Cincinnati, Ohio – September 7, 2017 - For many years, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Anderson Twp. and the Cultural Center of Batahola Norte in Managua, Nicaragua have had a twinning partnership. In January of 2000, members and leaders from both communities created a relationship with the goal of learning from each other, serving one another, and growing together in the spirit of Christ.
Saint Ursula Academy’s connection with the Batahola Center is also very strong. Students and teachers, including SUA Art Teacher Kurt Nicaise, have taken summer immersion trips to the center since 2010. Saint Ursula hosts a craft fair each year, which sells the products of artists from the Batahola Center. Additionally, an annual mission collection is held to benefit the Center. Last year, Saint Ursula students created a mural which was installed outside the Cultural Center’s library.
When Mr. Nicaise was approached by Sue Keefe, chair of the Twinning Committee at IHM, to create another piece of art to represent the continuing relationship with the Cultural Center, he immediately knew that an art mosiac for a table and bench outside the Center’s library would be a perfect addition to the Center.
Mr. Nicaise began to work during the 2016-2017 school year to create the ceramic tiles. He and students from Saint Ursula took the tiles to Nicaragua during the annual immersion trip over the summer and cemented them to the table and bench and finished it with grout. The beautiful table and benches are a fantastic complement to the art installation from last summer.
This new artwork is not only beautiful, but symbolic as well. “It is a place of sharing, laughing, talking, eating, and being together. The tiles exemplify the unity between the Batahola Norte and IHM communities,” Mr. Nicaise said.
The ceramic tiles are a visual manifestation of the longstanding partnership. He explained that this design is based on spiritual warmth, light, and love.
“Beginning at the center of the table, you will find five hearts and a star encased in a circle. This is the core, the spiritual center, or God. God radiates the energy of light and warmth-the star, and encircles it in love and blessings-the hearts. This star and hearts of the core then spiral out and out, shedding their warm energy and love throughout the space,” said Nicaise.
The two cardinals that are depicted in the mosaic represent the memory of a brother and a sister from the IHM community who were devoted to the Center and have recently passed away.
“I have really loved being involved in this project with the IHM and Batahola Norte communities and have equally loved visiting the Batahola Norte Cultural Center again this year to install the mosaic. I hope that it is enjoyed for many years to come,” said Nicaise.
Saint Ursula Academy is a Catholic, college-preparatory, secondary school for young women known for academic excellence and rich tradition. Saint Ursula welcomes students from more than 90 grade schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. The Academy is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School. The campus, located at 1339 E. McMillan Street in East Walnut Hills has been the home of St. Ursula Academy and Convent since 1910. The Class of 2017 earned college scholarships totaling more than $21-million.