Doves and Branches
One year ago this week, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a worldwide pandemic. Within days of that announcement, on March 14, nursing homes throughout the United States went into lockdown, including St. Mary’s Home.
Our lives changed forever, one year ago.
On March 15, 2021, on the anniversary of that lockdown, Residents, staff, and Little Sisters gathered outside the chapel for a simple ceremony to recall and recite the names of the Residents who had been summoned home to our Heavenly Father. As well, we remembered in the quiet of our hearts the many loved ones of staff and friends.
With the singing of “Amazing Grace,” a special canvas print was unveiled, “Doves and Branches.” A supporter of St. Mary’s Home donated this evocative artwork by artist Melani Pyke specifically to mark this the anniversary and this special remembrance.
“Doves and Branches” presents the viewer with a beautiful and powerful image: Looking up through bare treetops towards a hazy, cross-shaped sun glow, two doves, lightly rendered in brushstrokes of blue, intersect in flight. The surrounding atmosphere is made up of doves in flight, overlapping with an energy that radiates outward.
“Are the doves going to the light,” Mother Julie observed. “Or are they coming from the light, bringing the light?”
The dove has long been recognized as a symbol of love and peace, devotion and faith, hope and grace, and the gentle birds in this painting invite us to contemplate these various meanings in a moment of tranquility.
“Doves and Branches” now hangs outside our chapel: “In loving memory of those who were called into the light of God’s love during the COVID-19 pandemic.”