Folk art is not dead. Just ask Max “God Smuggler” Ramsey, the first customer in line for Salvatorian Sister Karlyn Cauley’s new venture into tattoo artistry.
“When I first came to Sr. Karlyn’s studio, I was still trying to decide on a design. Sr. Karlyn said, ‘How about the Peaceable Kingdom?’ and she showed me a few samples. I finally settled on the much simpler Chi Rho, symbol for PAX Christi. Either way, what better message than ‘peace’ to put out into the world during these contentious – and uncertain – times,” says Ramsey, who takes on the title “Pastor” to his congregation at Immanuel Church Brookfield. “God Smuggler” is more to his liking when engaged in his homeless outreach and gang rescue ministry, known as Street Life.
Sr. Karlyn has been creating her watercolor folk art for decades, and she’s always looking for new ways to grow her customer base to generate income for her Salvatorian community and sustain her artistic pursuits. Her work in the Gallery of the Sisters of the Divine Savior is more than a boutique business – it’s her ministry.
“Exhibiting my works at art shows and sharing my artistic gifts through workshops are opportunities to talk one-on-one with people about our Salvatorian mission and ministries. It’s evangelizing, but in a gentle way,” says Sr. Karlyn. “Getting into tattoo artistry is just another way to do that while reaching a whole new group of people.
“There was a time when anyone with a tattoo was considered a rebel, or at least unconventional, but not so much anymore,” says Sr. Karlyn. “Maybe that’s part of the appeal for me. In the 1800s, our co-founder, Father Francis Jordan, envisioned religious and lay women and men evangelizing the world as equals. Back then, Jordan’s idea was quite unconventional. Today, his vision is our reality. We Sisters of the Divine Savior collaborate with Society of the Divine Savior priests and brothers, and Lay Salvatorian women and men — both married and single. As three branches of the Salvatorian Family, you could say we worship, celebrate, and carry out our ministries as ‘Salvatorian sibs,’ here in the U.S. and around the world.”
Sr. Karlyn also feels her new artistic venture exemplifies the Salvatorian Sisters’ Mission statement, part of which reads:
Our Mission as Sisters of the Divine Savior is to make known the goodness and kindness of Jesus, Savior of the world, and foster awareness of a loving God among peoples in whatever place and by whatever means the Spirit of God inspires.”
Guess you could say Sr. Karlyn is inspired by the tattoo pen.