TEXTS ON ART : Image number img830.
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tugging by these objects that are opening. And then, what was being born from all that?
It is certain that it comes from a hope and I was living something in our congregation
that was very new, there is no other congregation that lives like that at present. We in
fact made great changes in terms of our structures. We no longer live in the same way.
It is no longer a Sister Superior which manages a group; it's now called network
presidents that take care of dealing with an aspect such as the pastoral aspect, another
the teaching aspect with children, another is the leadership aspect and we are grouped
in that way and we do not take borders into consideration anymore.
I found myself president of a network and I was taking care of people who lived in
Africa, in Asia, in the United States, in Haiti. A whole other experience. So, we translate
this experience into a Word '' I am here to do something new'' and that's the essence
of Sacred Art which I am learning with Monique, it is to express in pictures a message
that told me a lot because we had meetings. So there I said to Monique, I said I could
maybe show you exactly what I did at faith school, it is what is called a pilgrimage in the
Bible, a guided tour. So I started with the phrase ''I am here to do something new''
Is 43.19 and it is this phrase that is illustrated.

The tearing that you lived, in other words the tensions that you lived in the things that
seemed to be opposed, and then from that, the hope that you could have something
come out of that that was an unknown that you had to define virtually as you were
drawing, which took shape every time, I imagine that you traced a line ... I imagine,
I do not know? That's how it kept coming?

That's how it comes and it is always under the eye of the master. She does not say you'll
do this in such a way. She lets me do it. Then me ... she gave me ... I was finding you
know, so. If I look at the lower part I found that I did not like my drawing, that it was too
big. The days were progressing. But you see, my idea of perfection. So I would always
rather ask myself, what do I want to translate as a message? What do I want to translate?
Then I noticed one day for example, I found this in my notes, at some point I think she
said something like, you know, she said, concerning the form and colour we feel the anguish
that is almost one third of the sheet but to enter into the image of the renewal you have two
thirds of the sheet ... Oh! That really helped me, eh ... There is more renewal and less tearing ...
so she said, work towards the renewal, stop thinking of always working ... I

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wanted to give more texture because, do not forget, that she makes us work with just three
colours, in this there is only red gouache, blue gouache and then yellow gouache, then the
three primary colours. So then she makes me do the colours… so I have to work the colours.
And we work on a very, very simple piece of paper... So you see, this woman has the
faith that from very simple means, from people who have very little initiation to painting, it
can be beginners like her disabled ... then she will find in us, that is what she is doing to us...
we go and find something in ourselves... Well, one day she told me, you see it was the 7th
of November, it had been long enough that I was working on the little ball at the bottom,
the tearing, then she made me… she told me things like that. So ... I was worried about
technique ... You see, she told me things about a work of art but rather the
relationship between the artist and his theme that has to be exploited at more than 80%.
So then I worked instead. If you notice, there is a small bud that comes out of this tearing
and there under the action of God who says '' I am here to do something new'', it flourishes.
That's what I wanted to translate ... You understand, every time I came back with my eye
that wants perfection, it is not enough ... I want it to flourish more ... so you know ... but it is
rather me, my message ... that is ultimately being able to express Sacred Art.

That's right, but you did not choose the less perfect flowers, a rose!

It became like that.

Is it a rose?

Ah! I have not named it . It is fulfillment ...

Oh! I see it as a rose with many petals.

That's right, fulfillment ... So you see, after that she said that for me being before
God was the light. I did not have a lot of space, you know there ... and she told
me that it could be something other than the light that shows the action of God, it
can be a hand ... it may be not be necessary that it be the whole person of God
that be there, that I should Imagine

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my hand that I tried to do ... I wanted to put it in the light but she said you can maybe ...
Do you see? Small suggestions. But I worked long before she ... But I had a lot of
difficulty with my hand, it was terrible. So she said when she saw that, she said maybe
if you traced your hand, you cut it up and you place it where you want and where you
want it...

Basically she does not suggest to you how to do the hand, but perhaps a way to
solve your problem ...

Because it was necessary that I advance ... so it remains to put that light there.
You see the touch of God who comes to do something new, when I worked it like that.

Then the hand it's you ... it's you who is giving yourself birth finally.

No, it's the touch of God! Oh yes it's true, because we: we must help ourselves.
We must really help ourselves.

You know, in fact, it is a combination of both, the action of God by inspiration
that comes from within and when you have the hand that is real that is concrete that comes…

That's why we felt that it is very, very simple paper, cheap one might say.
Then she invites us. That I found it difficult because I like watercolours, you know
the colours as they are. Then she said if you varnish it it will prevent mould and then
it will give it relief. So on that I trusted her. And she even made me iron it upside down!
I was scared! Iron that paper!


Do not dilute your colours

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No. And I really trusted her when she asked me to do these things ...
because the varnish ... it is ... I do not know, we started from what question?
I do not remember.

Ah well, just how Monique brought you to Sacred Art...

Ah yes! The retreat.

So the retreat, Monique told me at one point, she said I said something and
Louise, a very special lady, she's gone, she had an idea in her head, so she
locked herself up I don’t know how many days, two or three days in her room
and she was thinking ... It's that I'm not sure if it was inside a retreat or whether
it was simply because you were there ... you were looking ...

Yes, there was something I was looking for. I can translate it for you in the sense that,
as I told you ... You see it lasted all the time before Christmas and then at some point
Monique’s intervention was very discreet. And she talks a lot, about a lot of things all the
time we are painting that is not necessarily about Sacred Art. I came to take a course
in Sacred Art, so I wanted to know more about Sacred Art. Of course she gave me a
lot to read but I think that when the teacher is with us there are things that come out of
the teacher that is new. So I thought rather what that person could teach me? What
came from herself? She spoke so little of Sacred Art throughout the course. She said
she liked to come because I was there and that we talked about all sorts of things that
she liked to hear me talk about, and many times she loved being silent and look at my
brush go. Then, for her, she fell into a kind of contemplation: she spoke no more. So
because I noticed that a certain number of people who went to her classes had left. So
I told myself at first that Monique who talks a lot but does not speak of Sacred Art,
that maybe for some people to whom you do not say you should do it like this or like
that…but I understand the teacher who simply accompanies. A spiritual master, it is true,
simply accompanies ...

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So, as master painter she accompanies her student in their personal expression.

Yes ... yes ...

And that is what was not understood by the others that left, don’t you think?

And especially during the first class she had spoken much and she had asked us to do
things, then maybe I say at a first glance, a first approach to Monique, that maybe when
you make yourself a quick opinion, perhaps that is why there are some who have left ...
then me ... after three months I rather said to myself that there is something in Monique
that is inside of her and is to be expressed. So that's why my reflection was firstly for me.
Who is Monique for me? And after that I'm going to translate to her what I mean. So
that's what I wrote her and then I read it to her. I suppose that what I read to her is what
remains with her today. Like anything when talking to someone it is always as you said
earlier the listening but eh we decode, we take for yourself but we decode and after we
say it in another way. Then you for sure she translated a little differently eh.


After some months ... then she translates it with her admiration, ouf, one must remain very
simple with me, it is not nothing ...


Yes that's it and then not to judge her from certain criteria you know? It is a bit like the artist.
There are those who will work with watercolours, others will use a spatula, then others will
have modes of expression ... and the approach let us say, the idea ... did Monique ever
discuss with you her idea of a Sacred Art foundation, maybe just a little

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bit. I think it's an idea that is completely new for her ... I feel that this has just come out...
her last intuition. I have the feeling that this is her most recent intuition… added to the fact
that she teaches to the intellectually deficient or the physically handicapped…according to
you is there a search for something in…with these people or not…

I look at Monique and I know that Monique believes, whatever the cost, in Sacred Art as
an art that expresses a message and the message comes from within us. Then, you see,
she sees even in weak people, limited, that there are riches other than what we see. That
is a message.

In fact, that is what she wants to demonstrate by working with these people.

She works with these people and also I went to see their exhibition. And it is true,
it is true to... believe that through these paintings that sometimes we will call naive,
there's really someone who wants to express something ... See the person behind it.
And for me it is already a message to see Monique takes time to go towards these people…
What do we do? We reject them.

Usually… yes

It's true!

The first reaction is that you are not comfortable.

We are not comfortable ...

That's it...

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And then ... perhaps we are too fast to say that they are finished! You see there are
people who started painting at the age of 67, 75 years old ... and discovered that
they had talents. Why that in the heart of these people… as there is one I think
that had to learn to paint with his mouth ... another paints with his feet. So the call
to surpass oneself eh, challenges that permit us to believe in ourselves, yes.

Maybe this is the goal… that pushes her.

In any case, this reflects what is in her, of this faith in people. For me, it may have
been the day when I read her my letter, it could have been then eh? She believes in
what she believes and she continues to believe at all costs and against all odds eh?
Even a little absurd eh it's almost absurd to believe that something will come out of
it but when you look at it not with the eyes as they say that the house must be perfect,
it must be right, but someone who wants to express something ... which is locked in;
so he made a house with no window, no door. It is not because he does not know,
but he is locked up and he translates it by drawing a house.

Ah yes ... there is always a meaning ... to finally bring the person who made this
drawing to say, but what does that mean? It reminds me that one day I was in her
studio with her handicapped and then, I remember that yes ... every time she looked
at one, she said; good, what does that tell you, what do you mean by that…or…
well do you think ... I do not know ... how you wanted to do it, you know, she always
returns the person to himself ... you know ... trying to discover, but as you say it
demands a faith that can lift mountains because there are times there ... I tell you ...

There are blotches , they spill the pots ...

Finding the meanings, that is not obvious ... it is certainly not obvious.
Ah yes, there are times where they'll put a title, and then the title ... I do
not know, I can not see the connection ... you know ... but there is one for
them. There was one who at one point he had a card and then he said, probably
a trisomic, in any case he had a hard time talking,

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then he said it's a card for my little sister who died or my father who died in any
case it was someone close who had died and he had made a card but we would
have to have known eh ... I did not know ... but she managed to make him say
that it was that, you know?

Yes ... even if the drawing is not pretty it expresses something eh? God knows it's
important that we can express ourselves. There are many ways to express. There
are some that it is in music, others in song, others in writing, others it is in painting,
others it is in sculpture. There are many ways to express oneself.

Have you seen many of her works?



Well yes she had an exhibition last year and I went, a retrospective, yes, and then
at this point it is sure that you say that you are piercing the mystery of a person
because she also expresses herself in her paintings. You see? So I went there like
with great respect towards someone who is revealing herself eh ... I liked it; I liked
it, yes. When I arrive before a painter I like to strip myself of everything I think and
I say to myself that in front of me there is a person who is saying something in her way.
So I cannot say I like or not. I can not say that, I say this is this person and I look at
that and then I find that there is a lot of talent in the way she expresses herself.


What does it say in your roll?


Before showing it to you I want to find the psalm that inspired me. You see
I have it here. I wanted to have a cithara one day... this is it: ''My heart is ready,
O God. My heart is

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Ready; I want to sing, I want to play for you! Awake, my glory; awake, harp,
cithara, that I awaken the dawn!'' And there also I researched, eh. She made me
work on it, it is the praise, it is my heart that is ready to praise you, I expressed it
later with the strings.

That's the idea that made you ...

The harp! so I began by expressing the harp. (we change paintings)


The brilliance ...

Yes (it is installed) Thus my heart is ready situates the person. Then strength to do it,
you see, things came to me. Example: the dawn. I wanted to show dawn eh, the light
and then it reminded me that David was very fond of dancing before the ark, eh. He
translated his admiration for God by dancing before the ark.

This is what we see at the top.


Yes ... and then the dawn ... then suddenly one day I thought I was not showing
enough that it was ''at the break of dawn I awake,'' Awaken your glory, so I thought
that the symbol would be the morning rooster...

That you put in the heart ...

Who is at the heart of me ... the person ... I did not want to put traits, non because
I thought it was the person, the human being, the person. Can you see the dance, the

PAGE 390

in the fields ... it's the dance it is expressed there. Then the blue which is cut by the dawn,
the night. The night is behind me, the light is in front of me ... and then my harp ... it's there
that she showed me how to make my strings. We put a sting in the gouache, and we just
made the string snap, pulling it and letting it fall. Here I wanted to correct them. She said
no, we leave them as they are. That's right ... You see it just to signify, signify ... to think.


I was not doing Sacred Art at that moment, it was doing those things.

That was before starting with Monique?

Yes, yes ... You see this was the day of my Potter’s retreat, it's called retreat of the
potter. I made this in July 1992. It is empty! A feeling that I have when I put myself in
a state of waiting…waiting in a state of waiting on this morning of July 17th , 1992. So
how did it expressed itself. It's like this ... (she shows me a drawing) the waiting, hands
ready to receive ... good in all cases, things like that, but she makes us write them... it
might be like that that I have written in relation to the second canvas ... You see ... I
still have things on there ... on ... look you see I worked there, I was trying to translate
invasion, you see there, the morning, the dawn, I worked a bit like that. These drawings
reflect my difficulty in translating what I want to express ... my looks, contemplations ...
reproductions of artists marvel at their ability to translate emotions, values ... and it
reflects the freedom of creativity. So I wrote that, that past. Then I said it to Monique
when I arrive and there is where she corrects me and tells me her thoughts ... because
when I saw her exhibition she said: Do not even think of copying me ... but I did not feel
like copying her but I am still dissatisfied because for me I do not translate in my painting
want I want to express.

O. K. so you were still stuck on something that we might call stereotypical ...

That's education. You see like my cithara, I made it a bit like that, you know like how
I saw it before... I wanted to put my star in the night but she said, in Sacred Art, we must

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break the symbols that are too currents, which become commercial. So she is a step
ahead of us Monique and it is that that is not yet sufficiently recognized. She is really
apart from the others, that's artists, at one point they are apart from other schools.

It's always that way for pioneers.

Ah yes, it really is .***


Ah yes ... I really like the two you showed me ... because we will work two aspects
of Sacred Art. Sacred Art that is called secular and religious Sacred Art. So now
actually, I do not know, maybe its my perception, but your source of inspiration is religious.

Yes ... yes I understood that, yes

Your source of inspiration is religious, that would fit perhaps, I do not know ...

Perhaps a spiritual dimension.

Yes that’s it, it is a spiritual dimension that is there.

That's it ... that's it ... then that's my learning because if you notice before…its not for
nothing that I wanted to show you the other paintings before. The other sources of inspiration,
it was my way of seeing when I make a canvas. How many times I'll drive and I think oh!
this would be beautiful. Already I'm composing a canvas in what I see. So I would want
to translate them all because I love colours and I also love nature ... I love nature a lot.
So that's the source of inspiration. My source of inspiration is not exterior anymore,
my source of inspiration in Sacred Art calls me to believe what I am living.

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Then I must try to express it and then it has to become a message like she told me.
Here I am the one who has the message but does it becomes a message for others?
That's something.

It's like if you were the bearer of that message through that vehicle.

But you know I feel that I understand Monique that in Sacred Art there is also the
message, the language becomes… it's not so much ... I do not know how to tell you
that ... the emotion should be translated... it should arouse emotion ... It's something
you know

There's nothing of the head in there, it comes from the heart ...

Yes ... supposedly ...

***** (The interview continues a few pages, but all that relates to Monique was
transcribed in what you have read.)

***** (End of the FILE: ‘’teaching in ‘’Sacred Art’’’’.)


(Bio., page: 2723) (1998 - 99)

***** (Some excerpts from a notebook.)


I only lived
for it,
it envelops me
console me
and protects me.

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(Chagall style)

on waking
I saw that my
cat had
an eyebrow
and I a halo.

I love Bob Dylan because it is
victory of the joy of living
on the drama of existence.

Monique J. 1 / 1 / 99

Canvas to do

''The Song of
Maximilian Kolbe''

In memory of my art
history teacher, with
compassion and gratitude.

***** (Monique ''discovered'' St-Maximilian Kolbe in her studies of ‘’Marial life’’,
she immediately made the connection between this man who died in Nazi concentration
camps and a teacher she had known at the School of Fine Arts in Montreal. I leave
Monique to explain it to you as she has recounted it to me: - In my first year at the
Fine Arts, we had a course in art history and I took advantage of this course to rest ,
and doze off a bit between two workshops. The teacher was of a certain age and
spoke with a slight accent. I remember that at the last course through my ‘’sleepiness’’,
I heard him say that he had been incarcerated in a concentration camps during
World War II. He mentioned it discreetly just to inform us of how far some work
travelled through the social upheavals and that he had been forced to ''authenticate''
some in the camp itself, some works that the Germans had stolen. I spontaneously
sprung out from my sleepiness, thoughts rushed through my head; this man has lived
through the camps and I slept all year during his

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lectures!!! His view on Art is not just bookish, I missed an authentic testimony of
great value. I was upset, after the class I went down to see him and I apologized
for my conduct. I asked him if I could ask him some questions about his experiences
in the camps. He smiled and said no, that he rarely spoke of that and that he had
done it in the course just to highlight a fact. I apologized again, I was very moved
and I held him tightly in my arms and then I left. Unfortunately, the following year
he was gone. So when I discovered Maximilian Kolbe, I decided to paint a picture
of him in memory of this teacher.''
Monique briefly described to me what she meant to paint. This would be a
‘’camaïeu’’ (a monochrome painting) ... She chose to represent him in the
environment of the death camps; buildings in the background, a silhouette, a
matriculated forearm, all of this done with subtlety and evocation ... nothing grotesque .

***** (Monique started a painting on the Biblical theme ‘’The three tents’’ in
the summer of 2004 that remains unfinished.(Ref. to canvas no. : 2004-005 in album 1).
She had also asked me that summer to prepare a canvas for the Maximilian Kolbe
painting that she was about ready to start.)


(Bio., page: 2738) (2004)

***** (Comment from a notebook.)

‘’... 1

When I came back
from south America
for sure, they all said:
(criticism) that they did
not get involved with
''naive'' art (since
my sacred art is figurative.)
When I reported this
''statment'' in France,
the people laugh so hard
while speaking of Quebec:
''So Raphael was a

PAGE 395

naive painter! ! !''


It is not I
who decides what
gallery directors
say ( to art critics).
If they want
me O. K., I will be
there; but if they do not
accept me, what can I do! ! !''


(Bio., page: 2739) (2004)

***** (Notes in another notebook: thoughts and reflections.)

One aspect of knowledge is grasping.
When we paint, we grasp with reality.

Ok for self-transcendence, from the beginning, etc.. etc.. etc..
So a painting based on the Essential.
Gradually (later), I grasped the nature of the themes I was exploiting.
They made me think, and discern the foundations of human thought. (1)
(1) The universal thought, consciously or unconsciously. My journey towards
consciousness, it itself indicated to me the parameters of the universal path.

In comparing my themes and those of different cultures, I became aware of
the differences and of the links to make (e.g. Africa - violence and sexuality,
Northeast –Europe – violence BUT hidden sexuality.)
Today: describe the ''silhouette'' of a profile of the sacred.


PAGE 396

(Bio., page: 2745) (2004 - 05)

***** (FILE: Interview with Monique on Sacred Art. The following is
an interview that I was preparing with Monique in autumn (November, December 2004).


Everyone said ''civilized'', agrees that life has been ‘’desacralised’’.
And now you Monique Jarry, you come to us with a ‘’sacrelised’’
vision of life! ! ! You bring us a new concept; on top of the ‘’religious’’
Sacred that we already know, among others in Sacred Art, and as we
know you are yourself an artist in Sacred Art. Here you are bringing to
us a new concept in the Theology of Beauty in Art: The secular Sacred.

Q - What was your path to come to Sacred Art?

M. J. - Firstly I must say that I am of Acadian culture by
my mother. My mother is originally from the Island of Lameque. This
Acadian culture is mystic and very open to the arts. In
Montreal I felt alien to the surrounding culture.
In this context, early in my career, my painting was
primarily a social criticism, a denunciation of
contemporary unconsciousness. At one point I had enough
of being in anguish and I started to want to express Beauty,
freedom oriented towards Sacred Art. This was the beginning of a
search for the expression of the Absolute. It thus was easier for me
to identify myself with the Christian culture
as an Acadian than to identify myself with Quebec culture. And it
is through Sacred Art that I came out of my
cultural isolation.
When I approached Sacred Art in a conscious way about thirty years ago,
at that time the Abrahamic religions rang a bell, it
meant something to me, Moses and Monotheism also of course.
I feel that by being realistic in all simplicity, the first thing

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was that there was only one God and it seemed to me obvious.
As I said at the time I had enough of being stressed and I started
to want to express beauty, freedom oriented towards Sacred Art. This was the
beginning of a search for the expression of the Absolute. Should we believe that
knowledge is a quest for the Absolute? It appeared to me plausible.

Q - The Sacred leads to knowledge?

M. J. - Today I think and in the days that come, that this only God is pretty obvious.
But I think this is not the first question to ask. I think that
we must first get a clear vision of what knowledge is and after,
when one is a Christian like me, we immediately ask ourselves what is
theology and then what seemed obvious to us as like the Holy Trinity for
example becomes something theoretical. Yes, others before me have developed
theories about God and have developed this theory of the Trinity. Of course they
will say it's written in the Bible.
Then of course to return to knowledge, I am struck by the fact
that there are three great paths to knowledge, the Good: good or evil, the
True: true or untrue, to be scientific (laughing) and finally: Beauty. But
I am struck by something suddenly, I consider them as paths to
knowledge, but I have not yet elaborated on what is knowledge.
It is Certain that I am still in agreement with a passed opinion
which said that painting was an approach of the beautiful. It was at that
time, for me, that Sacred Art became a matter of inspiration, of the
Presence, of the search for the Absolute. I am still in agreement with these
A tradition in our spirituality reveals that the artist seeks to capture Beauty
which is an attribute of God ... it's possible.
In fact, it's more than possible. It is obvious that Beauty, the Good and the True
are attributes of God and it is these attributes that knowledge is trying to
address and I would say at least is trying to vampirise. (Laughs) Yes, I would also
say that painting is an empirical approach, it is evident, especially when we
compared it to theology that has established the foundations of our Christian
religion up till now. The approach of Beauty in painting, for example,
is certainly much more empirical. It often seems that what
is empirical is less clear, less solid than what theorists bring.
Yet it seems that when we painted and that we have this empirical approach to
Beauty, to me, we are doing something, we are doing something concrete, so then
when we do theological theory, the something that we are doing is
not necessarily concrete.

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Yes, talking about the empiricalism of painting, when I was a teenager, with my
friends, they called me at the same time ‘’the philosopher’’ but also they said
‘’Ti'Loup is empirical’’, considering this, it seemed that
I was less clear than other theorists, less real, less objective.
But I thought that when we have an approach to Beauty in painting
for example, at least we are doing something concrete and painting is very down to
earth compared to theory. Because theory, anyone can take
a sheet of paper and sit down, and then make various theories, it
requires no special knowledge to return to the word knowledge,
no well-defined discipline, theory is theory. Finally, this is what
I wanted to say, I wanted to talk about empiricalism: talk about the reality side of
empiricalism. When I say that I was in agreement with this tradition that associates
knowledge, the Beautiful, the Good, the True as attributes of God, I want
also to say that God is not only Absolute but HE Is perfection..
Finally, the Sacred testifies about knowledge, of course we must remain cautious
about the interpretation of works.

Q - In your lectures, you talk about the Beautiful, the Good and True, as
three paths to reach God. You privilege the Beautiful: Why?

M. J. - It is true that the Beautiful is without fault, that is to say that the Good implies
evil, Truth, knowledge versus ignorance. We could say that the Beautiful
implies the ugly, but that is subjective and therefore without fault. Personally,
I believe that Beauty is the shortest path to reach God.

Q - It is obvious that one associates Sacred Art with icons. Do you consider
your work and those of your students as icons?

M. J. - The definition of the word icon that is given in the Petit Larousse is:
It is a Russian word, from the Greek ''eilkonion'' meaning, a small image.
Sacred image, in the churches of Eastern Christian rite. And the word ''sacred''
is defined as referring to religion, the divine. Character which
transcends humanity. And I remember very well that it adds between
parentheses: as opposed to profane. I disagree with the latter
Sacred Art is that which seeks to express the Absolute, the divine. As
S. Esther says, a contemporary artist: ''The artist seeks to capture Beauty
which is an attribute of God.'' A landscape can have something
religious! Of God! God is in the search for beauty of the artist;

PAGE 399

it is in the inspiration, the transcendence of the artist ...''Sacred Art is to paint
with the finger of God.'' Religious art is part of Sacred Art, but sometimes it
can be diverted and express nothing in terms of interiority, of the Presence, of
the search for the Absolute.

Q - A religious painting is not necessarily sacred?

M. J. - No! Not for me anyway. These occidental virgins that they depict:
Secular ideal of beauty of women of a particular time. This does
not answer to a quest for ''Absolute'' without which there is no Sacred. Or these
rotting Christ’s for which it is clear that there is no resurrection… here are
at least two major reasons for a religious painting not to be Sacred.

Q - And art can be Sacred without being religious?

M. J. - Of course! The love of nature, the love for our children, the right to
work, all that is sacred!

Q - In what you listed as being fundamental themes of Sacred Art,
you name sexuality and violence and other themes that we
do not tend to associate with Sacred Art be it secular or religious:

M. J. - I speak of the loss of meaning of the Sacred in occident ... when we talk about
the sexual I give as an example the primitive religions. Primitive religions give
great place to the sexual, but when the occident studies this question, it
transforms the sexual into sexuality and then we completely lost the meaning
and there is no more Sacred.
In short, these issues are greatly associated with the Sacred in some cultures.
Eroticism, the sexuality and violence in Africa, for example, yes, but obviously not as
much in Christianity.

Q - Is there any specific requirements for a work to be considered

M. J. - Sure I can give a course on secular art, but I am to the point that I
no longer see the difference between a class in secular Art and an art class
in Sacred Art. I see the difference between a religious Sacred Art class and a non

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religious one, but I think that any painting that is genuine, that is sincere
is sacred. It will perhaps not be on religious themes, but it will be on
themes that are sacred, that our society has ‘’desacralised’’ since
fifty years with all its revolutions.

Q - Must Sacred Art be necessarily figurative?

M. J. - No. Let us recapitulate a few of the major themes of Sacred Art: the vastness,
emptiness, bedazzlement before Beauty, solitude, violence, abundance,
the Presence, union, etc.. All these issues can probably be represented by
figurative themes, yes, but of course, through abstract compositions also.

Q - In addition to having taught Sacred Art for six years at the Diocesan Formation
Centre which is affiliated with the University of Montreal, you have taught
painting to the intellectually disabled for many years. Is Sacred Art
within their grasp?

M. J. - Some would say ''like for everyone else!'' I would talk about the ''essential'' that
always takes precedence in the lives of these students. There is never anything
trivial for the intellectually disabled.

Q - You also taught to the physically handicapped, there are even some who painted
with their mouths or with their feet. Furthermore you have taught to
elderly people that we're loosing their autonomy either physically or mentally.
Have you noted any difference in what they regard as sacred?

Mr. J. - Yes ... my students are often considered marginal, indeed. But
from one group to another, from marginal to marginal, they represent an
important portion of our societies! Let us pause for a moment: the right to work
for example is Sacred. Let us look for a moment what this right represents for these
people and we will feel the sacred importance of this right for them across
current consideration: for example, money attached to work. You see
that this incentive is not the main motivation for each of them ...
I will summarize as follows: I initiated Sacred Art to the physically disabled at the
Center Hospitalier d'Youville, the mentally disabled and to other
student at the Diocesan Forming Center. I had hundreds of students
that followed one or another of the sessions, but there are about fifteen, among them,
which continue to deepen this approach with me. I try to make them

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understand that Sacred Art is a process of reality, of the affirmation of
interiority. It's sort of going in search of your Christian identity,
it is to choose oneself.
This creative work requires complete commitment, especially for the
physically disabled. It's amazing how it structures them, assign them to
themselves in reality. There are some who came out of confusion episodes
because of the art workshops. For me, Sacred Art is a way of seeking God, of
knowledge. This is also a theology of the image. It can help unify ones
personal identity, cultural and spiritual. In terms of evangelism,
as they say a picture is worth a thousand words, a Sacred Art painting can
be a popular catechism. Consider an example; people will not want
to listen to a sermon on the Trinity but listen willingly to an
explanation of a painting expressing this theme! Before an image people
react more spontaneously, they are less insecure than in juggling with
words to make theory. All this to say how much, especially
people who in pastoral, would give themselves an advantage by training
in Sacred Art. And in general terms, we must all find the meaning of what
is sacred in our society, whether in religious Sacred Art and even more
in Secular Sacred Art. If you allow, I would add this as a
last comment on this subject: I was also invited on occasion, to different
places in the province to teach Sacred Art in intensive, that is
to say four or five days in a row.
I found the experience so rewarding because of the communication that we
had together, that I tell myself that even in St-Jérôme, although we can see
each other regularly, we should have had intensive periods because it is
not the same thing. The intimacy, the communication that we had between us,
the sharing, is much more than just three hours per week. Because three hours
per week, you know, one week you feel good, a week you do not feel good,
it takes you an hour and a half to get into it, and then, is already time to leave,
it is not the same thing.

Q - How do you prepare to undertake a work in Sacred Art?

Mr. J. - To do religious Sacred Art, we must still pray. It is more
important that to document oneself in fifty-six thousand painting books
because firstly, you're not here to follow a current fashion or
a current thought, you are there to convey a message of truth that comes from
within. Thus, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is essential ... the idea, it can

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take you time to find it, but once you have it, you must act
quickly, you do it. So, when I say pray the Holy Spirit to paint,
to be inspired, I do not just mean on the day that you want to
paint; put it into your daily prayers anytime, everyday
even if you have not painted for six months, it does not matter, ask for it
anyway, that's how it'll come: not only on the day that you paint.
And, we still cannot do just anything in Sacred Art, we can
not say silly things, it has to be deep. That's why I say that we
must asked for inspiration. Your reference is the inner eye,
interiority: ''Did I say what I wanted to say, what was inspired for me to say.''
The interior look, interiority, is essential conditions may it be for
making religious Sacred Art or for secular Sacred Art. Being able
to discern what is important, that is very important, because we can
have many inspirations and they are not all equally important.
We cannot do everything, we must know how to discern.

Q - You've painted murals for free in the Episcopal chapel inside of the
St-Jérôme cathedral. Several people are astonished, others
confused by your work. Would you explain this work a little?

M. J. - I researched. I went to the sources of the great tradition of
the Fathers of the Church and the New Testament. I wanted to express the coming
in this world of the eternal Christ. I represented him as a child, to
symbolize the fact that he wanted to complete all the stages of human life. This
Christ child is at the centre of the fresco between heaven, represented by angels
worshiping and the earth, represented by Mary and the archangel Gabriel. A priest
in the cathedral, André St-André, found some very nice comments. For example,
my Christ Child has limbs larger than those of a child and he is leaping towards
Marie. Augustine, about the Incarnation, applies to Christ a
verse of Psalm 66:''Like a giant, he leaps joyously on his course.'' In
Hebrews 10.9 Christ says :''Here I come O God to do your
will.'' For M. St-André my Christ child expresses all this. A little
further in Hebrews 1.6 we can read: ''When God brought the first born in
the world, he said: Let all the angels of God worship him.'' That is what expresses
the right side of my wall. On the other wall, I painted the people of God and
behind the altar I painted the theme of Christ the Tree of Life. Christ that by his
death gives life. Also, I wanted to express the inexpressible: the beatific vision at
the terms of human life. It is for this reason that the composition is more
bare, more diffuse: it is the unknown. The two stained glass windows flanking the

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entrants door represents the creation of the world and the covenant between God
and humanity. The small stained glass windows on the right side wall and of the
left side wall of the chapel represents the life-giving water, a prayer, like incense,
towards the LORD. The stained glass hanging above the tabernacle represents
humanity, hands outstretched in a gesture of supplication to the Divine Sun of

Q - During his visit ad Limina, Mgr. Valois, Bishop of the Diocese at the time, gave a
stained glass work of your creation to Pope John Paul II. What was the meaning
of this gift offered to the Pope?

M. J. - Reading the interview of John Paul II with Andre Frossard was for me
a revelation. (Personally, for me, I'd rather talk about the man, Karol Wojtyla, than
of the Pope). It allowed me to go deeper into my faith, in my vision of God.
It also allowed me to put my finger on materialism of fact (more subtle
perhaps than ideological materialism) that pervades in our society. I
also understood that our world was not collapsing, it was a moment of
history. Karol Wojtyla gave me back hope. The stained glass ''The Tree of Life''
is an artistic creation that is a tribute to someone who had done something
for me.

Q - Monique Jarry, one last question: You do not sell your works; what is the
reason for this?

Mr. J. - At the time, as a young artist, I sold my paintings. I thought that was what
was done. Then, suddenly, I surprised myself refusing offers of purchase, in
some cases for large sums of money! I had to think, asking myself what
this refusal deeply meant to me. Also, I must confess that
I anticipated such a question from you. So I found a
small text I wrote in the seventies, seventy-five. It is a
bit poetic, but essentially sums up what I still believe to this day.
So here, I’ll read it to you: ''Definitely, selling paintings makes no sense to me
even less in my work. I will publish books which contain them, movies
that will house them and I will write and I will sing. None of my paintings can be
taken separately because they are not works of art and I do not do ''Works of Art''.
They are a story with a course, the course of days, of the time of
days through the eyes of a human being in the perception of a human female
located in the time of days.''
Finally, I presented my work regularly over the years. At this

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moment, I am gently preparing an exhibition planned for autumn 2005
or later after the holidays, that is to say, in winter 2006. I say ‘’gently’’
because my health does not permit me to undertake this project in
a more dynamic way. Also it is for this health reason that I have,
to my great regret, stop all teaching activity during 2002.
That said, I would add that I am regularly asked to produce posters,
postcards and greeting cards of my work. But as I say,
at this time, I do not have the energy to undertake such a project. I am
especially applying myself to deepening my thoughts, my knowledge on Sacred
Art by prayer, reflection and reading while executing a few small projects
in my studio here at home. But I confess that the idea of reproducing my
works interests me and I am keeping the door open. If ever such a project
materialize, I do not expect large gains. It is because I think that
this way of spreading my message, my art is democratic and within the fanatical
means of all. I would be happy and satisfied if this project would be self-financing,
in all simplicity, simply, neither more nor less.

- Thank you Monique Jarry it was a pleasure.

M. J. – Thank you, it was a pleasure for me also.

***** (Postscript:

This interview was conducted in the fall of 2004 and would have been offered to various
magazines in the following months. Monique having died January 21, 2005, the interview
was not completed, that is to say that there were some questions that Monique had not
yet responded to. So I had to dig in her texts, her class notes and listen to tapes of
courses that students had recorded to ''fill the gaps'' and make sure without a doubt
(supporting documents) that these responses are indeed those that she would have
given. So, some months have since passed and I choose to offer this interview anew.
There are certainly readers, artists who are sensitive to her words and are working in
the same direction. It is also an invitation to all who are interested in her approach to
carry on. Thank you.

Robert Stanton

***** (End of the FILE, ''Interview with Monique on Sacred Art''.)


***** (All Monique’s texts an writings mainly concerning art end with this
last interview. Thank you.)