Nestled on a grassy slope outside the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, near Lincoln, NE, is the life-size bronze sculpture of the Holy Family.
When asked by the Carmelites to create a sculptural interpretation of Murillo's famous painting, Jonson explored and developed the intricate and grace-filled relationships between the three members of the Holy Family.
Mary turns tenderly to her Son, her right hand gently supporting Him, and her left hand open, palm up, as if receiving His blessing.
St. Joseph also lovingly supports the Child's hand, while gazing steadily ahead, as if alert for any concerns or dangers. Joseph's staff, transforming into a lily, symbolizes his purity.
And the Child Jesus, standing above them, seems to serenely contemplate His Father in Heaven, listening and adoring.
The sculpture is graceful and serene, yet full of vibrant strength and remarkable details. Live models posed for the figures and the clothing, and the artist researched the history of symbolism in Holy Family images. She imagined this as the Family might have appeared, stopping to rest by the roadside as they made the long journey back from Egypt to settle in Nazareth.