“Painting on Light – A Restoration” is a new book about the history of Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, a church dedicated to Brother Joseph Dutton, a Vermonter who served the lepers of Molokai with St. Damien De Veuster. It is also a collection of photographs of the murals on the outside of the church and the church windows.

In 2010 the artworks were at the brink of being lost so the parish formed an Art Restoration Committee to preserve the 12 murals that depict the work with the lepers and the 36 windows with Gospel stories, all created by French artist Andre Girard.

“When we completed the restoration in 2013, the committee decided that we needed to make a durable record of all the artworks,” explained Lynn P. Altadonna, a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church and chair of the book committee. “Of course we have digital files now, but we know that the technology will continue to change and the digital records we leave in 2017 may not be ‘readable’ in 20 or 30 years. We see the book as the durable record.”

The author is of the book is Josephine Belloso, a student and friend of Girard.

The goals for the book are to create a revenue stream for maintaining the art; support the movement to recognize Brother Dutton with sainthood and honor Girard as a gifted artist.

“Girard was in the French Underground. The violence of World War II is visible in the powerful images he painted here just after the war,” Altadonna said. “Girard makes manifest the intensity of Christ’s Passion in his Stations of the Cross. Girard captures the Gospel scenes so you feel what is happening at the Nativity, the Sermon on the Mount, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The outside murals are black paint on white pine boards. One can see life on Molokai with the lepers, St. Damien and Brother Dutton in full color. The lesson Girard captures is we all must simply serve God by serving our neighbor.”

Donors who give $50 to the Art Restoration Fund will receive a copy of the 128-page, hardcover book.

It is hoped that a book launch party will take place at Blessed Sacrament Church by Christmas.

For more information, call Blessed Sacrament Rectory at 802-253-7536 or visit bscstowe@myfairpoint.net.

Originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.