“They look like they have been here all along,” says Passionist Father Patrick Brennan as he admired the two recently installed mural panels of six Passionist saints at the Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center’s chapel.Father Brennan, director of the Sierra Madre retreat center, commissioned local artist George Rhode last year to create the two murals (each 7 feet wide and 52 inches high). He wanted the new murals to complement the existing artwork of the Risen Christ by artist John Nava whose saint tapestries hang at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.At the mural installation, Father Brennan along with Rhode watched anxiously as a craftsman carefully secured the canvas artwork in the side nooks of the chapel. “I was a little nervous wondering if it would fit,” says Rhode. “But the size was perfect.” “The colors are so complementary and work with what is around them,” added Father Brennan. “Oh, I am so pleased!”One mural includes: St. Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionists; Italian mystic St. Gemma Galgani, who received the stigmata later in her young life; and St. Vincent Strambi, Italian bishop in the early 1800s known for his charitable work for orphans and the elderly. The second mural features portraits of St. Gabriel Possenti, a student for the priesthood who died at the age of 23 from tuberculosis; 19th century Irish cleric St. Charles of Mount Argus; and St. Maria Goretti, one of the youngest saints to be canonized who died from multiple stab wounds by an intended rapist.“To paint people who have lives dedicated to God is a true honor,” says Rhode, who did extensive research and was inspired by actual photographs of some of the saints. “I wanted to capture them physically, spiritually as well as artistically.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0419/sgmaterdolorosa/{/gallery}