I Lost My Teacher … But I Know Where to Find Her

Today I learned that my iconography teacher, Bernadette Weber, has passed away. I will never forget her.

The following is a re-posting of the original blog post, documenting our first meeting.

Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn


(Originally posted Sept. 24, 2009)

After church last Sunday a dear friend and I visited the studio of a local iconographer, Bernadette Weber. It was all part of the ARTrails of Southwest Washington Studio Tour (last chance this weekend) but we were on a mission to see just this one studio.

When Bonnie Jean and I entered the studio I felt my knees give and I could hear the force of Bonnie Jean’s indrawn breath match my own.

We knew we had entered a place were holy things happen.

We were surrounded by images of saints and angels, of joy and sorrow — and if there is a category of joyful sorrow, then that too. Bernadette had three or four pieces in various stages of completion, dirty brushes strewn about, half-finished drawings, well-used paint jars, rosaries galore, every inch of wall space covered with color and gold and shine. It was overwhelming and humbling, but welcoming.

It was a Gift to have been allowed inside her studio.

21ArtrailsI found myself asking her, “So how do I get to be your student? Are you taking students? What do I do? How much money do I need to get started? When can I start? I need to do this!”

It’s very uncharacteristic of me to be so bold, so pushy (okay, in this situation anyway, I’m well aware that I can be pushy in others!)

But Bernadette seemed to be familiar with my brand of enthusiasm. She told a story of a man who had walked into her studio and shouted, “I MUST do this! How do I start? I want to start NOW!”

“The essential feature of the icon is a presence of the unutterable that flows out of a material form.” -Fr. Egon Sendler SJ

I can’t wait to get started. Would you mind if I took you on this journey with me?


The icon I wrote for my mother in the Fall of 2010 with Bernadette Weber (far right), the Mandylion

Later, while I was her student, I blogged about my journey: A Journey Into Icon Writing Begins Tomorrow (here you can see an icon Bernadette wrote featuring St. Catherine of Siena, one of my favorite saints); Day One Icons: Blessing, Gesso-ing and Preparation; Day 3 of Icon Writing; Day 4 of Icon Writing; Missing Jesus Face; Day 6 of Icon Writing: I Love My Jesus;  and this is my favorite, featuring Bernadette’s spiritual teaching, Day 7: Icon Writing with Jesus; and my last post before I gave my mother the icon for Christmas, The Same Jesus; my next planned icon, An Angel, Raphael.

I have gathered these links together for my own use, mainly. I don’t expect anyone to click through them. But it was quite a journey. Bernadette led me into the very heart of the Spirit within.

You are honored, Bernadette. Thank you.

~ by Kimberly Mason on February 29, 2012.

3 Responses to “I Lost My Teacher … But I Know Where to Find Her”

  1. Ah Friend, I’m sorry for your loss. I remember this journey. I can’t see an icon without recalling it.
    In hindsight, I’m smiling at your initial conversation. Now you boldly interview people right where they stand…in the river…in their backyards…at a parade…at a shooting range…
    Wow…where you’ve gone with this…just wow.
    Sending Love across the states.

  2. You did not lose your teacher, m’dear, she just moved to a better home. She is in your heart. She is in your soul. She is an integral part of your special journey. There are not many people who we can say have had such profound influence on our lives; they are the ones whose spirit lives on though us. Celebrate her life and what she has trusted you to incorporate into yours!

  3. I remember this journey – it was fascinating to me. I’m so glad you got to take the journey & that you’ll always carry a piece of Bernadette with you.

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