Meet Sr. Venus Marie Pegar, the nun who paints on the side. She started drawing at an early age and continued her artistic pursuit even when she made the VOW to be God’s servant. She said she is grateful that her congregation, Sisters of St. Francis Xavier, supports her artistry but her community outreach will always come first.
Sister of St. Francis Xavier was portrayed by actress Jessy Mendiola in the August 30, 2014 episode of TV drama show “Maalaala Mo Kaya” on ABS-CBN Channel 2, for her incredible story of life, love, devotion, and vocation. (Please check a short clip of Jessy Mendiola below – Yeah that’s her) 😉
Every artist has an art journey to tell. I as a blogger intend to showcase these stories. Sr. Venus hopes one day she will exhibit her work and that would be her first exposure to the art world including this feature article.
Nuns do paint too. Read her art journey and get inspired. Enjoy!
You’re a nun. At what point in your life did you realize the artist side of yourself? When did you develop it and what influenced you to pursue it as one of your passions, second to serving the Lord?
Actually, artist runs in the family. I started drawing at an early age of eight (Grade 3, at that time). My dad was also an artist but only known to some. He encouraged me to draw and supplied me with the materials. It is not really a second option together with serving the Lord. My siblings: my brother is a professional artist based in Cebu and my other brother is into graphics.
How many years have you been a nun? Under what order or congregation? Do they support your artistry or did you struggle with that aspect?
I’ve been in the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis Xavier for eight years and a professed sister only for four years since I entered the convent in my later years after working outside.
My congregation and community supports me with my artistry. I’m so at peace in reawakening my passion even our superior general approves it with love. And most especially, the support of my brother who provides me with the materials.
How old are now? Where are you from? Your life story was featured on TV’s ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ (in the episode “Sulat,” last August 2014). How did they learn about you? Did you write to them and sent your story?
Last December 11, I turned 38. I was born in Leyte but studied college and worked in Manila. I hid my identity in my MMK story to protect everyone. I just made it known to some close friends and family. At the end of the episode, my pic appeared so some recognized me.
How many suitors and how many boyfriends did you have before you decided to pursue Holy Orders? Your last boyfriend must have been crushed with your decision to become a nun. Did he or did any of those men who came into your life inspire you to paint?
I had a lot of suitors during my younger years but I only had one boyfriend until the time when I decided to enter… My dad inspired me to paint since it was our bonding moment together before he died.
What is your first masterpiece? Tell us about it.
My first drawing was when I was eight years old. My dad encouraged me to draw so I came out with the portrait of Ms. Gloria Romero in pencil. The portrait ended up as a birthday gift to my grandmother.
You are also an educator now? Where? What do you teach? How long have you been teaching? What do you always tell your students?
I am currently assigned as a formator to aspirant, and postulant of our congregation. My position helps them spiritually on how to be a Religious Sister of our congregation. I always impart in them the reality that we are created by our loving Creator so we need to be creative and express our great appreciation of all things around us by means of art like painting. Every Tuesday and Thursday night is their artworks and painting time with myself.
As a nun, you also get to serve at masses. What is your role? Are you part of the choir, lector, communion minister, or donation collector?
Besides being a formator and vocation directress of our congregation, I’m also help in our mission in taking care of the elderly in our institution, the Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly and Abandoned. We serve and cater to 20 abandoned senior citizens. We have our own Sunday Mass wherein we ourselves are the choir, commentator, and lector. I also teach our candidates about music, singing, and playing guitar; flute and keyboard, a bit.
Who are the artists you look up to?
I look up to all the artists with their artistic masterpieces but recently, I have been admiring the works of United Women Artists Association of the Philippines (UWAAP); most especially, the obras (paintings) of Ms. Menchu Arandilla (Please check my featured post on Menchu here). So amazing!
How do you juggle your roles? What is your weekly schedule? What is your best art work? Tell us about it. Do you sell your paintings?
I just do my paintings on my free time. I don’t let it intervene with my mission work in the congregation. I paint during our evening recreation and sometimes Sunday afternoon.
The best painting I have is my second try with the oil painting, the sunflower. I took a picture of that sunflower somewhere in Tagaytay as we had our first community outing. I like sunflowers so I’m planning to paint more of it.
Before, I never thought of selling my art as I used to just give my charcoal paintings to some friends. But now I realized that I could contribute to the financial needs of our Formation and Mission Program of our Congregation. Wishing, I get to sell my art works and with the help of UWAAP (Check my UWAAP post here: Filipinas all over gather for love of art at the 1st SBMA ‘Bagong Pinay’ Arts Summit) I will fulfill my wish.
I would like to experience an art exhibit showcasing my works. This will be my first exposure to the art world and thanks to this article; she hopes to get more exposure.
What is the latest about you? Where can people view your work? Any upcoming exhibits or events you would like people to know about?
I only started painting seriously. I just simply post it on my Facebook account. People can also just view the page of UWAAP as I also update my ongoing paintings there.
All images courtesy of the artist.