51 Framed Prints Tell Stories

Saints Adorn Heelan’s New Hallways
Posted on 01/01/2018
St. Thomas

Enter the hallways of the new Heelan and you will immediately notice a framed print of Saint Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of Catholic Schools, considered the church’s greatest theologian and philosopher. There are 41 pieces of framed saints hanging on the school’s two floors and 10 more are coming.

The pieces clearly depict Heelan as a Catholic School and are placed thanks to the efforts of Father Shane Deman now in his third year as Heelan Chaplain. Father Deman, a 1999 Heelan grad who also serves as the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Sioux City, was inspired by his travels.

“I have seen other buildings with the lives of the saints in seminaries and Catholic universities so it was something I wanted to replicate here,” the Heelan Chaplain says. “The fact that we had lockers only on one side of the hallways in the new school gave us an opportunity to do something educational and inspirational.”


The saints represent diverse ethnicities and feature a plaque with a description next to each print. The artist included basic information and Father Deman added other details on their history and if they were a patron saint.


 “There is a religious element with the art and historical lessons too,” he says. ”There are saints who are known missionaries, scholastic champions and figures that go back to the ancient Roman Empire. I picked saints that could relate to the students. Some are popular some are more obscure.”

The artist is from Washington state and creates contemporary images of saints. Framing was completed by local artist Bob Sissel and Avery Brothers created the plaques and hung the work with Sissel’s guidance.


A thematic and uniform look was important.


“The goal was to create a uniform design that was tasteful but also educational and inspirational on the religious level,” Father Deman says.  “Principal Chris Bork and I wanted art to be uniform throughout the building so we did not throw up a hodge-podge variety of works. I think the images turned out well.”


More is coming. Fourteen inspirational Scripture passages will soon be stenciled above each locker section and the crucifix from the old Heelan Chapel and Cathedral will be hung in a stairwell.