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New artwork at St. Joseph Church and School in Conway

Published November 17, 2021

St. Joseph Church and School in Conway have been given four paintings of St. Joseph, which were commissioned by Father Dan Calloway, a priest and author who belongs to the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. His recent book, “The Consecration of St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father,” brings to life the wonders, the power and the endless love of St. Joseph. 

With Pope Francis declaring Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2021, as “The Year of St. Joseph,” along with him as the namesake of the church and school, the paintings are timely and appropriate. 

Father Calloway contacted a number of modern artists who paint in the classic style. He wanted them to create what he believes to be true depictions of the saint.

“As I looked at classic images of St. Joseph through the centuries, the majority of them pictured him as old,” Father Calloway said. “He's often in the background and not very prominent. Sometimes he looks soft. They don't really represent the real St. Joseph." 

Pastor Father Tony Robbins presented the paintings to school administrators Nov. 10. One of the artists, Bernadette Carstensen, credits Father Calloway with the inspiration and the composition idea of how he wants St. Joseph to be known.

"In reality, St. Joseph could have been a very strong young man close in age to his wife Mary," Carstensen said. "Father Calloway wanted to counter the tradition of St. Joseph being old, or as a caretaker, to being young and strong." 

Carstensen’s art was given to elementary school principal Courtney Pope. Middle school assistant principal Hannah Belew received a painting by Cecilia Lawrence. Artist Adonai Camilleri Cauchi created the image presented to high school principal Mattew Tucker. The fourth gift from Father Calloway will be displayed in the church's Spiritan Center. It shows St. Joseph as the patron of the universal Church who watches over it with paternal love. It was painted by Gabrielle Schadt.

Correction: In an earlier posting of this article, Arkansas Catholic had Father Calloway listed as Father Galloway.