Inspire: To fill with the urge to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Louisiana,You Inspire Me was the theme of Associated Women in the Arts’ Spring Exhibition at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol. While many things about my adopted state motivate me to paint, I had difficulty pinpointing what truly inspires me. I only saw Fr. Mascarella once when he said Mass at the church I attended. This retired priest, who was blind, often substituted in different parishes throughout the diocese. Considering the logistics of his traveling anywhere, I was impressed that he got around as much as he did. The faith he had in his service dog, Pace, was in a word, inspiring.
I joined a group of artists sketching at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in downtown Baton Rouge several days after Fr. Mascarella passed away. Sitting at the rear of the church (because that’s where I always sit) my perspective included stained glass windows between the arches. It was pretty dark but the watercolor sketch was all right.
Several days later, my husband came home with a photo his friend, Paula, took of Fr. Mascarella with Pace, sitting in the area of the cathedral I had drawn the weekend before. I knew then that would be my painting. He persevered when he could have easily given up, continued to serve his community in retirement, and even took art classes at LSU though he could could not see. Thank you, Fr. Mascarella, for being an inspiration not only to me, but hundreds of others.