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Sacred Art: Ministry major finds inspiration painting Bible covers



Mary Claire Marcear
Mary-Claire Marcear

Photo by Lauren Franco

Water drips from her paintbrush as she strokes it across her unconventional canvas. Using extravagant colors and designs to dress the cover of a Bible, she sings along to “Son of God” by Chris Renzema.
Since the summer of her freshman year, Mary-Claire Marcear has used Bible covers to make tangible people’s personal testimonies and passions through painting.
While living in a house during an internship, hosted by a couple she didn’t know, she decided to buy four bibles from Amazon and paint the outside of Bibles the way she had been painting the insides in previous years. Although each of the original four she painted never sold, it was a segue into the business she has built up for the past three years.
Of the hundreds of Bibles she has adorned, Mary-Claire said one of the most meaningful was one in which she was able to use a vintage bird watcher’s guide that her great-grandmother passed down to her father. The most interesting include a narwhal Bible, a Bible featuring a pug and cactus, and one with a battle bear.
Because of her paintings, the vivacious youth and family ministry major said she has learned an appreciation for the early church, and how in areas like Ireland, people would illustrate the gospels because they saw how sacred and holy they were.
“I feel like I do something similar, looking back to the early church and bringing in art, and bringing something visual into something that used to just be black and white,” said the Amarillo native. “I guess it’s made me appreciate the early church and the way our early church fathers did things.”
Since starting her business, Boholy Bibles has had inquiries from a variety of countries, and shipped as far as Canada. Although not each inquiry ends up in a sale, Mary-Claire said a lot of people share their testimonies and reach out for help or advice. Even the people who are not interested in purchasing a Bible help her ministry grow as she gets to dig deeper with people about what would inspire them to read the Bible.
“ACU provided me a medium to foster my creativity and express myself in my faith through different tools,” Mary-Claire said. “I learned how to worship in a whole new way, and I learned that I could spend time with Jesus painting. It opened up new opportunity to me, and a new way of reaching the church and inspiring my ministry to go in a whole different route than I thought it would originally.”
For more information, visit or @boholy_bibles on Instagram.

Mary-Claire Marcear describes herself as an adventure-loving college student whose life has been radically changed by the love of Jesus.
My freshman year of college, God took my passion for art and my heart for ministry and put the inspiration for Boholy Bibles on my heart, she explains on her website. First and foremost: this is a ministry not a business. My heart is for sharing God’s word and making it accessible to everyone. In life, and college especially, it is so hard to find time to get in the Word. I believe that if you have a Bible that reflects your heart, you are not only more likely to read it, but you’ll be EXCITED about it!

Learn more about the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry.

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