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Missionary sisters serve as Vatican Museum guides to unearth God's mercy in art

2017-01-22

Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael...these artists' masterpieces are being used to send a message of faith and mercy to pilgrims at the Vatican. 
 
Despite the rise of social media, the appreciation for classic art and beauty has not deminished. Instead, Sister Emmanuela Edwards, with the Missionaries of Divine Revelation, is one sister who is transforming the language of art to one of faith. 

She, and the rest of her order, reveal God's beauty to pilgrims in Rome as the official art and faith guides for the Vatican museums in St. Peter's Basilica. Also known as the "green” nuns, this green-clad sister spoke about art that touches a place where rationality is avoided and where faith is able to take root. 

SISTER EMMANUELA EDWARDS
Missionaries of Divine Revelation
"When we find ourselves before a great masterpiece, it goes to a place in the heart that avoids rationality and in that place, rationally, we don't use our reason, and therefore it has the ability to touch the heart.”

With the emergence of social media, the way photos are shared and consumed now differs greatly from the past. Sister explained that the average person is exposed to 247 photos daily, and each photo, therefore, has more importance to the viewer. 

SISTER EMMANUELA EDWARDS
Missionaries of Divine Revelation
"We have to make sure that the images we use to transmit the faith are the ones that carry a real message and something that can warm the heart of this generation, which often feels a little bit lost perhaps.”

In the heart of Rome, surrounded by original, classic pieces, Sister Emmanuela hopes each trip inside the museum will be a "chance for an encounter with God.” Even an image of the prodigal son, she explains, has the power to elicite emotions of being refound, accepted and forgiven by God. 

SISTER EMMANUELA EDWARDS
Missionaries of Divine Revelation
"Whether people are young or old, art has this ability to speak. And as long as we learn the language of how to make it speak, then I think we can speak to people of all generations of the Lord's love. And I think that's the challenge worth stepping up to as well.”

The next time a classic image is on display, see if it's possible to find a message of faith hidden amongst the beauty. 


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