Thomas More Society Awards Scholarship to Catholic School Student for Pro-Life Artwork
“If you let me live”
By Olivia, Thomas More Society scholarship recipient
You knit me together,
So we can be a family forever.
I may kick, shout, and cry,
But I know you try.
Hopefully, I will be able to give you a big hug,
as we sit together on this rug.
All of this is possible,
if you just let me live.
Please let me live,
I will mean the world to you.
We are proud to award Olivia—an eighth-grade student at a Springfield-area Catholic school—a $500 scholarship in recognition of her remarkable pro-life artwork.
Her beautiful painting will be hung in the Thomas More Society’s Chicago office, as a reminder of the joy of God’s creation and our mission to defend human life and dignity.
What first began as a poem written for art class, soon grew into a larger project that came to life on the canvas. “It first started as just something to do in class, but it turned into something much more,” Olivia said. She painted the piece with the encouragement of Kimberly Steil Magowan, her art teacher.
“This year, my 8th-grade art students created a poem or writing on the dignity and sanctity of human life, in regards to abortion,” Kimberly explained. Olivia credited conversations with her mother on the topic along with her art teacher’s faith and example as inspirations for the artwork.
It was Olivia’s realization that the womb is a world of its own, the entire world as the unborn child knows it, that became the inspiration for the powerful visual metaphor of the painting. “To me, a sunrise symbolizes a new day—and a new life,” Olivia added. Her painting was also awarded first place and Best of Show at the Diocese of Springfield’s Art Showcase.
Kimberly’s art class always begins with a prayer. “I believe art and prayer are connected in that they are both a human activity to help us access the Divine—prayer directly and art indirectly—through the appreciation of the truth and beauty of the represented object,” she said. She sees this approach to teaching, creating, and appreciating art as a crucial part of the mission of Catholic schools. “Both help the student see the world sacramentally, as a manifestation of God’s truth, goodness, and beauty.”
For Kimberly, forming young hearts and minds, like Olivia’s, has been a lifelong passion and an integral part of her life as a Catholic. “I feel both honored and blessed for the opportunity I have been given to practice both of these passions to serve Our Lord in my [teaching] positions,” she said.
“When I saw the painting, it immediately impacted me. It brought tears to my eyes,” said Thomas Olp, Vice-President and Senior Counsel at the Thomas More Society. “Art is important for understanding what it means to be human, and it is an important aid to growing in faith.”
Springfield Right to Life and Two Hearts Springfield also awarded Olivia an additional $100 for her moving artwork.