Subiaco (Italy). From 28 December 2023 to 3 January 2024, at the House of Prayer San Biagio of the FMA of Subiaco, Rome, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Roman Province St. John Bosco (IRO), the Iconography Course for beginners was held.

At San Biagio for over twenty years, there have been iconography courses. Through prayer, listening, and artistic practice, each participant learns to move in a unique mystical and aesthetic dimension. The course is aimed at those who want to test themselves in the writing of icons, and thus learn the techniques and the deep meaning of a very ancient activity.

Gina Riccio, one of the participants, recounts her experience of this course held between 2023 and 2024:

“Get together…

– six ‘seekers of light’, coming from different parts of the world: Sister Adriana Miranda Boeno, FMA of Brazil; Adriana García, consecrated Focolarina of Mexico; Mimmo of Naples; Gina Riccio, laywoman in love with God from Rome; Sister Gabriela Banasovà, FMA of Slovakia; and Fra Cornelio Agbawudzo of the Friars Minor of Togo;

– a humble teacher, Sister Anne Decoster, FMA of the Province of Notre-Dame of the Nations (FRB), eager to transmit an ancient tradition, given to her in the past;

– an FMA community, that of San Biagio, that makes you feel at home and takes care of you in the little things.

Here are the essential elements of the iconography course for beginners of late 2023 / early 2024: an experience that has allowed our hearts to enter deeply, letting ourselves be touched by the tenderness of God, become a baby for us, and putting us on the sequela of Jesus Master, source of full Life.

Writing the features, managing the pigments, dosing the mixtures, looking with mercy at the possible errors on the table – ‘because the icon is merciful’ as the teacher reminds us – were steps of a journey into ourselves, where even the words of Saint Therese of Jesus, chosen by Sister Anne to celebrate the 150 years since her birth, have been a compass for us to follow her ‘little way’, the road of confidence and total reliance on the Lord’s grace.

The ancient Byzantine writing of the icons is also intertwined with sharing the lives of other ‘seekers of light’ who landed in Subiaco for an end of the year ‘alternative’ at the House of Prayer San Biagio, immersed in the beauty of creation and built on holy land.

Listening hearts, smiles, silent service, testimonies, games, tombolate, and moments of spirituality, constituted a family atmosphere and joy, as well as having re-tuned our lives with creation and the center of our existence: God.

Joining in the universal prayer, which Pope Francis also repeated in the Angelus of the 1st of the year, we entrusted this new year to the Holy Mother of God and our Mother, so that we can grow in her gentle, silent, and discreet love that generates life, and opens in the world paths of peace and reconciliation’.

For all that has been, thank you, especially to our teacher, Sister Anne, for being an instrument. For all that will be, Yes, in the certainty that our lives are kept in the palm of God’s hand. Happy 2024, directly from the ‘Enlarged’ Community of San Biagio”.



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