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Coloring as Contemplative Prayer

By Ann Zlotnik

Coloring has gained popularity among adults over the last several years. For enjoyment or relaxation, many people seek out coloring books with mandalas, geometric patterns, flowers, landscapes and the like. In the Marian Library, we began to notice that many of our etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and so on can seamlessly translate into coloring pages. We have made several sheets available to the public on the Fun and Games with Mary website.

Have you ever considered turning coloring into a form of contemplative prayer?

While looking through some Lenten art in the Art and Artifacts Collection, we discovered that “The Way of the Cross” by Sister Marion C. Honors, C.S.J., would translate well to prayerful coloring. This pen-and-ink drawing combines the 14 traditional stations of the cross with an extra 15th station, providing a unique and creative Lenten activity and reflection.

Sister Marion, 83 years old and now retired, graciously granted the Marian Library permission to use her artwork for educational and personal use. When talking about the piece, she remarked that at the time she created the drawing, she was intrigued by the idea of a 15th station of the women discovering the empty tomb. “That’s the one that carries the stations into eternity,” she said.

Download and print the Way of the Cross coloring pages for reflection during Holy Week.

If you are so inclined, contributions to Sister Marion’s faith community are welcome: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, NY 12110-4799.

— Ann Zlotnik is a graphic designer and the communications and creative coordinator for the University Libraries and the Marian Library.

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