More from the Hallowed Grounds

Campus offers so much beauty. There’s always a wealth of subjects to study, from nature and landscape scenes, to historic architecture.

Here is a study of a cottonwood leaf in the foreground; in the background is a little road leading over the last (and very old) bridge over College Creek, mentioned in Fr. Francis Finn’s, Tom Playfair Series.

For those who have explored our campus, you know what a soothing and relaxing spot is just beyond this gate.

Last year it was my class’s sit spot, and before that, way back in college, I would bring my snack and books and climb down the bank, as close to the burbling water as I could get. Then I’d spend a good hour or so studying,with my feet in the cold clear water.

The creek has also seen a good amount of exploring. It’s good to see kids still adventuring up and down it’s narrow sides. Hopefully the kids now don’t get as many leeches as we got during our escapades! Thank God for those high school boys who would pull them off our little legs and feet!

Last summer, my cousins and I (well protected with bug spray and wellies), explored it’s winding path once again. Not only did we find wildlife, but we also found fossils!

The brick, or rather, half-a-brick, you see here was also found in the creek. It’s gotta be over a century old!

Back down on the more developed part of campus, there is the most beautiful, strong, burr oak. He stands like a quiet sentinel overlooking the Quad.

He offers plenty of shade through the summer and the first warm months of Kansas fall, while suppling the local squirrels with a supermarket’s worth of acorns.

He also supplied me and one of my class’s nature study subject, which is what caused me to paint the tree in the first place.

As I began to paint more for nature study class, and walked from upper campus to lower campus each day to work, I started to notice how beautiful the buildings were around me.

Take Bellarmine, for instance, pictured below.

The limestone building was built in a French Chateau style; the tower, is similar to those one might find in a castle in France! There’s also buttresses, a cathedral-style portal, and a gothic-style niche, which you can see on the far right.

That niche is a favorite place of bees. They usually have a hive up there. There’s been a few summers where I’ve passed underneath and found little splats of something that looked like honey on the warm concrete. Pooh Bear would have loved to go up there with his ballon!

There’s so much beauty and so many stories to show and tell on campus.

The above and below pictures are a reminder of a serious intention to bit by bit capture the treasures of the campus of St. Mary’s Academy and College.

However, serious intentions can have serious effects. One thing I’ve realized over the past couple of weeks painting is that one can take one’s work waaaaay to seriously.

If you take your work way to seriously, you soon find yourself expecting nothing short of perfection. That’s a tall order, and one that will never bee completely filled here on earth. A good friend and Stephen Guise’s book How To Be An Imperfectionist, have gradually helped me to see this.

The solution, I realized, was two things:

First: have fun and enjoy the subject matter and to brush away any preconceived expectations I have of the product. What is inside my heard isn’t always the reality outside of me.

Second: look at each picking up of the pen, brush, or pencil, as a filling up of the vessel of one’s experience. No such thing as a terrible job, just a really good learning experience.

This was so liberating.

In fact, I attribute the picture below to the grace of those two realizations: Let go, and fill up the vessel.

I did the painting in a sketchbook, not on a piece of paper. That means for me that it was just for fun, to practice, and capture a piece of beauty while spending time outside with a friend.

The painting here capture’s the cathedral barns, built by the Jesuits nearly a hundred years ago. These structures, for how beautiful and how well they were built, make even today’s farmers envious.

Sure, I wish I had done or not done some things to the picture, but now I know for next time!

You can see these barns from the back of campus, as you drive up to Mt. Calvary Cemetery, aka, Jesuit Cemetery, where all the religious, men and women, who gave their blood sweat and tears for all of us who have been mothered in some way by St. Marys, have been laid to rest.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks post. I was excited to share with you the painting of the barns. Hopefully down the road I can share some more of the historic beauty here and the stories surrounding it!

Did you like it? Please press the like button!

Hoping and praying you are all at peace during this time. Have a great rest of your week and God bless you.

#history #naturjournal #architechture #kansas #stmarysks #jesuit #wildwest #art #traveljournal

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