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Mandala Guidebook Contributor: Michael O’Neill McGrath

Michael O'Neill McGrath

Artist: Michael O’Neill McGrath

Location: New Jersey, USA

Found on page: 132

Title of Art: Tree of Life

Materials: acrylic on board

How is creating mandalas a prayerful practice for you?

Painting the TREE OF LIFE was a true game changer in my life’s work. It was not the first mandala I’d ever painted, but it was the first one I created with deep, prayerful focus. Because it came to me in days of profound grief following the death of my best friend, I found myself open to a new experience and the opportunity to let go of old approaches and expectations.

For six days I worked under the guidance of my dear friend and wise teacher, Carla McConnell, a master mandala painter.  Carla gently led me through the initial steps of the process, and then left me to my own devices and explorations. As colors and shapes emerged and intersected, I experienced feelings of joy and inner peace right alongside my sadness. The TREE OF LIFE reminds me that creativity has great healing power and blesses us with serenity.

Brother Mickey McGrathMeet Bro. Mickey McGrath

Living and working in the most dangerous city in the United States, and one of the poorest, I have discovered new meaning for my talents and gifts; the revelation of unexpected beauty which crosses paths with the pain and challenges I see before me every day.

Bro. Mickey, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, is a popular and engaging presenter who happily travels to conferences, parishes, and retreat centers throughout North America to deliver the good news about deep and often whimsical connections between art and religious faith.

He is the author and illustrator of eleven books, many of which have received awards from Catholic publishing associations.  His own articles, or articles about him, have appeared in America Magazine, Commonweal, St. Anthony Messenger, USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many diocesean newspapers around the country.

Since 1987, he has served on summer faculty at the Grünewald Guild in Washington State where he’s also a Guild Master. A native of Philadelphia, Bro. Mickey currently lives and works in Camden, NJ and is parishioner at Sacred Heart Church, a parish within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden.

You’re invited to connect with him and join the conversation on Facebook, where you can also find new pictures in real time!


The Mandala Guidebook: How to Draw, Paint, and Color Expressive Mandala Art” by Kathryn Costa is available from North Light Books.

Meet the other contributors at the online Book Launch Party.

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