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Guide to the Sr. Claire, SMMI: Biblical Posters
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This is a collection of Biblical Posters done in an Indian style, the work of Sister Claire, SMMI, a pioneer in Indian Christian art. The collection contains prints marked Series 1, 1-140, printed in Bangalore: N.B.C.L.C. In addition to the posters, there are 18 original oil paintings in the same vivid style.
A pioneer in Indian Christian art, Sr. Claire SMMI was the second of nine children born to a family from Andhra Pradesh. She was drawn to the quiet prayer disciplines of her Grandmother, a devout Hindu. When she played with Christian children of the neighborhood, her mother would purify her with a jug of water poured over her head; Christians ate meat from the cows Sr. Clare’s family considered as goddesses. While in grade school she heard of the Buddha and wanted to be holy and dedicated to God just as he had been. Her attraction to the holy life continued as she entered a secondary school run by Christian Sisters. There she developed a love for Jesus Christ which alarmed her parents. They tried to exorcise this love in many ways, including marriage plans, but Sr. Claire ran away, taking refuge in a convent. There she entered the Novitiate and was given sixth and seventh grade classes to teach. When illness made teaching impossible, her painting began. Seeing her talent for this work, the Mother Superior of the convent sent her to art school where she excelled. Her art was admired as “true Indian art” and she was glad to use it “to introduce others to the inspiring thoughts that proceed from Indian spirituality.” She felt that this was her way of helping others to find God’s presence within them. Her purpose in painting and in life is to introduce others to “the God who stretches out his arms in love to raise us up to Himself.” She paints in solitude and silence, sensing God’s presence within; a form of prayer and her chosen way of communicating the sure knowledge of God’s love for humankind. (From Prayer in Culture: meditating with the paintings of Sr. Claire SMMI by Antony Kolencherry).