Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Mariella Erdmann was commissioned to do this Holy Family painting by Bishop David Ricken for the Green Bay Diocese in connection with the Synod on the Family.
The painting is done in oil and the intent is to show Jesus as a teen-ager relating to his parents. After his stay in the temple at age 12, Jesus went down with his parents and was obedient to them. The figures look Middle Eastern and they are engaged in daily work. Their clothes are simple and the colors warm. The emphasis is on the three relating to each other in love, joy, and simplicity which shows through their eyes and bodily gestures. The wooden beams behind Jesus foreshadow his death on the cross. Jesus’ love for his mother is obvious as he gazes on her and his respect for Joseph is shown through his working peacefully with Joseph. Mary is ever attentive to Jesus and is truly the hand-maiden of the Lord. Joseph is the protector of the family and looks lovingly on Mary.