Haven for Hope officials and St. Mary’s University representatives and students gathered on Wednesday, May 19 to dedicate one of the largest murals in San Antonio. Featuring bright and festive colors, the massive painting spans 520 feet, nearly the length of two football fields, and stands eight feet tall. It consists of 58 different depictions that range from San Antonio landmarks to religious imagery to nature scenes. The mural was designed by Marianist Brother Cletus Behlmann, S.M., St. Mary’s University Artist in Residence and renowned cultural artist. Behlmann enlisted the volunteer support of more than 50 St. Mary’s students to help him paint the mural, and together they spent approximately 250 hours on the project.
“What excited me the most about this project was the chance to work on it with St. Mary’s students” said Behlmann. “The mural gave the students the unique opportunity to participate in a valuable learning, artistic and community service project. It was exciting to watch their artistic abilities and interpretations come alive through painting.”
The mural adorns the inside walls of the Prospects Courtyard area of the Haven for Hope campus. Prospects Courtyard is an outdoor safe sleeping area designed to accommodate the chronically homeless. The area will accommodate 400 individuals each night, where they will also receive three meals a day and have access to restrooms and shower facilities, as well as medical care.
“This mural is a priceless gift to Haven for Hope,” said Haven for Hope Chairman Bill Greehey. “For many, the journey to transform their lives and become happy, productive, and self-sufficient citizens again will begin here. Brother Cletus and St. Mary’s students have created this beautiful mural that truly creates a sense of hope, and helps make Prospects Courtyard a friendly and inviting space, which will help attract more homeless to take advantage of what Prospects Courtyard – and ultimately our transformational program – have to offer.”
Rev. John A. Leies, S.M., president emeritus of St. Mary’s University, was on hand to bless the mural and Prospects Courtyard. He also lauded Haven for Hope and Greehey, who is a St. Mary’s graduate (B.B.A. ’60) and former Board of Trustees member. Greehey has also been an avid supporter of St. Mary’s University as a donor and assisted in major fundraising efforts.
“The mission of Haven for Hope is in line with the Marianist traditions of community service and helping your fellow man,” said Leies. “These are the values we emphasize at St. Mary’s University. The Marianist and St. Mary’s University community are very proud of our distinguished alum, Bill Greehey, and his involvement in Haven for Hope.”
About Haven for Hope
Haven for Hope is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless people in the San Antonio area by providing a wide array of necessary social services in a convenient central location. Its mission is to help reduce homelessness in the San Antonio area by providing homeless people the resources, skills and assistance necessary to become self-sufficient in a dignified manner that is efficient and cost-effective. For more information about Haven for Hope, visit the organization’s website at havenforhope.org.