Nun's dolls highlight Bible stories, social issues

Sister Francoise explained that her dolls are “inspired by people’s lives, what I’ve seen, what has saddened me, also the beauty and simplicity of people’s lives”.

Singapore
Jun 10 2014, 2:49 PM
Nun's dolls highlight Bible stories, social issues
Sister Francoise Bosteels's dolls.

72-year-old Sister Francoise Bosteels, a Divine Saviour nun, has been for the last 35 years making dolls those depict social issues in India as well as Bible stories.

Born in Belgium, Sister Francoise has been based in India for the past 40 years. She was in Singapore recently for The Dolls Speak exhibition, a four-day event that showcased her dolls at CANA, the Catholic Centre on Waterloo Street.

In an interview to Catholic News, Sister Francoise explained that her dolls are “inspired by people’s lives, what I’ve seen, what has saddened me, also the beauty and simplicity of people’s lives”. Her dolls feature the “celebration of life but also sadness and resistance to what is happening in life”.

At the age of 16, a serious illness had caused her to be bedridden for about one and a half years. Her mother then gave her some materials including cloth and wool, and she “started to make dolls and give character to them”.

The idea of making dolls had come from the idea of recreating the Christmas crib, Sister Francoise said. Currently based in the Indian city of Bangalore, she wanted to make her creations “Indian” so that they could also highlight issues in the country such as “sexual abuse, child labour and prejudice”.

It takes her about 8 to 13 hours to finish one doll, Sister Francoise said, and some of these were done even as she worked as a nurse as part of her vocation.

Sister Francoise also said that she likes to make these dolls as it is a way of “expressing what I feel about certain issues. It can be happy, can be sad, and it can show hope.”

“An awareness about situations in our society, and an invitation to social commitment”, as well as an “invitation to think and take action”, is the message that she hopes her dolls can bring forth.

As for the exhibition that was held at the Catholic Centre from May 23 to 26, Sister Francoise said that the response in general was “very positive”. Some visitors have told her they were reminded that they have taken for granted the privileges they have in Singapore.

Source: Catholic News

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