Grandmother’s paintings dedicated for display at Our Lady of Lourdes

| May 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

Father Daniel Griffith, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis, says a prayer of dedication for paintings done by his grandmother, Mildred Griffith, during Mass May 24 at Our Lady of Lourdes. DAVE HRBACEK. | THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Mildred Griffith was a teenager in the early 1900s when she started painting religious art. Two of her pieces now are going to reside at Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis, where her grandson, Father Daniel Griffith, is the pastor.

He dedicated the pieces — one of Mary and the other of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns — during Mass May 24 at Our Lady of Lourdes. Several family members were there, including his father, Bill, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Father Griffith is thrilled to pay tribute to his grandmother and put the two paintings on permanent display in the church basement. Mildred Griffith painted for a brief time during her teenage years in Milwaukee and in her early 20s before she got married. For decades, the paintings were stored at the home of one of her daughters, Terry Griffith Bartzen. Bartzen’s son, John, later stored the paintings after she died, and contacted Father Griffith a year ago about restoring them and putting them in the church.

“I thought this would be the perfect place for those (paintings),” John Bartzen said.

Father Griffith agreed. He already had one of his grandmother’s paintings, which he received as a gift when he was ordained a priest 17 years ago. It depicts Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“I’m not an art aficionado, but I just saw how talented she was,” Father Griffith said. “So, when John had said that he had two of these (paintings), I thought, ‘Boy, they’d be perfect at Lourdes.’”

“I’m just very thankful (to have the paintings in the church),” Father Griffith added. “I didn’t know grandma all that well because I’m the youngest of 33 (grandchildren). … (But) obviously, she was a really talented artist if she was doing that level of work when she was a teenager.”

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