This is Mother Xavier who founded the Sisters of St. Francis congregation which is now centered in Dubuqe, Iowa. Her religious community left Herford, Germany in 1875 and first came to Iowa City where they started a school and opened an orphanage. Later the bishop from the Dubuque area asked that they move there and establish an orphanage. I saw these flowers or black-eyed Susans in Dubuque at Mount St. Francis and they reminded me of nuns with yellow habits. Mother Xavier is shown gathering in all her sisters over the years like flowers. I painted her face very loving as she was taking care of the sick and orphans.
I’m honored to have my painting used for the cover of the Winter 2014 Footprints magazine (update: that issue is no longer online, but you can read more recent issues), posted on the Sisters of St. Francis website where you can also read more about the life of Mother Xavier Termehr.
When Mother Xavier (in 1875) and I (in 2013) came to Iowa City to begin a new life, it was God’s grace and love that gave us all we needed. May you feel that warmth and love this Christmas.