Sharing the Blessings of Sr. Paul Rita
The Paintings of Sr. Paul Rita
It is difficult to capture Sister Paul Rita on paper. After sixty years as a Holy Union Sister, Marie Genevieve Champigny, her baptismal name, died in January 2009. Sister was a multi-gifted person. Her beautiful soprano voice carried many a Holy Union gathering. A priest friend often had her sing the Exultet at the Holy Saturday liturgy in his parish.
She was a challenging teacher, who made her classes come alive. A great conversationalist, Paul Rita would have been an excellent tour guide. Her remarkable grasp of history enlivened many conversations.
By far her gift for painting is what most people remember about her. Her master’s thesis, the creation psalms, was a very modern interpretation of creation. When she decided to work in water colors instead of oil her work became better known. Her favorite subject was Tintern Abbey. She had once said that she wanted to surpass Monet’s 25 haystacks. She didn’t, but many Holy Union houses have a Tintern Abbey on their walls.
After Vatican II, it was suggested that women religious return to their baptismal names. Paul Rita choose not to because her reputation as an artist was as Paul Rita. She was a member of the Rhode Island Watercolorist Society, and many of her paintings were displayed throughout Rhode Island.
There is a saying “gone but not forgotten”. That certainly is true of Paul Rita. Her paintings grace many homes with beauty, and we are delighted to be able to share some of them with you by clicking on the video below. To view the video in full screen click the frame icon in the lower right of the video.