Leslie Karam, wife of Jerome Karam, with Father Skip in front of the Masterpieces from 1850, Stations of the Cross from the Estate of Anne Rice
Jerome Karam, Texas Real Estate Mogul, Acquires Unique French Collection from Vampire Author Anne Rice and a Catholic Church in Friendswood Texas
— Jerome Karam, Founder JMK5 Holdings, Real Estate Mogul
FRIENDSWOOD , TEXAS, USA, February 20, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Jerome and Leslie Karam acquired 14 historic French Christian masterpieces known as the “Station of the Cross” from renowned author Anne Rice for Mary Queen Catholic Church. Because of their vision and generosity these French oil paintings now resided in their Church in Friendswood, Texas. The parishioners of Mary Queen Catholic Church enjoy the beauty and reference of these incredibly lovely antiquities from 1830, every day.
The story of how these 14 masterpieces found their way from Paris to New Orleans to Friendswood is remarkable, a mission of love and faith.
In 1830, the Daughters of Charity were sent from Paris, France to New Orleans, Louisiana to the poorest and most vulnerable. They immediately set up schools and hospitals helping the outcast, the ones no one wanted. The Daughters of Charity main focus was children, in 1865 a girl’s boarding school was built in New Orleans, St. Elizabeth School.
Within a few years due to yellow fever and cholera a flood of children were left without one or both parents. In 1872 St. Elizabeth’s became an orphanage for girls. The nuns purchased several buildings next to them to accommodate their growing needs, creating a 47,000 square foot home. In their expansion, of course, was a beautiful chapel, adorned with stunning stain glass windows, which is now known as the “White Chapel”. On these incredibly ornate walls hung 14 hand painted stations of the cross framed in antique dark French wood, each stations name is written in French. In 1989 the orphanage closed.
The property was put on the market and in 1993 was purchased by legendary Vampire Author Anne Rice. Anne invested millions toward restoring the vacant orphanage and turning it into the largest home in the city. One of Anne Rice’s favorite rooms was the “White Chapel” where she housed her extremely large melancholic collection of handmade dolls. After Rice’s husband passed away, she decided to sell the now 55,000 square foot property with 93 rooms and all the religious articles that came with the Orphanage. Developer Elie Khoury of New Orleans bought this massive property with its furnishings and developed it into exquisite high-end condos and town homes.
Elie Khoury’s best friend is Developer Jerome Karam of Friendswood, Texas. As friends and developers discussing their ventures, Mr. Khoury mentioned the “White Chapel” and its beautiful paintings. Intrigued by these antique paintings of the cross, Jerome took a trip to New Orleans to see for himself. As he states “They were beyond beautiful, my heart was so filled when I saw them. I knew immediately the perfect home for them.” Jerome and his wife Leslie were in the planning stages of building Mary Queen Catholic Church in Friendswood. These stations of the cross would be perfect!
Getting them to Friendswood was a bit of a challenge as they were so heavy and large. Your mind wonders how did the Daughter’s of Charity get these 14 masterpieces from France to Louisiana in 1865? When Jerome and Leslie donated them to Father Skip, he was in awe. Father and the Karam’s decided to change the plans for the Church to accommodate the paintings. Mary Queen Church is a replica of the Our Lady of La Sallet Church that sits high up in the French Alps, where many people journey for miracles. Inside the Church in Friendswood, Texas, hanging on the walls are the exquisite oil paintings illustrating Christ’s walk from betrayal to crucifixion. After reading the history of the paintings, one of the members of the Church approached Mrs. Karam to share with her that her mother was one of the orphans at St. Elizabeth’s. Many others have shared moving stories of how these painting have enriched them in their faith.
How life sometimes comes full circle. How one person sees a vision, acts on it and changes other’ lives, this is the blessing of God. Bishop Benedict Flaget sent 14 beautiful French oil paintings of the Stations of the Cross over the ocean from Paris, France to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1865 to give strength and faith to the Daughters of Charity and the downhearted. Now Jerome and Leslie’s’ for their Church and God, these French masterpieces adorn the walls of Mary Queen Catholic Church of Friendswood Texas.
Bianca Bucaram PRGroup
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