Today, April 19, 2016, marks the one year anniversary of the death of one of our great friends, benefactors, and — to all our Religious Family — “our Uncle”: Steve Miola.

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Uncle Steve in 2012 installing the image of Our Lady of Lujan he made for the facade of our Juniorate Convent in Washington, DC.

He is known by his works even to those who never met him.  His art has been seen by those who have visited our convents, those who have received a laminated holy card, or even those who have passed by our Washington Juniorate convent on the bus.

What began as support and interest in the lives of two of his nieces who became religious in our community, Sr. Maria del Fiat and Sr. Maria Panagia, turned into a spiritual closeness to all of us and an artistic response to the visual traditions of our community: the Cross of Matara, the IVE shield, Our Lady of Lujan, St John Paul II, Italian philosopher Cornelio Fabro, and Our Lady of Sheshan.

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Uncle Steve presenting his first mosaic of the Panagia to his niece, Sr. Panagia, and his first inlaid wood images of St John Paul II to Sr. Fiat.

As we remember him, honor his legacy, and pray with his family on this day, we also offer our readers a sense of the spirit of family that is a proper note of our charism.

In a very moving ceremony last November, we received a posthumous gift from Uncle Steve: a JPII shield to complete the facade of our Washington convent.

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After the blessing of the image, his widow, Aunt Paula, explained and presented on his behalf and in his spirit.  Aunt-Paula-with-JPII-shield-of-uncle-steve

Fittingly, one of his sons used Uncle Steve’s own powertools to secure the piece in place (all according to the design he had made ahead of time).

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We thank God for this friend, and we commend him and his family to the loving mercy of the Father who gathers us into His fold.  Once again, we meet death during the Easter Season (as with John Paul II’s death in 2005) and re-echo the call “Do not be afraid!” for Christ has conquered death!