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Visio Divina for women: Thursday, May 20

This week we are proud to present to you another piece by the multi-talented Renee Roberts. Renee has packed up a lot in her 23 years on this earth. In her parish of St Patrick’s, she was an altar server for over ten years, she was also a confirmation catechist, she sings and plays the guitar for the Sunday morning mass and she also sings with both the Marionette chorale and the UWI chorale. This might seem like a packed life for this final year UWI visual arts student but for Renee, it is just the start of a journey in which she gives all thanks and glory to God.

You may remember Renee’s story in which she said, “It was the trauma that made me strong” when she shared the story of how God guided her into triumph despite a traumatic life experience. “I was about 14 and in form four preparing for CXC when there was a burglary at my home, I was the only one at home at the time and I was assaulted”. For many a youth that may have been the end of a story but it is actually when Renee’s faith started to grow. “So I was a huge fan of Karen Sylvester and as part of my form four SBA I had to visit her home and her gallery. I was so inspired by her work that I literally learned to paint overnight. After I left her gallery I instinctively knew what to do”.

“It was God”. She whispered, as if remembering a precious long-lost memory then she said, “What happened to me was definitely divine. I felt like it was a gift from God, there was just this creative explosion inside of me. It was God making my world right again”. This is where her art journey took on a new dimension and there was no stopping Renee after that. Today she is a final year art student at UWI and has exhibited at the Rotunda Gallery.

In celebration of Laudato Si’ week, I chose this fantastic piece by Renee entitled Nikita.

Do you know another Catholic woman whose art we can highlight for Visio Divina? We would appreciate feedback on other Catholic women in the arts.

Join us now as we journey through a Visio Divina experience with this piece. . If you are not familiar with Visio Divina, you may know, Lectio Divina is a method of praying with scripture, started by the late great Fr Michel De Verteuil. Visio Divina (Latin for “divine seeing”) is a method for praying with images.

Through Visio Divina, we invite you to see beyond first and second impressions, and even beyond your initial ideas, judgments, or understandings. Our hope is to create a connection to the divine through art in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Nikita” by Renee Roberts

So here is how we are going to do it.

1. Set aside 20 minutes in the day for the guided prayer experience

2. As you begin to prayer take a few minutes to open your heart and mind to God.

3. When you are ready, slowly look and notice the image, taking your time to let feelings and thoughts come to you as you take in forms, figures, colors, lines, textures, and shapes. What does it look like, or remind you of? What are your initial thoughts? What feelings are evoked?

4. Now, return to the image with an open heart and mind again. You may now experience new thoughts, meanings, and feelings. Start, exploring new meanings and feelings that come to you associated with the image. Be aware of any assumptions or expectations that you bring to the image. Regardless of your response to the image — delight, disgust, indifference, and confusion — contemplate prayerfully the reason for your response and what these responses might mean for and about you.

5. As you go deeper in this prayer, open yourself to what the image might reveal to you. What does the Spirit want to say, evoke, make known, or express to you in quiet meditation? What are your feelings, thoughts, desires, and meanings evoked by the image, and how they are directly connected to your life?

6. Now, take the time to respond to God. Jot down in a journal the insights you want to remember, actions you are invited to take, the wisdom you hope to embody, or any feelings or thoughts you wish to express. Bring your prayer to a close-by resting in God’s grace and love.

Please email us at on the impact this activity may have had on your day, and be sure to share the artist’s image on your social media feeds.

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