something with such pictures." What to do with the pictures, Paul Cooper says, is "due to Divine Providence. An exhibition, maybe. I don't have concrete plans, the Blessed Mother will show what she has in mind."

 

 
Foto: Cooper © 2001

 



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