View Franciscan Icon Writing Podcasts

by Sister Julie Ann on August 3, 2010

Icon writing, not painting (although writing does mean using a brush, not a pen or pencil), was a summer spiritual experience for Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Novices, Temporary Professed Sisters and others. Learn from Community iconographer, Sister Mariella Erdmann, OSF, some basic information about this art form called a  ‘window to heaven’, a way to pray.

Sister Mariella's Icon of Mary and Jesus Franciscan Iconographer, Sister Mariella Erdmann, OSF, directed Novices and Temporary Professed Sisters and others to write an icon in a summer spiritual experience at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, Manitowoc, WI.

This is the first of a series of podcasts in which Sister Mariella and her students contemplate each step in the process of  creating images which are not realistic portraits, but symbolic likenesses of God and the saints attempting to articulate spiritual realities that are inexpressible in words.

Click here to watch video.

25 thoughts on “View Franciscan Icon Writing Podcasts”

  1. Sister Monica, novice says:

    Thanks for posting these videos. They turned out really nice!

  2. Leslie says:

    Wow! Those icons are beautiful. Thank you Sister Monica for your prayer for those people with out faith. St. Monica is a model of hope.

  3. I think St. Monica was real. Her prayers did not guarantee instant conversion in others, but her own relationship with God strengthened her own belief that God was the one that could change everything/everyone for good. Leslie, thanks for your comment. And know you are joined by a lot of others as we together pray for all those who do not have the gift of faith in our families and among our friends.

  4. And thanks for your willingness to share your thoughts on the St. Monica Icon with Mark and Bob on camera.

  5. Sannjoachim says:

    These icons were painted by Sisters not formally in art classes. Their work is unusually beautiful. Congratulations to each of the Sisters as well as to the instructor, Sister Mariella.

  6. srsharon says:

    Sr. Mariella, these videos are helpful in appreciating icons & the artist's ability to create and express their creativity in a different medium. Sr. Chiara you chose St. Camillus who had great COMPASSION for the sick & poor; Sr. Monica, what FAITH & PERSEVERANCE St. Monica rendered; and Sr. Pamela Catherine, HOLY SILENCE and a much needed virtue in today's WORLD. Thank YOU! Happy Feast of St. John Vianney today as we remember all the priests who have served our Religious Congregation, over these many years. St. John Vianney a model of overcoming many obstacles and persevering like St. Monica. He was also known as a dedicated and holy Confessor.

  7. Sisterannjoachim says:

    These icons were beautifully painted using unusual media. They were painted by Sister not in regular art classes. Congratulations to each one.

  8. Srosangela says:

    I stopped in the Art room one day to look at the Icons. Knowing it was the first time the Sisters had made one, I was amazed at how perfect and beautiful they were. They were not quite finished at that time. Now that I see them completed and listen to the explanations I appreciate them even more. Congratulations to all of you and to Sister Mariella.

  9. Sadrianna says:

    What a blessing for the spirit and the soul for you to share your prayer and faith in such a unique way. May you be blessed for what you have shared.

  10. Sister Mariella says:

    Sister Sharon, thank you for taking the time to comment on the icons. I was most pleased with the attitude of prayer and the thought that each Sister and lay person put into her icon. There was only one lay person in the class who was an art student but it isn't ones's ability to draw and paint that makes an icon speak to another but rathr the Spirit of God within each person that shows forth as she write her icon. I may have taught the class and tried to set a spiritual atmosphere and some history of iconography but in the end it seemed that I was the one getting more form the entire experience as I watched each person doing something she did not think she could do. Prayer and openness to God within is what enables the writing of an icon. We used the very traditional way of writing the icons using dry picments and egg yolk for the binder. We also used animal glue for the size. I was so pleased to see how proud each person wqas with what she did. May this experience help us all to deepen our spiritual life.
    Thank you, Sister, for sharing and have a blessed school year.

  11. Sister Mariella says:

    Thank you Sister rosangela for taking time to comment on the icons. You were fortunate to see the students in process and it was amazing what was accomplished in a short ime. I was only the instgrument to set the atmosphere and show the ancient technique. It was each member of the class that desposed themselves to the spirit within to accomplish whqat they did. I am so very proud of each person.

  12. Sister Mariella says:

    Leslie, thank you for your comment. Maybe someday you will have an experience to write and icon and come to realize the transforming of oneself into an insturment in God's hand. Icons are windowws to the Eternal and the more we understand them the more we are drawn to the mystery of the Transfiguration.
    God bless you.

  13. Ssharon says:

    Sr. Mariella, THANKS for your comments on your class and how you go about teaching the art of creating & how the SPIRIT works within each creator of the icon and how you as a teacher gain also from the student. You, too have a blessed year teaching at Silver Lake College! Sr. Sharon

  14. Sister Chiara says:

    Sister Mariella,
    thank you very much for giving us the oppertunity to learn more about Icons. Thank you also for giving us the oppertunity to write and Icon of our own. It was a wonderful experience! God bless you!

  15. Icons are such wonderful mediums to discover more about the heart of God! I am in awe at the beauty and depth each of your icons reveal!

  16. Spatricial says:

    This whole series on the various icons is most interesting and informative! There is so much meaning in each one. Thank you for sharing about them!

  17. Kristinegamble says:

    Very glorifying representation of icon painting Sister Mariella! I wonder if I could do this sometime…A beautiful prayerful journey

  18. Sisabelle says:

    These podcasts are all very inspirational. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to take this class and write my icon. I really love how it turned out!

  19. Sr. Mariella says:

    Sister Isabelle, you should be proud of your icon. It is very striking and once you realized that you could write it by trusting in God and His spirit so alive within you, your icon came alive. God bless you.

  20. Sr. Mariella says:

    Kristine, you could write an icon and it would be a truly religious experience. It is the God within each of us that enables us to write and icon. How good our God is!!!! God bless you.

  21. Sister Mariella, you truly assisted the Sisters in 'transforming [their] whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation'. The icons mirror mystery. St. Clare would be pleased, as would Mother Gabriel whose death anniversary we celebrated yesterday. Yes, you should consider, contemplate leading this prayer experience again!

  22. Snatalie says:

    A person prays in different ways. The Iconography class helps to open eyes and hearts to the prayer that comes through learning about Icons and by writing an Icon. I am grateful that this class was offered to broaden one's spiritual experience and the possibility to learn another prayer form, praying with an icon. Thank you to Sister Mariella and to the participants in the class.

  23. Spamelacatherine, novice says:

    Iconography was not one's typical 2 credit college course of lectures, reading, taking notes, and studying for the anticipated final exam. This class carried, and even two months later, continues to carry such deep meaning. It is a class focused on prayer and in the writing of the icons, becomes a prayer all in itself. It didn't just end after the two week course, but continues to grow as one prays with their icon. Thank you Sr. Mariella for offering us this experience!!

  24. Sannjoachim says:

    An excellent explanation of what iconography is and how we better understand how it affects our lives.

  25. scatherine says:

    Inspirational! I have finally stopped to look at the display in the SLC art gallery and realize that I must spend more time with each of those beautiful icons. I've already sent this link to a young artist friend I know will appreciate this.

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