our lady of mount carmel by denise hopkins

“Never Alone” 15×8, oil on canvas $150.00 SOLD

I’ve been in Philly on a work trip that lasted an extra day due to some bad weather and cancelled flights. I wondered if I’d be able to make day 58 happen at all. I’d gotten ahead on my paintings but not far enough  ahead to account for extra travel days.

The first painting I posted while away was another madonna and child image– one a friend of mine immediately purchased. It wasn’t very long afterward, that I got an E-mail from a woman who’d recently lost her three-year-old son. She was interested in the image, and I am eager to do another, similar one for her. Her story deeply moved me. I stayed awake at night in my hotel room thinking about it.

My travel companion was also a mother who had suffered greatly. Quite some time ago, she lost her three month old to SIDS. We chatted about it on the plan and she told me it was a friend telling her to turn to Mary, who knew what losing a child was like, that ultimately brought her some peace. She said she imagined at that time she would grow into an angry and unhappy person, but that advice seemed to start the healing process.

As she was speaking, my heart was racing because I too received a very similar message when I lost my unborn children– it’s an experience I’ve written about on this blog many times.

When we landed, I received another message from the woman who’d recently lost her son. She told me why the image had spoken to her– she was taking comfort in not being alone, in Mary knowing what it is like watching her son suffer and in the end losing him .

Three women, three different experiences, and all three drawn to Mary, the mother of God, who knows and comforts. The same message to all three of us. And their stories shared with me on the very same day.

Later that day, I got another E-mail from a wonderful former student who asked me about an Our Lady of Mt. Carmel image I’d painted at least six months ago and had mentioned I’d revisit.

Today, tired from traveling, it was the only image that motivated me to paint. Because I had to stay an extra night in Philly, Ezra ended up at Mount Carmel Academy with Peter. The students have finished their school year and he got to pal around at work with his favorite pal.

This image felt right for today for so many reasons.