Marian House receives painting of Last Supper for dining room
By Mike Schell
COLORADO SPRINGS. A new work of art was installed at Marian House and blessed by Bishop James Golka on April 6, Holy Thursday.
The newly-added art is a 7-foot by 4-foot depiction of “The Last Supper” painted by local artist Mary McLean.
“Jesus often dined with the least of our brethren; how wonderful to see him continuing this tradition in our Marian House today,” said Andy Barton, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado.
It was a chance comment by Barton during a visit to the Marian House that first gave McLean the idea for the painting. He remarked how appropriate it would be to display a painting of the Last Supper at the soup kitchen.
Time passed. Mary studied Leonardo DaVinci’s depictions of the Last Supper, sketching faces and hands on some draped fabric. However, the project was dormant for some time.
While restoring some statues at St. Mary’s Cathedral during the renovation of the sanctuary in 2022, McLean encountered a small bas-relief of the Last Supper that was hidden by the new altar. That motivated her to finish the painting; it started on Holy Thursday 2022, and was blessed on Holy Thursday 2023.
Some specific design elements include a strong halo surrounding Jesus, the three arches symbolizing the Trinity, and the ewer and basin used by Jesus to wash the apostles’ feet during the night of the Last Supper.
It’s not the first time one of McLean’s paintings has been displayed for public viewing.
“While working as the parish director at Holy Trinity, (then-pastor) Father Jim Williams asked me to create a large painting of Jesus hanging on the cross, looking upward to his father.”
“I was trained as an artist and have always enjoyed painting,” McLean said. “I believe God gave each of us a particular mix of talent and ability because they coincide with His mission for us.”
(Mike Schell previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. He and his wife Patricia attend St. John Henry Newman Chapel.)