February 20, 2024 // Diocese

St. Joseph in Garrett to Host Eucharistic Art Show

By Matt Getts

St. Joseph Parish in Garrett will be linking artistic expression with the ongoing Eucharistic Revival through a unique Holy Eucharist Art Show to be held Friday, March 1, through Monday, March 4.

The goal of the art show, St. Joseph Pastoral Associate Eileen Sarrazine told Today’s Catholic, “is to help people know Christ in the Eucharist.”

Submissions for the art show have come from parishioners and those outside of the St. Joseph community and will include drawings, paintings, clay sculptures, collages, papier-maché, abstract paintings, poetry, crayon drawings, and music. The deadline for submitting works is Sunday, February 25. Email Sarrazine to arrange submission of these works at [email protected].


The parish is inviting those from other churches throughout the region to attend. Those who do can take part in an interactive painting created by local artist Andy Boyden. Everyone will be welcome to add their own brushstroke to Boyden’s work, entitled “The Light for All to See,” throughout the weekend’s art show.

Boyden has poured hours upon hours into the work, but he told Today’s Catholic that he has no qualms with letting others contribute.

“It’s really for the kids, for the community,” Boyden said. “It’s their painting. It’ll be fun.”

Once completed, the 5-foot by 7-foot painting will be hung in the stairwell of St. Joseph Catholic School.

Boyden, who runs his own ad agency, came up with the theme for the painting, which includes several key locations important to the parish and school, after consulting with school and parish leaders. Prints of Boyden’s work will be available for pre-sale.

Artist Elly Tullis, who had a show at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art with her series of paintings of the Virgin Mary, will begin the event at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, as she shares her conversion story to Catholicism and will unveil her work of art that will be auctioned off on Good Friday, March 29.

Other artwork, produced by schoolchildren and other members of the community, will also be on display.

The Holy Eucharist Art Show, held in the school’s gymnasium, will continue for an hour following each of the weekend Masses. The hours will be: 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2; 9-10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. A closing reception will be held from 7-8 p.m. on Monday, March 4.

Garrett Artist Shares Conversion Story

Elly Tullis

God has come to Elly Tullis in a special way through art.

And now Tullis, 40, is sharing her gift with St. Joseph Catholic Church in Garrett in a very personal way.

Tullis will be displaying one of her paintings during St. Joseph’s Eucharistic Art Show from Friday, March 1, through Monday, March 4, in the school gymnasium. The painting will be auctioned off on Good Friday, March 29, with proceeds benefitting the church and school.

Her story, which she will share at 7 p.m. on March 1 to begin the event, is as inspiring as her art.

Like many stories of God interceding in the lives of His faithful, hers was born of pain.

It was winter of 2018. Her newborn daughter refused to sleep. This went on for weeks. Tullis was at her wit’s end.

“I was begging for sleep – and praying,” she said.

She grew up in a house without organized religion. Her single mother still enrolled her in St. John’s Catholic School in Fort Wayne. She eventually graduated from Bishop Luers High School.

Being one of the few who were not Catholic, she said her experiences left her feeling like an outsider.

“I turned my back on the Catholic Church,” Tullis said.

She attended Indiana University in Bloomington, majoring in art, and she took several classes that introduced her to early Christian art.

While she said she was “really against organized religion” as an adult, she still prayed, fervently even, as a mother with a newborn and a toddler. In her sleepless nights, she began to save artistic images of Mary on her phone. She began to wonder what Mary really looked like. Who was she praying too? She needed a face to associate with the prayers.

Photos provided by Elly Tullis
Local artist Elly Tullis’s painting of Mary and Jesus will be on display at the art show in Garrett.

On New Year’s Day in 2019, she had an epiphany of sorts. She said she immediately “just needed to paint.” Tullis created a painting of Mary, which she showed to the president of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. He liked it, and she painted another. He suggested she do a series of paintings of God’s Mother and offered her a show at the museum.

She set to work. And God continued to work on her.

On May 13, 2019, she felt inspired to begin praying the Rosary. She didn’t own a rosary at the time, so she drew one she could follow along with. In June of that year, she began to consider joining the Catholic Church.

“I just wanted to be as close to Jesus as possible,” she said. “I felt this magnetism toward Jesus – I couldn’t turn away.”

In August of 2019, she and her husband began going to Mass again, and later, she inquired about joining the Church. She credits Mary’s intervention in her life.

“She woke me up,” Tullis said. “I was so lost. I had no idea.”

From January 1, 2019, until November of that year, she created 31 paintings of Mary. Obstacles kept popping up. She pushed through them all.

The show at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art was held from November of 2019 until COVID shut down the museum in early 2020.

In June of 2020, she formally joined the Catholic Church.

Today, she looks back in wonder at the gift of faith, at the presence of God when she didn’t even recognize it. She pointed to something that happened at her home years before. In 2017, her husband, Michael, was putting an addition on their home as the couple expected their first child. A hickory floor had been laid, and as she went into the new room for the first time, a board caught her eye right under a window. She said she saw an image of the Madonna with her Child in the grain of the wood – wood that was more than 100 years old.

God had been with her this whole time, she realized. Had a plan for her even before she was conceived.

And now, her work has inspired countless people. Attendees of her art show on the series of Mary have written her letters of thanks, telling her how one painting or another had gotten them through tough times.

She paints for herself and her family, mostly. But this latest work, which will be on display at the Eucharistic art show at St. Joseph in Garrett, is meant to be shared.

“Sometimes God calls for me to share my work and what He’s done for me,” she said.

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