Saint Mary's Reflects on Compassion at Artistic Event

Organized by Professor Monica Fitzgerald, last week Saint Mary's hosted artist Tina Rath and participated in her ongoing project, Compassion Drawings, as part of the Compassion Project: Requiem. Requiem is a ritualized grief project and communal ceremony to honor those who have died from COVID-19. As of Sept. 7, 649,000 people in the United States have died, and worldwide deaths have reached 4.5 million people.  

The Compassion Drawings consist of golden circles and handwritten names. The circle is a symbol of eternity and rebirth. One gold circle is drawn for each person who has passed.   

Dozens of students, faculty, and staff went to the Soda Center throughout the afternoon to paint circles, reflect, pray, and grieve the shared loss. With meditative music playing in the background, individuals mostly painted in silence, with pauses to share a story of someone beloved. Frances Sweeney, Vice President for Mission, who helped sponsor the event, remarked, "I found myself both opening to the global grief and grateful for those near me. I was working alone, but we were together with our huge blank white posters. The repetitive act was peaceful and poignant. Seeing each canvas filled with circles was almost overwhelming when one imagines each life and the story of that person. And yet there was a quiet dignity in the whole room."