Our first commission in this series of new, original compositions was for an icon of St Morwenna. Strangely enough, our second commission was also for an icon of St Morwenna.
There is something special about this little known Saint that deeply touches my heart. Not much about her life has been preserved, but what has been remembered is the image of a simple woman, dedicating her entire life to serve all those around her. There are no spectacular miracles. No extraordinary deeds. No mountains moved.
St Morwenna’s holiness lies somewhere else. The foundation of her faith is simple, humble, silent love for people who hardly even noticed her sacrifice. Up on the top of a steep cliff – known as the Raven’s Crag – just above the stormy waters of the Atlantic, she built a small church so that the local faithful may have a place where to pray for their salvation.
She is remembered carrying stones on her head up the mountain unassumingly, in silence and humility. Day by day, she spent her life for everyone else but herself. Stone by stone, she climbed that mountain focused on the needs of those around her. Any of those people could have built that church, and yet none of them did. Only this simple woman found the love to let go of herself, to empty herself of her own needs, of her own suffering, and live for the happiness and the salvation of everyone else.
It is a story that resonates with me, as I am sure it resonates with you, too. It reminds me of all the countless, small, hardly ever noticed sacrifices that women everywhere are making for everyone else. St Morwenna built a church: slowly, silently, stone by stone. Her selfless love reminds me of mothers, wives, nuns, friends everywhere who, simply out of love – day by day, meal by meal, advice by advice, smile by smile – build this world and give it a heart.
Thank you for the opportunity you have given us to paint the icon of this wonderful Saint. May she, through her prayers before Christ, bless us all. May she, through her love and prayers, build a small church for all of us in God’s Kingdom.