“What is most deeply human is the search for truth, the insatiable need for the good, hunger for freedom, nostalgia for the beautiful, and the voice of conscience.”

-JPII, Redeemer of Man


“They called him from a far‐away country… far, but always near in the communion of faith and the Christian tradition.”

- Pope John Paul II, first public speech upon becoming Pope, October 16, 1978

Romek and JPH studio
Kraków artist, Romuald Oramus, with John Hittinger, in his studio.

In the Stream of Time. Romuald Oramus. Painting and prints

Where: Link-Lee Mansion, The University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose Blvd., Houston Texas 77006

Opening of the exhibition: Wednesday, May 18, 5:30-8:00pm.

Co-sponsored by Richard and Melynda Ludwick, President and First Lady of the University of St. Thomas, the Saint John Paul II Institute and the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Houston

RSVP to estradc@stthom.edu

Exhibit open for viewing:

Thursday and Friday, May 19, 20. 3:00pm-7:30 pm

Saturday and Sunday, May 21, 22. Noon-4:00 pm

Thursday and Friday, May 26, 27. 3:00pm-7:30 pm

Saturday, May 28. Noon-4:00 pm

The University of St Thomas is delighted to host the work of eminent Polish artist, Romuald Oramus. It is an honor to present his work to an American audience here in Houston, a city very favorable to the fine arts. Mr. Oramus’s work shows a remarkable range of style, technique and theme. His life and work in Poland spans a time of political unrest, including martial law, and the rewinning of freedom for Poland. From his third floor studio overlooking Kraków’s historic “Rynek Główny” or Main Market Square, Oramus has for many decades beheld the banality and grit of everyday life of his beloved city, as well its beautiful grandeur; he witnessed the tragic events of Poland’s post-war era and the triumphs of a Polish Pope and solidarity. Drawing upon the rich heritage and legacy of Polish culture and art, Oramus is innovative in his creation of a visual art “between geometrical abstraction and lyrical figuration.” His work brings to us not only the beauty of shape and color and the humor of his observation of human behavior and ritual, but also a wide panorama of thematic leads, suggestions and riddles. I have found that the critics often use the word “kaleidoscopic” to describe his work. The term promises to fit the viewer’s first encounter with his work. The multiplicity of colors and shapes and planes and figure throughout a given work and series of works leaves one wondering how the shifting pieces and scraps might come into a larger focus. That discovery awaits the viewers. The artist himself has said of his work “I believe one needs to contemplate paintings in one’s own way, fitting every individual’s ken, selecting the phenomena that we find familiar and exciting or important.” One does find a measure in the images and juxtapositions – there is a pervading sense of empathy for what is human, the personal and common efforts to make sense of the world despite failures and oblivion. In his later cycle on Cathedral, the kaleidoscopic effect converges on moments of contemplations afforded by the structures and colors of the monuments of faith, but now depicted not in a monumental fashion as of old, but rather in the movement of color and vectors of geometry towards the mystical.
I have had the good fortune to receive the gracious hospitality of Romuald and his wife Beata at the studio in Kraków on more than one occasion. Their love of Poland, their faith and art, their humble gentleness and kindness, and their willingness to engage a newcomer to Kraków and Polish art such as myself and my artist son impressed us very deeply. We now look forward to offering in gratitude the warm and open reception of our University and the newly founded Saint John Paul II Institute. The work of Romuald Oramus has been shown more than once in the Archdiocesean Museum of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in Krakow. For indeed his art illustrates the very idea set out in John Paul II’s Letter to Artists (1999):

Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality's surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one's own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things.

John P. Hittinger
Director, Saint John Paul II Institute
The University of St. Thomas

Why John Paul II Studies and Polish Studies?

Saint John Paul II developed a profound vision of the dignity of the human person, and he traveled around the globe to promote the respect for human rights especially freedom of conscience and religion.

His signature phrases, such as “Be not afraid,” and “Cross the threshold of hope,” changed the hearts and minds of believers and non‐believers alike.

The achievement and legacy of John Paul II inevitably bring us to Polish culture and history. St. John Paul II’s integral vision of the human person was formed and tested in the crucible of the centuries of oppression and triumphs in the 20th century.

“I am the son of a Nation which its neighbors have condemned to death several times, but which has survived and remained itself,” John Paul II said at an address to UNESCO; “it has kept its identity in spite of partitions and foreign occupations by relying on its culture. This culture turned out in the circumstances to be more powerful than all other forces."

John Paul II understood the importance of culture and its primacy over politics and economics. Thus, the story of Poland and the story of Saint John Paul II are deeply intertwined. To pursue one is to discover the other!

Saint John Paul II

John Paul II’s message concerning the dignity of the person is needed more than ever. You’ll gain a comprehensive education in his unique insights.


Aside from the capstone course including travel to Poland, the program is offered entirely online, letting you study from anywhere, anytime.

Study Abroad

Learn about our study abroad and Pilgrimage in Poland.

About the Institute Director

Dr. John Hittinger, Director of the Saint John Paul II Institute at the University of St. Thomas, shares a wealth of education and experience in John Paul II studies

QuoteModule_250X300_Daniel Cardinal Dinardo

Daniel Cardinal Dinardo

Archbishop Of Galveston – Houston

This program provides a wonderful opportunity to study the legacy of St. John Paul II, his defense of the dignity of the human person and the centrality of religious freedom.


Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput

Order of Friars Minor Capuchin - Archbishop of Philadelphia

I'm happy to endorse this Institute for the study of Saint John Paul II, at a time when his message concerning the dignity of the person, rooted in the redemption of Christ, is more needed than ever. Throughout his work we find a depth of faith and the vigor of reason in a perfect combination for a full and authentic education. The Saint John Paul II Institute at the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas, promises a great opportunity for such an education.


George Weigel

Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies Ethics and Public Policy Center

The thought of Pope St. John Paul II is a great gift to the Church throughout the world. So is the St. John Paul II Institute at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. The Institute's work will help ensure that John Paul II's penetrating insights into the human condition reach the broad audience they deserve.

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