Farmington, (Google Maps location)
March 18, 2018
There’s a lot going on here. Here at the Holy Family Retreat and Conference Center, here in the woods nearby, and heck, here in Farmington. Of Connecticut’s 169 towns, I’m submitting Farmington as one of the top 5 with the most… interesting things within it.
Now, the Monastery Gallery of Art is not really one of those interesting things. It’s a tiny little art gallery containing the works of more or less local amateurs. There are a few pieces from the permanent collection of the Holy Family Retreat Center sprinkled in.
Holy Family is one of those hidden in plain site places. It’s right in between the UConn Medical Center and Westfarms Mall. You all know/have been to/driven by the UConn Medical Center and Westfarms Mall. But you probably never noticed the rather large and looming religious and “sprititual” place in between.
To clarify, this place in between is actually a few places in one.
There’s Holy Family Retreat Center, where you can explore your connection to God during a peace-filled weekend retreat; Copper Beech Institute, where you can experience the transformative power of mindfulness; and the Spiritual Life Center, for spiritual direction and other life-enhancing programs.
I have no clue how all that works together. There are lots of super Catholic things here. Crucified Jesus’s all over the place. So I’m curious how the new age “I’m not religious, man, I’m just spiritual hippies who come here for the “transformative power of mindfulness” go about their days without railing on the patriarchy of the Catholic church. Maaan.
As an outsider to all this stuff, I think it’s pretty cool. Why not bring divergent spiritualties together in one giant dormitory in Farmington, CT? Heck, some Tibetan monks are coming in next week to do some sand art, but I didn’t see anything from the other Abrahamic religions. (I didn’t look very hard, mind you).
I had visited before, back in 2009, to check out the labyrinth with Damian.
The labyrinth is still in good shape from what I saw in 2018, now with Calvin. Not many people go down the hill to check it out though; at least not in the snow, as there were no tracks a week after the last storm.
Calvin wasn’t as enamored with the labyrinth as I am. Oh well, let’s go check out the art gallery.
The Monastery Gallery of Art, at Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center, unites the arts, creativity and the sacred. We welcome works from artists of all backgrounds drawing on the wisdom of diverse faith traditions. Through exhibitions and educational programs, The Monastery Gallery of Art values and promotes all forms of art that explore themes of compassion, resilience, peacemaking, loving kindness, social justice, and care for others and our planet.
That is lovely.
The exhibit Calvin and I saw was called “Grace.” It set out to “explore the spirit of Grace as found in a variety of works of art.”
The one-pager that explains the concept of the exhibit pretty much allows anything to be tangentially related to the concept of grace. “People, hands/sculpture, sheep, the sun, flowers, music, trees, women, nature, and light.”
See if you can relate my photos of the exhibit to the concept of grace!
I picked up the artists’ statements, and for once, it appears the monks or whoever told the artists to keep it brief. Yahoo! Or should I say Amen? Amen!
The gallery is very small, and is half underground. There appears to be a nice garden and patio just outside of the gallery, but mid-March wasn’t a good time to check it out. The signage to find it is more than sufficient and no one asked me to join their cult.
A win-win all around.
Holy Family Retreat
Monastery Gallery of Art
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