Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Artist Sister Mariella Erdmann (Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, Manitowoc, WI) comments on her painting The Canticle of the Creatures.
The painting, The Canticle of the Creatures, visually incorporates the ideas from St. Francis’ written Canticle of the Creatures. The cross is central in the painting. Francis totally immersed himself into the life of Jesus Christ crucified. He was passionately in love with Christ. Francis was a man who lived close to the earth, and in the natural world he found the glory of God revealed. He saw all creation radiating from God. It was because of this that he could call all creatures good.
In today’s world, our relationship to the elements of nature is often dimmed and not a part of our awareness. What a pity to lose sight of this sensual reality that Francis was able to turn into mystical experience.
I have portrayed the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. These elements are a part of Francis’ vision of God, creation, and the human soul. In Francis own words, “I wish to compose a new hymn about the Lord’s creatures, of which we make daily use, without which we cannot live, and with which the human race greatly offends its Creator”, he gives the basis for his hymn. Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Water, Sister Air, Brother Fire and Mother Earth all become his companions in praising God. With Francis we can pray, “Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility.”