Although this page is much ado about me (and I don’t expect anyone other than friends and family to actually read it), I want the rest of the site to be about people, places and things that I find wonderful, beautiful, mysterious, intriguing, inspiring... and hope visitors to the garden will as well.
About 5 years into my “saintly inspired” artworks, I came to realize that I have a special affinity for the Celtic (particularly Irish) saints. Although many of my patrons and friends strongly believe in “past lives,” I lean more toward “genetic memories,” and it bothers me that I have yet to find a Celtic branch anywhere on the family tree. (Though my son Geoff has recently created a Celtic offshoot by marrying Maureen and producing Kaerigan and Rowan.)
My Catholic heritage is all-German and all-female...
So, yet another reason why I feel Hildegard speaks to me: a Germanic connection.
If you read (when you have time to spare, LOL) “About the Artist” on the SaintsPreserved site, you’ll find out how one particular aunt inspired me. My mother was the youngest of 7 sisters, my Aunt Marie, the eldest. They were the daughters of Jacob and Dolores Hutzelman, a country doctor and a “daring” nurse. (The story of my beekeeping grandfather can be found at St. Gobnait’s place.)
My grandmother scandalized the family by becoming a nurse. Marrying a doctor who not only graduated at the top of his class, played varsity football and commuted from the family farm, 30 miles from UC Medical College, on the motorcycle he built himself, somewhat mitigated their misgivings. However, he was a Lutheran (actually a Humanist) and consequently never quite measured up.
Two of my grandmother’s sisters did honor the family by becoming nuns:
Mary Grace Julia (known to our family as “Aunt Julie”) eventually became “Mother Genevieve” at the Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, which she helped found. She was a teacher, principal, and director of the kitchen, specializing in the subjects of history and religion.
She died when I was a toddler, so I never got to know her, but it sure sounds like Hildegard would have greatly appreciated her!
Mercedes (aka “Sister Mary Berchmans” — I believe she was a Dominican) remains a mystery to me and my cousins. We vaguely remember hearing about “Aunt Mercedes,” whom we all of course associated with the car. Ironically, the only picture extant (so far) is of her standing in front of a car and thinking about shooting off an arrow:
Her sister Bunty appears to be devilishly gleaming at her. The most I remember of “Aunt Bunty” were clicking tongues and jokes about her, and that she and her husband were entrepreneurs in shady ventures such as breeding greyhounds for racing.
But whatever happened to [Great] Aunt Mercedes? I’d like to think she ran off to rescue the greyhounds.
My grandmother had quite a few siblings, and their father was a carpenter named Joseph, who made a roll-top desk for his son-in-law, the doctor. My son Joseph will one day inherit it, and it will be quite the anachronism in his high-tech profession! My St. Joseph Anachron is dedicated to both of them.
These were a few of my mother’s aunts. Whether they had an influence on her, I have no idea. She was a nursing student when she met my dad (a WASP Methodist), married, had my brother and me, then went on to pursue degrees in painting, pottery and Art Therapy.
My own aunts however, had great influence on me. Mother was the youngest of the sisters, but the first (of only 3) to marry. They were all in medical professions deemed suitable for women born in the ‘20s: dietitian, hospital photographer, chemist, and 3 RNs. Several of my pieces in the Saints Preserved Collection are dedicated to them.
So I also have the “nuns,” “medical,” “creative arts” connections.
(If you’ve had enough of this exciting narrative, I do hope you’ll visit some other spots in the garden that you might find truly interesting...)
We’d love to hear your own stories.
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