Saints Inspire Artistic Expression and Reassurance

by Sister Julie Ann on October 5, 2009

Still in a festive mood from the Francisan Feast of St. Francis, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are very aware of the companionship and consolation of so many saints in our daily lives. In addition to our blessed company of heavenly Franciscans, many others inspire thoughtfulness.

saint-faustina-5-october-2009-by-stephen-b-whatley.jpg Stephen Whatley from London writes:

I managed spontaneously to create a drawing to pay tribute to Saint Faustina; who passed into Heaven on this day in 1938. Not all Masses commemorate her life or Divine Mercy, which is sad- as my knowledge of this wonderful lady and her communion with Jesus through her great Diary, is a gift in my life. I couldn’t leave the day unmarked without trying to make an artistic statement…

I thought then that I wanted to share this charcoal drawing with you all (it was partly inspired by a 1929 photo of Sister Faustina)- it is dark here so I had to use a flash to photograph this piece…I hope you will feel her through my drawing. I may take a better photograph- but at least you will see it on this day. (photo: Stephen Whatley, Saint Faustina, October 5, 2009)

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What writings, photos, personal information about the canonized saints or souls intimately admired personally inspire you?

12 thoughts on “Saints Inspire Artistic Expression and Reassurance”

  1. Deceased people with whom I am in contact are my mom, my dad and my sister. I talk with them and I sense that they help me think through a problem, help me with insights and encourage me when I’m feeling down. I always asked my sister to help me with my students when I was in the classroom. She died when she was 16 so I knew she understood teens! My dad often finds me a good parking space when I am shopping since I have deformed feet and he always wanted to know if they hurt. My mom helps me when I see clients. She listened to a lot of people. They intuitively trusted her and she gave good, practical advice.
    Just as Sister Faustina was an inspiration to many, we might have people right in our families who are in heaven and willing to help us on our journey.

  2. Sister Rosangela Weiland says:

    I found out recently that we will soon have another saint! On October 11,2009 Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Blessed Damien de Veuster (the leper priest). He cared for the leprosy victims on the island of Molokai from 1873-1889 when he died of the disease. I thought of him as an old man, probably because of the leprosy, but he was only 49 when he died.

  3. Clara says:

    Thank you, Stephen for sharing your drawing of St. Faustina. Her diary has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to me. Through her, I came to a deeper understanding of the wonderful Mercy of God and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, daily. How Good is our God!

  4. Neil Nitta says:

    The Diocese of Honolulu as well as the entire State of Hawaii rejoices in the canonization of Saint Damien de Veuster, who was a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
    I am a teacher at Damien Memorial School, the namesake of our recently canonized saint, in Honolulu, Hawaii. I am the Religion Dept. Chair and have been at Damien Memorial School for the past 16 years. When I first taught at Damien, the only time that I got to know the life of this Servant of God, was when I taught a Freshmen orientation course (summer school). That was in 1993 and then 2 years later, Father Damien was then declared Blessed. Never would I have known that his canonization would have taken place several years later.
    It wasn’t until the earlier part of February 2009 did we all hear about the approval of the 2nd miracle and that the canonization would take place in October 2009. The 2nd miracle is credited to a Mrs. Audrey Toguchi, a local Honolulu resident. She was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer and her doctor gave her several months to live. The doctor suggested that Mrs. Toguchi have chemotherapy, but Mrs. Toguchi insisted that her faith and her prayers to Saint Damien was all she needed. Mrs. Toguchi said a novena and made several trips to Kalaupapa (Molokai) to pray at the grave of Saint Damien. Eventually, it was her persistence in her faith that her cancer disappeared. Her doctor was amazed over the time to see her cancer disappear and that it was evident when looking at her x-rays.
    Then, Mrs. Toguchi’s doctor suggested that she report this incident to the Diocese of Honolulu and that’s when the investigation started with the Postulator from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Rome). And with that, then the rest is history.
    I would like to ask that the Sisters of Christian Charity, that all of your communities please pray in thanksgiving for this blessed and saintly man who gave his life to the Hawaiian people, especially to those who were shunned and ostracized from their families and left without any dignity or hope. Saint Damien took on the challenge of speaking up for the people who contracted Hansen’s Disease but also gave them hope and an opportunity to show them that there was someone out there who loved them until the end, ultimately dying from the same disease that he was sent to take care of.

  5. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    One of the Sisters of our Community who personally inspired me was Sister Dolora Deem. I have kept a copy of “excerpts” from instructions she gave us Junior Sisters. Here are just a couple of her reflections:

    “What is Love? I challenge you to this: to be concerned about the welfare of others. Let’s compete to see who can be the most throughtful. Don’t consider whether there is any selfishness. There is, but keep moving. This is the goal of any woman, whether she be religious, Christian, or non-Christian.”

    “What is a Religious? A religious is one who wants and binds herself to Christ, to become absorbed in the things of God through VOW. Religious are to become professional Christians… Through povedrty, God provides; through chastity, God is our heart’s attachment; through obedience, God is our efforts’s goal.”

  6. Sister Marcolette Madden says:

    One of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity who deeply inspired me during my early years of formation was Sister Dolora Deem. Here are a couple excerpts from the “Instructions” she gave the Junior Sisters:

    “A religious is one who wants and binds herself to Christ, to become absorbed in the things of God through vow. Religious are to become professioanl Christians… through ;poverty, God provides; through chastity, God is our heart’s attachment; through obedience, God is our effort’s goal.”

    “The capacity to love is part of our nature as women. Love is always united or completed in life. The whole purpose of love is the good and service of someone outside ourselves… To be fruitful is the call of any woman, whether she be religious, Christian, or non-Christian.”

  7. Read Origins today and was drawn to these comments on St. Damien by Cardinal Danneels:

    -Damien said that Christians “do a lot of charitable things, but we hardly ever mention that we do it in God’s name.”

    -Damien also said ‘yes’ to unexpected questions “because circumstances are no mere coincidence: They are God’s own requests to us.”

  8. Neil Nitta says:

    This coming Sunday, November 1, 2009, there will be a ceremony with the relic of Saint Damien at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu. There will be 13 bishops, including Bishop Larry Silva, the bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu and Cardinal Danneels, the Cardinal of Belgium. The relic, which is the right heel of Saint Damien will be permanently displayed at the Cathedral.
    There will be at Mass at 12 Noon and thereafter a procession. The relic will leave the Cathedral and be brought to Iolani Palace. Iolani Palace is very well known in Hawaiian history, as the residence of Hawaiian royalty. Queen Liuliuokani, was the last reigning monarch who lived and eventually died in the palace after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. When the relic enters Iolani Palace, there will be an interfaith ceremony with various religious and Hawaiian civic organizations. After the ceremony at Iolani Palace, the relic will then be taken across to the State Capitol, where another ceremony will take place in front of the Saint Damien statue. And then, the relic will then be brought back to the Cathedral, where it will be permanently displayed.
    Within the past couple of weeks, all of these events from Belgium, Rome, and here in Honolulu have had tremendous impact on the people of Hawaii. The relic has also gone to every island to be venerated and revered. The final destination of display for the relic will take place this Saturday, October 31 when it goes to Molokai. The relic will be carried by 4 Senior students from Damien Memorial School. I am very happy for these 4 gentlemen, who are being given the special honor and privilege of participating in this event. I do hope that when I get a chance to see the relic this coming Sunday (as a member of the Knights of Columbus), that this will have a very special spiritual meaning and presence for myself personally. I will let you know what happened to me after the series of events take place on Sunday.

  9. Neil, we would be thrilled to receive your on-site reporting regarding the St. Damien celebrations. Thank you for being a faithful blogger on Franciscanized World. May St. Damien continue to be a source of intercession for all!

  10. Sister Sharon Paul says:

    Sr. Marcolette, I certainly enjoyed your comments on our Sr. Dolora Deem. I never knew her but many people spoke of her as “being ahead of her time” and spiritual,down to earth, open & personable. Thank you for sharing some of her quotes. I remember as a child seeing her large picture on one of the Mine Magazine (was it?)and that picture forever stayed with me. Yes, it is very meaningful reading the lives of the saints but it is also interesting meeting people day by day in one’s travels and encounters who have the makings of a saint. Let us continue to help each other on this earthly journey.

  11. Neil Nitta says:

    Today was a celebration like no other at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu. The Mass for the relic of Saint Damien was truly remarkable in every way possible. The Mass began with a Hawaiian chant followed by the procession of the Deacons, Priests, Bishops (many of the visiting Bishops were from the Archdioceses of Los Angeles and San Francisco), Cardinal Danneels of Belgium, and Bishop Larry Silva. The Cathedral was filled to capacity and so, there were several tents outside of the Cathedral where people could watch the ceremonies that were taking place inside.
    After Mass, another ceremony would take place on the grounds of Iolani Palace, which was more of a civic ceremony. From the Cathedral, the relic was placed on a small version of a Hawaiian canoe and the relic was carried to the ground of Iolani Palace. Because this was a civic ceremony, the were talks given by Princess Abagail Kawananakoa (a descendent of King Kamehameha I), Bishop Larry Silva, Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, House Speaker Calvin Say, State Senator Clayton Hee, and ministers from various Christian denominations. This ceremony lasted for 2 hours. Afterwards, the relic was brought into Iolani Palace and a small ceremony took place in the Throne Room.
    Then the relic came out of Iolani Palace and was brought to the statue of Queen Liuliuokanlani.The reason for this is because Saint Damien and the Queen had a remarkable friendship during the time that Fr. Damien was on Molokai and the Queen, when she was then a Princess visited Molokai and was deeply touched by the work of the Belgian priest, thus forming this friendship. When Liuliuokalani became Queen, she bestowed upon Saint Damien the Order of King Kalaukala for his humanitarian work and constant and unselfish love for the Hawaiian people.
    Afterwards, the relic was finally brought to the State Capital and the final ceremony took place in front of the Saint Damien statue. From that point, the relic was then brought back to the Cathedral where it was place in the reliquary and for this coming week, the vicariates throughout the Island of Oahu will have their opportunities to reverence and pray before our very own Hawaiian Saint.
    There can be no words to describe what went on today but only that this is one event that I will never forget. This will be truly one of those lifetime events that will never lose its spirituality. I am truly fortunate and blessed to have been a part of this remarkable event.

  12. Neil, you made us all feel like we were proudly there with you, St. Damien and all the people of Hawaii. What a beautiful commentary of the Catholic Church alive in the world. Thank you so much for sharing your on-site reflections here on Franciscanized World. We look forward to hearing from you again soon.

    Here’s another version of the story…
    http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20091102/NEWS01/911020353/Saint+Damien+relic+returns+to+Hawaii+home

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