Jerome and Leslie Karam recently landed a haul of 14 French Christian art masterpieces for Mary Queen Catholic Church in Friendswood, Texas.
The couple, known for running the real estate development company JMK5 Holdings, found the collection “Station of the Cross” to be a perfect fit for the church they call home.
All 14 pieces have a unique story regarding making their way to Friendswood. It all started in 1830 when The Daughters of Charity traveled from Paris, France, to New Orleans, Louisiana, to set up schools and hospitals to help the less fortunate. Within a few decades, they built a boarding school for girls called St. Elizabeth School.
Several diseases and disasters wiped out the boarding school, leaving children without parents. That meant the boarding school morphed into an orphanage for girls. Expansion led to a chapel with 14 paintings.
After hanging on as an orphanage for over a century, St. Elizabeth’s shutdown 1989. A few years later, it was sold to author Anne Rice.
Her goal was to restore the orphanage and turning it into a home to call her own. However, once her husband passed away, she felt it was necessary to sell the property and most of the religious pieces inside.
The Karams have connections to the state of Louisiana, and they just so happened to know the person who purchased the property from Rice.
With the property turning into condos and townhomes, there was no need for these massive paintings. Both Karam's remain involved with Mary Queen Catholic Church in Friendswood, and they agreed that the paintings could be donated to Friendswood for all to enjoy.
Adding the paintings to the church acts as a small revitalization project. For Jerome and Leslie Karam, they are constantly looking for ways to repurpose property and inject life into the areas once again.
As another way to help the church, the Karams are redeveloping the old church that sat vacant for a decade into the Leslie Chagra Educational Center. Aimed to help children connected to the catholic church in grades 6-12, they also plan to add a playground, basketball court, and volleyball court on the land behind the church.
To keep up with all the projects Jerome Karam and his team have, visit the JMHK 5 Holdings website.
About Jerome and Leslie Karam
Jerome and Leslie Karam are the couple behind JMK5 Holdings. They have five children who also play an active role in day-to-day operations with the real estate development company.
They put most of their efforts towards various Southwestern Louisiana and Texas projects.