MILO, ARTIST WHO COLLAB ORATED WITH DOM GREGORY DE WIT, PASSES AWAY
Fr. Aelred Kavanagh, O.S.B., contributed to this article.
Artist Frarncois Emilio Piuz, commonly known as Milo, passed away in Geneva, Switzerland, last August. He was 93.
Milo was invited by Dom Gregory de Wit, O.S.B., to collaborate in the painting of the Abbey Church in 1950. de Wit's murals in the church and Monks' Refectory were completed over the course of a decade, and both were designated in 2007 in the National Register of Historic Places properties.
Milo painted a number of the saints in the nave of the church, and he made the ceramic Stations of the Cross. He also designed the bronze altar appointments for the Angelle altar; the crucifix of that set now hangs in the oratory of the Seminary College. He also designed vestments, notably the white and blue Annunciation set and a green solemn set, as well as a chalice for Fr. Raphael Barousse, O.S.B.
"Milo was such a shy person, in contrast to the unrestrained and mercurial Dom Gregory, that, from the perspective of the Abbey, it is difficult to think of him on his own terms and not just in terms of Dom Gregory. What is known about him comes in great part from his association with Dom Gregory; otherwise, there is a scarcity of information about him," said Fr. Aelred Kavanagh, O.S.B.
While they worked together on many of the fifty-odd paintings, de Wit assigned some to Milo. Local oral and written sources give only a partial picture of the extent of Milo's solo work; according to information from Milo himself, given to Dr. Boyd Helm of Baton Rouge, Milo painted most of the female saints in the north aisle of the church and some of the male saints in the south aisle. Local tradition has it that Milo painted the clothing on the apostles high above the nave, while de Wit himself painted most of the faces.
After painting in the Abbey Church, Milo remained for a time in the U. S. Major bodies of his work are located at the monastery of the Discalced Cannelites of Lafayette and at Saint Aloysius Parish in Baton Rouge.
Milo returned to his native Switzerland in 1970. May he rest in peace.