Anja Renkes


Anja Renkes
Theology Major, Irish Studies Minor, Studio Art Minor, Class of 2020
University of Notre Dame

I was born in Washington DC and later moved to Alaska, from one island to another on the West Coast and then ultimately settled in Jackson, Wyoming. I’m very content living in close proximity with animals and dirt, and love hiking/backpacking/cross country skiing and any outdoors activity. Seeking to live with a deep gratitude for creation and God’s gift of his presence in the Eucharist has transformed what I study at university and ultimately my heart. Saint Faustina is my patron saint and the devotion of Divine Mercy has been instrumental in the way God has shaped me.

I have a deep love for Ireland, Irish people, art and the Irish language. As an oil landscape painter and aspiring Sacred Artist, I am currently finishing a collection of paintings of Irish holy wells. This collection, comprised of works in oil and wax, entitled, Numinous Beauty, focuses on telling the story of hope and communion experienced at holy wells by displaying visually accessible signs of pilgrimage practice.[1] My great desire is to create artwork that explores the cultural relevance of Catholic devotional prayer and pilgrimage connected with the landscape. As I focus on highlighting pilgrimage sites and holy wells that may have existed since early medieval Ireland, I seek to underscore the long history of deep awareness and a care for one another and creation that is a part of Ireland’s ancient heritage. I firmly believe that images enable communication and understanding where polarization or illness otherwise cause people to become illiterate and inaccessible to one another. Ave Maria.

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