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“The Little Chapel That Stood”
24x18″ Oil on Canvas by Rose Gennaro – Painted May 2023
About 8 years ago I visited St. Paul’s Chapel in lower Manhattan with my cousin, Marc. I had never been there before and knew nothing about the history. It is the oldest church in Manhattan – constructed in 1766. NYC is where our first capital was. George Washington dedicated our country to God after his inauguration in this Chapel – April 30, 1789. He attended the church for two years – we saw his pew – it was roped off but still in the church. In addition, there was a display of firemen’s pictures and other artifacts from 9/11 in the back of the church. Some of the firemen killed on 9/11 attended this church. It was also used as a base for the First Responders after the attack.
While researching information about the church, I suddenly had a vision (in my mind) for a painting depicting the Church on 9/11 – which would include George Washington. The elements that I saw and had to be included in the painting were St. Paul’s Chapel, the Twin Towers during the attack (in the background), the Sycamore Tree, George Washington in the chapel dedicating our country to God, and the firemen who risked their lives and/or lost on 9/11. The painting was to tell the story of how God preserved that church because this was where our country was dedicated to Him and He would not let it be destroyed because he made a covenant.
I began drawing the painting on a canvas in the middle of March 2023. After I finished drawing it, a friend in my prayer group told me that Jonathan Cahn talks about St. Paul’s Church in his book, The Harbinger. I had heard of the book but never read it. She sent me an excerpt from it regarding St. Paul’s Chapel. It amazingly told the story that I felt God wanted me to tell in my painting! Jonathan Cahn describes how 9/11 and the Sycamore Tree represented the passage in Isaiah above that parallels what happened in the Old Testament– they were a warning to turn back to God. He says just like in the Old Testament, instead of Israel turning back to God or our country during 9/11, both became arrogant in their own ability to recover from the tragedies. And the Speaker of the House at the time quoted that very scripture to show how resilient we were, not even knowing what it really meant. It really impressed me that the Sycamore Tree, that took the brunt of the debris, saved the church – even though it was a symbol of man’s arrogance. It really demonstrated to me the unfailing mercy of God even when we turn away from Him.
When I was almost done, I placed a single fireman towards the bottom center of the painting, simply because I had to fill in the space with something. I did not realize until AFTER I painted him that he is looking right at George Washington. All the other firemen are dealing with 9/11, but this fireman is focused on George Washington and the significance of what happened in that Church. He ties the present in with the past, and this fireman was having a spiritual awakening, which is what God wants to happen to anyone who will repent and turn to Him in His great mercy and love for us. It would have been awesome if I had deliberately done this, but I didn’t – it just happened by accident, and I have to believe that was the Lord. This entire story illustrates the mercy of God. It truly is the most meaningful and intensely significant painting I have ever done.
Inspired by the Coronavirus Outbreak – “NYC Unmasked”
36x24 Oil on Canvas by Rose Gennaro – Painted April 2020
I was inspired to paint this amidst the coronavirus outbreak in New York City. The virus is depicted in the dark clouds but the light is driving it out. To me the light represents God’s triumph over darkness. I also wanted to express the uncanny resilience NYC is known for and its perseverance through this difficult time. I wanted this to be an inspiration to people and to elicit a feeling of hope and faith.
As I finished the first painting depicting the Coronavirus – ‘In the Midst of the Storm’ (Coronavirus Story), I had a very strong inner sensing from God that I HAD to do a second painting of New York City depicting the virus. God gave me a vision in my mind of the NYC skyline with the Statue of Liberty rising up behind the buildings and bigger than everything else. The sky was to show the coronavirus, but in this painting, I visualized more light breaking through. I used 5 photographs that I had taken myself from various trips to NYC prior to this in order to do the skyline, arranging them in such a way as to show the main buildings and icons that everyone has come to know and love. I painted the skyline first, because I needed to see that on the canvas before I could visualize the sky. At that point I had no idea how I was going to paint the sky to show the virus. I ended up using two photographs I had taken previously also, and then blended them into one using my intuition and sense of what I was trying to express, altering them to show my expression. The entire painting is about what I want to SAY, which shows the coronavirus in the dark clouds, but the light of God is driving it out. I also wanted it to represent the uncanny resilience that NYC is known for – and that it will triumph and be victorious despite the great darkness that has had it in its grip.
What was also extraordinary about this painting, was that when I painted the Statue of Liberty face, I was simply trying to duplicate the actual face of the Statue of Liberty. After painting the first unfinished round of the statue, I was tired and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning I looked at the face and to my shock and amazement it was the face of Jesus! It was not intentional but I have known for a long time that God’s anointing is with me when I paint. I already knew this was a God inspired painting, but this was more confirmation to me that He truly guides my hand.
*This painting and others can also be viewed through a virtual show – “Poughkeepsie Open Studios”