Two Hail Marys, one Our Father and the grace of your hands.

Silent prayer within the cloister


Year 2013
Oil on board
155 x 231 cm

Two nuns, two wives of Christ, in the intimacy of the convent work on the domestic chores. Inside the cloister, the smell of light and transparency, the taste of God. A picture of silent prayer that, like the vapour in the soup of the poor, rises to the centre of the Kingdom of Heaven.

“Dos Salves, un Padre nuestro y la gracia de tus manos”, is a refrain of copla in the voice of the people, a scene of the customs of my city of Seville, of the eternal and hidden Seville, Marian par excellence, whose foundations the centuries have dressed in history, in distilled essences and chilling silences, in ancient songs that murmur in the fountains and rock eternally in the river.

Our convents are very rich and substantial jewels of our patrimony, witnesses of faith, custodians of the consecrated life that renounces the pleasures of the world to give itself to the development of virtue, to the field of purely spiritual knowledge, a path full of sacrifices, of generous dedication and commitment.

The observance of the strict rules of monastic life makes it impossible for anyone who is not a member of the monastery to enter it. This is the added value of this image that, in an unexpected and casual way, I was able to contemplate for a few moments.

On top of the old medieval monastery of the Knights of the Order of Santiago de la Espada, in the collation of San Vicente in the old district of San Lorenzo, stands the convent of the Reverend Mothers of the Assumption.

God and my good fortune made the present Mother Superior take notice of me to entrust me with a mission, different and alien to the work we are now doing.

During our meeting, with generous benevolence, she allowed me to cross the insurmountable boundaries that separate the public from the private, the secular from the religious life, the material from the spiritual, by opening the door to the courtyard of the cloister, wide open, as well as that of my senses to the perception of a time spent in detention that transmits aromas of holiness.

 There, in the room they call the wardrobe, were Mother Mary Elizabeth sewing and Mother Anne-Marie ironing, guardian angels of faith on an altar of light, the light of God.

Overwhelmed by the sweetness and peace of this exceptional moment, I felt the urgent need to try and preserve it by turning it into painting. Chimerical illusion, impossible dream…

Oh, if only the states of the soul could be painted!


©María José Aguilar

“They say that, since I learned to express myself verbally, I manifested a fervent and unwavering desire: TO PAINT



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