Connie Leon looks over The Last Supper wood relief carving she donated to St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Catholic Secondary School. Photo courtesy Angel Foundation for Learning

The Last Supper artwork finds familiar home

  • March 26, 2021

After decades hanging in Connie Leon’s dining room, a compelling depiction of The Last Supper has found a new home at St. Joseph Morrow Park Catholic Secondary School.

The wood relief carving, which portrays Jesus and His disciples on the night before His crucifixion, was blessed and dedicated in the chapel at the Toronto school’s new building March 15. The piece, which is said to have originated in Germany, adds the final touch to the chapel and was blessed by Fr. Ed Murphy, pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish.

Leon says getting the opportunity to donate the five-by-two-foot artwork to the school has been an act of divine providence.

Leon has been a long-time patron of the Angel Foundation of Learning which administers a student bursary in the name of her husband, Tom, who passed away in 2009. In the middle of a move, Leon approached executive director John Yan about finding a new spot for the piece. When Yan came back with the suggestion that the carving be installed at St. Joseph Morrow Park, Leon — who has a special family connection to the school — was bowled over by the idea.

“I was just saying, John, my heart’s just pounding fast right now because this is coming full circle,” said Leon. “My husband’s daughters went to school at Morrow Park, as well as his brother’s daughters. It’s almost as if it has come home to rest in a most significant manner because the strong support that the Leon family does have in religious studies in the Catholic school board. To have The Last Supper hanging there, it’s like, yes, this is where it belongs.”

Leon says the light brown carving, which seemingly by fate matches perfectly with other features in the new chapel, is just another example of how God brought everything together. She believes her husband would be pleased to know the piece will be a blessing to a school so near and dear to the heart of the family.

“Education was important to my husband as was his faith,” said Leon. “I’m glad that representation of him has found a place to hang properly.”

Yan, former chief of communications with the Toronto Catholic board before moving on to the Angel Foundation 18 months ago, has followed the journey of the school’s new building over the years. He too was struck at how perfectly everything has come together at the right time.

“God works in mysterious ways and certainly this was one where everything fell into place,” said Yan. “It just fit beautifully in terms of the connection that the Leon family has with the school in terms of the daughters that have attended. It was divine intervention. I don’t think you could call it anything else.”

In 2006, the Sisters of St. Joseph sold Morrow Park to Tyndale University College and Seminary. While a new high school was under construction nearby, classes continued at the original school.

One of the most treasured features of the original building was the chapel which held its last Mass in November 2012. With the ties to the Leon family, The Last Supper adds a touch of history from the original building and to a Catholic theme that means so much to so many.

“It has been a long journey,” said Yan. “To have (the school chapel) completed with the installation of such a beautiful sculpture that is at the heart of what we believe as Catholics is just the ultimate gift.”

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