Tomie dePaola and Glastonbury Abbey

Tomie dePaola (1934 - 2020) was a prolific, celebrated writer and illustrator. Perhaps most famous for the magic cooking pot of Strega Nona, dePaola created more than 260 books, including dozens on the lives of the saints and various Catholic holidays. Nearly 25 million copies of his books have been sold.

Glastonbury Abbey is proud to have a wonderful connection with Tomie and his glorious work. Tomie came to Glastonbury Abbey to paint in 1962. At this point, he was at a Benedictine monastery in Vermont discerning a vocation and creating liturgical art.

Tomie had been a Catholic all his life but after six months determined monasticism was not for him. Yet his spirituality continued to inform his art, and he presented the traditions of faith and the lives of the saints in a simple and delightful way to his favorite audience, children. Some of the best examples of Tomie’s liturgical art are here at Glastonbury Abbey. He painted beautiful murals which are located in the monks’ refectory. He also painted the Stations of the Cross, the Cross over the altar, and the icon of St. Benedict in the Abbey Church, which you are welcome to come see.

He returned to Glastonbury Abbey in 2019 in all his gentle and merry sweetness. He hadn’t seen his artwork here for over 50 years. When he entered the church, his eyes welled up; he said it was like seeing his long-lost children. He had a delightful afternoon here, captivating the crowd with his humor and innate kindness. He entertained questions for hours and didn’t leave until the last person left and the last book was signed.

Tomie was kind enough to design our Christmas card in 2020. Soon thereafter, the world lost Tomie but his legacy of art and love will live on forever. And he was able to be reunited with his “children” here at the Abbey before he died.

If you have any questions, please contact Hayes Shea at 781-749-2155 ext. 343