Mystic Marriage of St Catherine (Copy after Murillo)

Oil on canvas, 29.1/2” x 37.1/4” inside frame.

Carmelite Monastery, 20000, North County Line Road, Piedmont, Oklahoma 73078

The artist, Jessica Dragonette, gift to present owner March 1955.

The original painting is in the Museo de Arte Antiga, Lisbon (some authorities say it is only attributable to the artist). However, the picture was only acquired in 1920, having previously been in the Palazzo Nationale di Ajuda, so it must be that Muller-Ury copied (in 1883 during his stay in Rome) the one previously considered an original and which had been given after 1850 by Queen Isabella of Spain to Pope Pius IX and was exhibited before 1885 in the old Vatican museum (no. 411, presently in store).

The following letter from Jessica Dragonette, written from 350, East 57th Street, New York, on March 26, 1955 to the old premises at 4200 N. Meridian Street, Oklahoma City, is held at the Convent for a copy of which the editor is most grateful:

‘Dearest Mother Teresa,

Nikki [Nicholas M. Turner, her husband] and I were delighted to have a visit with our much beloved Father Vincent recently. It was then that I asked him the advisability of sending you a beautiful painting that has been in my collection for some years.

The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine by Murillo and copied in Spain by great Italian-Swiss painter A. Muller-Ury. It is very beautiful, marvellously executed and full of devotional reverence.

I feel it belongs in the Carmel in Oklahoma City mainly because you are there and I beg you to accept it as my Easter greeting to you and the Nuns.

Naturally it is yours to place wherever you wish; yet if I might express a hope – it would be that the picture might find itself in the enclosure!

Do you remember A. Muller-Ury from my book?  He was a very distinguished painter. His portraits of Pius the Tenth are in the Vatican and in Switzerland. He painted everyone of importance during a period of thirty five years from 1893 to 1947. This Murillo he copied, as he did many other Spanish painters for technical reference.

The picture must be carefully crated so when it arrives be sure it is very cautiously unpacked so as not to injure the canvas, as once torn, the canvas is very difficult to mend.

It is framed very simply; naturally this could be changed to an ornate Florentine, or Spanish frame should you want the picture outside the enclosure or in the Chapel.

Father likes it very much and assured me you would accept it. I am very happy over this!

Much love to you and all at Carmel. Devotedly                                                 Jessica.’