Local Artist Steamrolls Hometown Saint

Published by Cindy Buckley Koren on

Being one of twenty artists invited to carve a 4 foot wood block for the Big Ol’ Steamrolling Printmaking event at the 2015 Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s Summer Festival gave me the opportunity to share a true and amazing story of friendship, inspiration, and hope.

Why St. Marianne Cope?
It was April’s Fools day but the test results were no joke. My oldest, dearest, friend—Sandy was handed a diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer. My tightly knit group of girlfriends had just set up a memorial fund to honor another dear friend who had been claimed by cancer—so we felt that we were entitled for a “special pass” in this category. Sara had proudly powered through life and continues to inspire us, and we quickly adopted the pancreatic cancer slogan “no one fights alone,” put on our purple bracelets and still have them on to this day. We were instructed to keep positive, pray, and never say the “C” word.”

This is where Sandy’s Power Through It story really begins. As the wife and mother of three children with a full time job, she traveled to Chicago to receive her treatments and began the battle. Throughout this journey, her continual research has made her—her own advocate. She actively sought out every avenue of healing—especially prayer. With grace and gratitude she always returns the favor and prays for those who pray for her.  I hadn’t considered or cared about Saint Marianne until Sandy sparked my interest. She called me up so excited to tell me the story of how she received the relic from the miracle sisters and attended a special prayer session at the Saint Marianne Cope Shrine in Syracuse. I wish I had been there to witness it. The women prayed and held the relic to her pancreas and told the cancer to leave.

Whatever your faith or beliefs—the documented lab results coincide with an intersession from Saint Marianne Cope. The scans from Sandy’s last two trips to the Cancer Center revealed that the tumor on her pancreas is no longer detectable.

Since then I have learned as much as I can about Mother Marianne Cope, I truly appreciate her life’s work and she has officially been added to my list of heroes along with my friend Sandy, of course. Her wellness is nothing short of a miracle and Saint Marianne Cope is a hero whose story should be shared and who’s blessings are most welcome.

The artistic process began with intense research and a visit to the Saint Marianne Cope Museum and Shrine. Artistic influences include Lynn Ward’s God’s Man and Shepard Fairey.

  • Research: Visit to the St. Marianne Cope Museum and Shrine
  • Sketching
  • Scratch board experimentation
  • Scrap wood trial
  • Obtain giant block of wood
  • Take  woodblock to church be blessed
  • Transfer art to wood
  • Carving the block
  • Redesign and incorporate the type and background
  • Seal the block with polyurethane
  • Roll ink on to the carving
  • Place inked block on pavement
  • Lay linen on block
  • Cover with a blanket of carpet padding
  • Roll over with steamroller

Special Thanks to:

Elise Incze
Audrey Taylor
Beth Post
Tim Koren
Sister Susan Buckley
Sandy Napolitano
Ellie Brown
Sister Jean
Ellen Benton
Dean Ken Marchione

and Ron Draper for letting me drive the paver!

Please follow us on facebook at Meetinghouse.co and Power Through It to read more articles like this.


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Cindy Buckley Koren

Cindy Buckley Koren is the founder of {meetinghouse} Creative Collaborative and Professor of Communications Design at PrattMWP College of Art and Design


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