The inscription on the architect Sir Christopher Wren’s grave in St Paul’s Cathedral, bears the Latin inscription: ‘Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice’ – ‘Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you’.
Thankfully, parishioners in Drumragh with Mountfield, in Omagh, can survey the work of one of their own while she still enjoys good health and is in the full flush of youth.
The 14-year-old Drumragh parishioner has two 100x70cm canvases on display in St Columba’s Church, in the centre of Omagh. She painted 'Nails from the Cross' and 'Crown of Thorns' specially for Holy Week.
The teenager had already completed artistic reflections on the 8 beatitudes – paintings accompanied by verse – which can also be viewed in church and were shared online as a Lenten outreach initiative by St Columba’s for those in the parish who were unable to come to church.
“For these two big paintings I wanted to reflect Christ's suffering on the cross for all of us. It took me about a week and a half to complete them,” she says. “I was working on them basically every day. For ‘the Beatitudes’, I tried to do one a week, maybe two.
The young woman says her unusual Easter project has won the backing of friends and classmates. “A lot were surprised I decided to do something so big at this age, but they’ve been really supportive and they really like it.”
The curate in Drumragh with Mountfield, Rev Sean Hanily, says the church was keen to focus on Christ’s suffering during Holy Week. “Although we look forward to the message of hope of Easter Day, we must also be mindful of the suffering that led to that,” he says. "These paintings help us to do that in a very meaningful way."
Rev Hanily says the paintings will be displayed at the sides of the large 8-foot cross near the front of St Columba’s Church throughout the Easter period. Parishioners will be invited to leave a small stone at the foot of the cross, during a special service on Good Friday evening, to symbolise leaving their own burdens and suffering at the cross.