Monday, May 3, 2010

Using the Arts to Enrich Franciscan Life

Pediastrum boryanumImage via Wikipedia
Did you ever stop to think that God has given us the beauty of art—all kinds of art—to enrich our lives and to help us spread God’s message? Our sisters are living proof of that reality. Whether it be painting, drama, sculpture—you name it—our sisters are good at both using it, enjoying it, and sharing it with others!

Each year when St. Catherine Parish in Ringwood, New Jersey, holds its Photo, Art, and Poetry Exhibit, Sister Matthew is on hand to help organize the event. The program identifies her as the “Odds and Ends Coordinator, School Liaison, etc, etc.” A well chose description! Sister Matthew is one who sees work to be done—and does it—whether it be receiving entries, making sure they’re identified correctly, encouraging students, etc., etc. An artist herself, she also contributed three of her own paintings this year: “San Damiano Cloister, Assisi,” “From Mt. St. Francis Window,” and “Sunset over the Lake.”

Theology and Drama? One of our sisters has shown that the combination works very well. Utilizing a grant from the congregation’s Mission Fund to subsidize a theater program in her classes, Sister Mary and her students at Little Flower High School in Philadelphia use acting techniques and skills to teach moral decision-making. Students consider contemporary moral issues and, using acting, improvisation, skits, and imagination, determine ways to integrate moral concepts into their own lives. One of Sister Mary’s former students utilized these techniques to create a monologue that was chosen by Temple University and several other theater programs.

When St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington, celebrated its first anniversary, hospital leaders decided that they wanted to do something to honor the legacy of the Sisters of St. Francis who had been in the forefront of healthcare in the Tacoma area. At the anniversary celebration, the president of the Franciscan Foundation, presented the sisters with a replica of the statue of St. Anthony which stands in the hospital’s lobby. Like the original, the replica is made of solid bronze and is designed by a local artist. The 18 inch statue now graces the foyer of St. Ann Convent, the congregation’s retirement residence in Tacoma. Standing near a fountain donated by Franciscan Health Systems, the statue of one of several symbols that remind the sisters at St. Ann’s of those with whom they ministered over the years and whom they continue to remember in prayer.


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1 comment:

Greg said...

We are working on using arts to make Francis more well known.

See tamingthewolf. com

This weekend we will add videos of a wolf.

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