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Miserere Mei: Author Talkback with Joel Klepac

I caught up with Joel Klepac, author of Miserere Mei: A Journey of Self-Discovery Through the Art of Georges Rouault (Story Sanctum, 2023).

It wasn't all fun and games. We had some serious conversations on art, grief, healing, and the inclusive nature of compassion.

Watch the video to learn about Joel's new book, including how to pronounce Miserere Mei!

Miserere Mei is available now on Amazon, B&N, and Eighth Day books.

Book description:

Miserere Mei is translated simply as “have mercy on me,” and has the same root as myrrh, or healing oil. Artist Georges Rouault channeled this healing energy in his powerful series Miserere et Guerre, a collection of prints created amidst World War I in France. This stunning series of images still beckons the viewer on a healing journey.

As an artist, therapist, and spiritual seeker, author Joel Klepac explores themes of suffering, grief, love, and hope in the first 33 plates of the Miserere series (images included). He does not shy away from Rouault’s Catholic spirituality inherent in the pieces, but rather appreciates the resonances with his own Eastern Orthodox Christian background, and connects them with universal human experiences of psychological and spiritual exploration and growth.

Prepare to go on a journey into the subtle nuances of Rouault's images as well as the author's experiences in Romania, Russia, and India harmonizing with Rouault's themes. As an Internal Family Systems trained therapist, Klepac leverages his clinical training to guide the reader into their own connections with the images making available both written and audio versions of the guided meditations based on those themes. As you move through the Miserere series, you are invited into the compassionate gaze of Georges Rouault, to be illuminated and healed by his vision of humanity and inspired in your own way to embody compassion.

"This publication shows how poignantly relevant Rouault's art is to the lives and sufferings of real people then as well as today." -Dr. Soo Kang, Professor of Art History, Chicago State University and author of Rouault in Perspective and coauthor with Holly Flora of This Anguished World of Shadows: George Rouault's Miserere

“This book is a spiritual journey that goes deeply into Rouault's art--exposing the depths of despair, loneliness and hope. And Rouault's visionary art gives Joel Klepac eyes to pay attention to his own life as a therapist, missionary and spiritual director. The result is a moving meditation on the darkness and light that keeps company with all of us who seek to follow Christ.” —William Dyrness, Senior Professor of Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. Author of Rouault: A Vision of Suffering and Salvation and, most recently of Facts on the Ground: A Wisdom Theology of Culture (2022).

“A unique and influential book! This is a powerful journey of self-discovery from multiple perspectives, beautifully interwoven. Joel is masterful in bringing together in his writing his artistic vision, missionary heart and his Internal Family Systems (IFS) wisdom.--- Ioana Popa MD, BCC, MTS, certified Internal Family Systems Practitioner, Team For The Soul®, Coaching, Consulting & Spiritual Care

“Part art encounter, part memoir, part theological reflection, and part contemplative meditation, Miserere Mei shows the formative power of art to reveal, comfort, and disrupt. In doing so, Klepac brings new life and vibrancy to George Rouault’s artistic contribution in the modern world.” -Wesley Vander Lugt, Director of the Leighton Ford Initiative in Theology, the Arts, and Gospel Witness at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and author of Beauty Is Oxygen: Finding a Faith that Breathes

“Klepac’s astute and precise reading of Rouault’s dark images lead us into the actual darkness of the world. After vivid descriptions of his own experiences with street boys, the homeless and prisoners, in Romania, Russia and the Czech Republic, Klepac guides readers into a study of their own inner abandonment and forsakenness. A deep meditation on many levels.” Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO, entered the Trappists in 1958 at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where Thomas Merton was his novice master


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