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Congregation of Jesus Logo
CONGREGATION OF JESUS
BANGALORE REGION Estd. 2010

"Women in time to come will do much"

MARY WARD

Painted Life

There are fifty paintings, each 142 x 105 cm, known as the "Painted Life of Mary Ward" that show her spiritual journey. They are displayed in the "Mary Ward Hall" in Augsburg in Germany. Very little information has come down to us as to the origins of the paintings. It is most probable that they were painted by various artists somewhere between Flanders and the Tyrol in the second half of the seventeenth century. There is written evidence that places them in Munich between 1680 and 1717, but how they came to Augsburg is unknown.
The initiative to commission the paintings must have come from Mary Ward's first companions as the paintings tell the story of her life in considerable detail. Writing her life would have been risky as Mary Ward's Institute had been condemned by the Church. Commissioning a series of paintings that told the story diminished the risk of ecclesiastical censure - though not entirely. At various times the local bishop ordered their removal from the walls of the Augsburg Convent. During the Second World War the paintings were removed and hidden, and therefore survived the destruction of the Augsburg convent.
The earlier paintings are better artistically than the later ones, and tell the story of Mary Ward's early life, her vocation and the founding of her institute. Many of the later ones are artistically not remarkable but they contain a series of deep spiritual experiences that are not known from the written sources.
The inscriptions on the paintings are written in German and were most likely added at the end of the seventeenth century after the completion of the pictures.
Link : View the paintings