Sister Betty Lou Knox
I am even more convinced of the power and necessity of beauty and the arts to nourish the human spirit.
From Quebec, we moved to Toronto in 1942 where I graduated from St. Joseph's College in 1951. The ordinariness of the Sisters impressed me and I appreciated their introduction of social concerns and stories of their western Canada missions. I entered our community after Grade 13 and enjoyed two years of teaching in Ontario and 13 years in Vancouver, Terrace, Prince Rupert and New Hazelton, B.C. The beauty of the people and the land nourished my soul.
I witnessed transformation
A pivotal point in my journey was my father's death. I was with him for two weeks during his final illness. That led me to work in palliative care at Providence Healthcare. From 1978 to 1984, I worked as the pastoral care person and coordinator of volunteers. I witnessed great suffering, love and transformation in the people I met.
The experience of having to leave Guatemala due to illness after the earthquake of 1976 left me with a deeper understanding of refugees fleeing for their lives. In 1985, I founded Catholic Latin American Welcoming Service at St. Patrick's Convent, Vancouver. I welcomed refugees from Central America providing English classes, sewing, advocacy and support through their immigration hearings and settlement.
In 1984, while studying Creation Centred Spirituality in California with Matthew Fox and Brian Swimme, I began to see more clearly the connection between prayer, justice and art. I explored drawing, painting, pottery and photography for the first time.
The power of the arts
On June 28, 2011, I said farewell to Creative Works Studio after thirteen years as volunteer in an art and healing program for adults with mental illness. It was a joy in 2009, to self-publish a contemplative book, Greening with Hildegard of Bingen: Mystic for the 21st Century. I offer workshops on Hildegard and continue with photography and painting. I am even more convinced of the power and necessity of beauty and the arts to nourish the human spirit.