Tucked into a corner of the monastery is a multi-purpose room that transforms into a colorful art center on Thursday afternoons. If you enter, you’ll find elderly sisters intensely working over their creations with brushes and paints strewn across the table. It’s all thanks to the work of Matthew Ambre, a Benedictine Oblate of St. Scholastica Monastery.
An Oblate is someone who dedicates themselves to following the Rule of Benedict and Benedictine spirituality in their everyday life, while relating to a particular monastery.
As part of his connection with St. Scholastica monastery, Matthew offers art classes to the sisters who live in the monastery’s infirmary. “Expanding your horizons at any age is beneficial,” reflected Matthew. “We can be creative in so many ways and the sisters are so willing to give it a try. That is what amazes me about them.”
Matthew is a professional artist and believes that art and spirituality are deeply intertwined. He quotes Thomas Aquinas, saying, “The beautiful occurs at the intersection of three qualities: wholeness, harmony, and radiance, always revealing the beautiful as a bearer of God’s truth and a reflection of God’s splendor.”
“Thomas Aquinas said it so perfectly with his definition of the beautiful,” says Matthew, “and that is what I try to capture in my painting—glimpses of God’s beauty that He shares with us everywhere we are in life!”
If you are interested in learning more about Oblates, click here.