Sister Vimala Joseph PDDM

By Nirmala Carvalho

Feb 3 2021

The Day of Consecrated Life as seen by a nun who dedicates her life to sacred art. “In our Prarthnalaya Chapel, I realised that the image of Saint Paul was not present,” Sister Vimala said. “I was inspired to create an image of Saint Paul, something permanent and so I took up working in mosaic.”

MUMBAI, India – “Consecrated life is Beauty, the beauty of Jesus. We adore the Lord in beauty,” said Sister Vimala Joseph PDDM (Pious Disciples of the Divine Master), speaking to AsiaNews about today’s Day of Consecrated Life.

“Beauty attracts people and helps them seek divine good,” she explains. “Through my sacred art, I hope to bring the Kingdom of God to earth and restore the beauty that is present in creation. Even non-Christians are attracted to it, the beauty of sacred art.”

Sacred Art nurtures the ability to imagine a future and therefore transcends the present moment and instils hope.

Sister Vimala joined the Sisters Disciples of the Divine Master as a young woman, at the age of 17, and she has been making sacred art for 35 years.

In 1982 she studied architecture at the Boccioni Art School in Milan, Italy. “I completed a four-year course in three years, learning the basics of sculpture, painting and architecture.

“After the course, I worked with our Italian sister, Michael Angela, an architect who redesigned and renovated churches in Italy. Working with her for a year helped me hone my skills and take new jobs. After returning to Mumbai, I took a postgraduate course in architecture.”

Sister Vimala is a member of the Prarthnalaya (House of Prayer), Bandra (Mumbai), where she has a workshop. With her team, she does paintings, mosaics and stained glass works, interior design and statues.

She spoke to AsiaNews about the process of making the beautiful mosaic of St Paul located in the Prarthnalaya chapel in Bandra, Mumbai.

“I realised we had such a big chapel, but nothing in it about our spirituality. Our spirituality is mainly about Jesus Master, Mary Queen of the Apostles and Saint Paul. These are the three pillars of our spirituality.

“Our founder, Blessed Giacomo Alberione stressed that the Apostle Paul was the founder of the ‘house’, the Pauline Family. The house where the light of the Gospel must shine is the house where each of us lives and also a house open to the world. We are all called to the Christian apostolate.

“In our Prarthnalaya Chapel, I realised that the image of Saint Paul was not present. We had Mary Queen of the Apostles and Jesus Master in the Blessed Sacrament and a beautiful crucifix of Christ Crucified, but not Saint Paul.

“I was inspired to create an image of Saint Paul (pictured), something permanent and so I took up working in mosaic. With mosaic there is no need for maintenance and the artwork looks beautiful.

“During the lockdown I was able to make many such artwork in mosaic. For the Delhi chapel I made a mosaic of both Saint Paul and Mary Queen of the Apostles.

“The lockdown was a very productive moment. In the artwork of Saint Paul, I depicted him with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other. This prompts many to ask themselves the meaning and creates the opportunity to evangelise. It is therefore an active mode of preaching.”

“When I receive a request for a drawing, I find out the church’s patron saint and look for the appropriate symbols. If it is for the chapel of a convent, I study the spirituality of that particular congregation and pray over it. Praying and fasting are very important for divine inspiration.

“God continues to bless me with new ideas to design innovative churches across India. In fact, I feel spiritually fulfilled when designing churches. I strongly believe that it is a mandate given me to preach the Good News through the medium of ‘Sacred Art’.

“I have done so many artworks all over. Every artwork of mine proclaims ‘bellezza’, the beauty of Jesus. We worship the Lord in beauty.” – AsiaNews