WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Jill Campbell, Jacylyn Repchuk, Kayla Zimmerman, Amy Dittrich, Chenel Kimber, Lauren Henderson, Katie Henderson, Kayla MacIsaac and Thomas Fenton were among the 120 students at Ecole Sainte Marguerite d'Youville who painted the mural of the school's patron.
The life and work of St. Marguerite d'Youville, the founder of the Grey Nuns, is the focus of a new mural at Ecole Sainte Marguerite d'Youville (ESSMY) in St. Albert.
Guest artist Lewis Lavoie and art teacher Pam Wilman worked with 120 students to complete the mural honouring the school's patron saint. The project commemorated St. Albert's 150th anniversary and the work the Grey Nuns did in the community.
Several members of the Grey Nuns were on hand for the unveiling of the artwork in mid-December.
The project took more than a year of planning and research. The idea began with Wilman's desire to have her students redesign an existing mural as part of the City of St. Albert's 150th anniversary celebrations.
"We had a relief mural in the hallway that showed hands holding the Earth and from the Earth there was a rainbow. So we reclaimed that existing mural," Wilman explained.
St. Marguerite d'Youville became the focus of the new mural, compelling students to learn the history of the woman who founded the Grey Nuns.
The Grey Nuns, the Knights of Columbus and the Canadian Parents for French Education provided funding for the mural. Lavoie, who is known for his mural paintings, was asked to design the project and to work with the students to create the 17-by-7-foot art piece.
The 120 students involved painted 150 tiles for the mural.
"The purpose of the mural was to create a beautiful piece of art that will be present for future students to learn about the history of the Grey Nuns and their impact on the development of St. Albert," Wilman said Jan 19.
Guided by Lavoie, the senior high students did the 12 tiles that told the story of St. Marguerite's life. The junior high students painted the tiles that tell the story of the Grey Nuns.
"I helped put the final touches over the small tiles so they all sort of tie together," added Grade 11 student Amy Dittrich. "It was fun to work with other people and to help each other out to make it all unique."
With lots of help from Lavoie, Katie Henderson painted a tile depicting Marguerite d'Youville helping the elderly. "I felt honoured that I could be part of a mural that will last 10 or 15 years."
Jaclyn Repchuk painted a tile of Marguerite d'Youville giving to the poor. "I was very happy with how it turned out," Repchuk said of her work. "I was very honoured to know her story and what a selfless person she was."
"The Grey Nuns did so much for St. Albert. This city was built on the backs of the Grey Nuns," Lavoie told the St. Albert Gazette newspaper Dec. 14.
The artist's portrait of the saint is said to be true to the known portraits of Marguerite d'Youville.