Illustrations: In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat

Marist Educational Mission

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Illustrations – Mauricio Negro, S├úo Paulo – Brazil

Book Cover

For the cover of the book, I felt the need to create a portrait of Marcellin Champagnat in my own way. As an artist, I am very interested in exploring what appearances sometimes hide. There is a hint of what he looked like, but I want you to focus more on his spirit, his expressiveness, his gaze and his qualities. I associated his person with his creation. The miniature of the first configuration of the headquarters at Notre-Dame de l’Hermitage needed to appear in the foreground, as a forerunner of how his intuitions would materialise over time. The portrait characterises him as Saint Marcellin Champagnat, founder of Marist ministries and apostle of youth. (Mauricio Negro).

Chapter 1

The image of a fish originates from the acronym Ichthus, which in Greek means Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. The three intertwined fish represent the mystery of the Holy Trinity. I wanted to bring out the sacred as well as eternity and ÔÇśunity in diversityÔÇÖ, represented by the spectrum of colours that radiate from the fish.

Chapter 2

The first two chapters deal with Marcellin’s early years, based on his life experiences, his sensitivity, the customs of rural living, his family environment and context, the lack of education for young people, and his initial disappointment with school. In other words, they look at everything that touched and moved him from a very early age until he was able to formulate his own golden rule for education. My illustration seeks to evoke that awakening, to honour his inspiration and dedication to this commitment in his life and ministry.

Chapter 3

My gaze here evokes an image of children as if they were heterogeneous grapes, suggesting a great diversity of colours, aromas and flavours. The choice of the bunch of grapes was not random, because it reflects the essence of the vision of Marist education and, at the same time, alludes to wine, the blood of Christ, care for the earth, the rights of all children, solidarity and other values of our common home.

Chapter 4

I thought this image could relate well to the challenge of spreading the good news of the gospel, trying to make the message and Jesus better known. The crown of thorns is a significant representation of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, I dared to take some poetic licence to rework the original symbolism. In this illustration, there are more opaque tones and imperfect edges in the background, a scene of the world. In the foreground, the crown of thorns, which, instead of drying out, greens up and shows unexpected buds. The crimson rose, in the centre, blossoms like a heart, full of love, hope and pulsating life.

Chapter 5

I longed to find an inspiring depiction of Mary. From the beginning, I wanted it to be related to motherhood, in the purest and most natural way possible. Finally, I found a botanical way to relate mother and child, Mary and her baby Jesus. In general, tulips usually symbolise perfect, true and eternal love. Tulips are the first flowers to bloom in spring, heralding rebirth. The pink tones of the tulips stir up happiness and confidence. A beautiful way to illustrate the fundamental principles of Marist education! All the more so because many other species of flowers surround tulips in the garden.

Chapter 6

For this chapter it was necessary to find a way to represent the unfolding of the Golden Rule: the educational centres, the schools themselves, the social works, the institutions of higher education and all the other sectors and milieux where the four pillars of Marist education are applied. Once again, the message is metaphorically embedded in a garden. The yellow flowers are intertwined. They seem to share the same stem, the same sap, the same pollinators and, indeed, the same roots. All the big yellow flowers seek the same sun. A second, more attentive look will reveal, I imagine, human silhouettes disguised as petals, joining in a circle of exchanges, experiences, conversations and sharing.