Mary Southard CSJ

Mary is a life-adventurer whose fascination is the wonder and creativity of our Sacred Universe! As a visual artist she works in a variety of media--paint, plaster, fibreglass, clay, cast paper, pastel--and is best known as creator of the Earth calendar which has been a favourite in homes around the world since 1980. Mary is also an experienced educator, retreat director, and a voice for Earth healing.
Mary's publications include the yearly art/meditation Calendar, book illustration, and book cover art. As a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Mary lives and has her studio in La Grange Park, Illinois.

Mary's love of art began to unfold in high school. She went on to receive her BA in Art from Dominican University (1960) and her MA from Notre Dame University (1964). It was a decade later that she began to experience the power and healing energies of art-making. During a time of personal crisis, she found herself painting her way through inner struggles and journeys. "I began to trust what would emerge from within me, letting the images come and unfold--to heal, to reveal, to discover, to explore new ground. I was being drawn into a Sacred Space of soul which connected me to others, eventually to everyone and everything-to my place within all of creation " Since that time Mary has been facilitating others in this kind of painting as a way of releasing creativity, of tuning in to and trusting inner guidance, of learning the language of the soul.
About the same time, allured by beauty and the natural world, Mary began an ever-deepening contemplative exploration of the evolutionary Universe. Mentored by Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme and others, she experienced this cosmological worldview as revealing the Divine intimately present and active at the heart of Creation. "As artist, I see more clearly than ever that we are essentially creative beings, engaged with the Creator in the Great Work of OUR time. We are all part of a radical shift taking place in our understanding of the nature of the Universe and our human place in it. "My creative work gives me a way to participate in this critical work, and to celebrate the wonder and mystery of Creation. It enables me to become one small Voice for Earth and her healing, one way to be engaged in planetary transformation."