Since its opening, The Canticle has attracted gifts
that have permitted the commissioning of new art to grace its rooms. The
blessing of these gifts is on-going and often unexpected. Artists help us
define who we are and where we are going. The artists who shaped the new pieces
of visual art for The Canticle have done this for us.
Simplicity. Balance. Gratitude. Hospitality. Oneness
with God and all creation. Right relationships. These are some of the enduring
truths of who we are. These are the truths embodied in the art commissioned for
We invite you to enjoy the beauty of The Canticle
Holy Water Font by Jerzy Kenar
The red mahogany holy
water font carved by Polish sculptor Jerzy Kenar stands in the gathering area
outside The Canticle chapel. Commissioned in 1987, it embodies "The
Canticle of Creation," the "peaceable kingdom," the ideal of
right relationships within the Circle of Gift.
Fabric/mixed media on denim, painted/fused/sewn by
Larraine Anne Lauter OSU, artist.
Singing Moon Studio, Owensboro, Kentucky
Olivet in Gethsemani, Kentucky, was the first home of the Sisters of St. Francis,
now of Clinton, Iowa. The convent-school
was built by the Trappist monks of Gethsemani in repayment to their neighbors
for helping them build their abbey and church. Learn more about this story
The artist's statement: "I have pictured Mount
Olivet in an idealized state, as it might have appeared in the dreams of one of
those who left it behind; as a lush, sacred garden, a peaceable kingdom, a
locus for the reign of God. Its inhabitants have created a circle of protection
and care for those they serve and for one another, within the circle of the
hills and fields of their land. It is an insubstantial vision, for the Spirit
blows in the spring winds and leaves the insecure and unsettled in spite of
their dream. They will be called away, through trial and storm, to a new land
and a new life. The window depicts the Kentucky knobs region in April, a month
when the knobs are painted with redbud and dogwood. April is the tornado month
- often high and gusty winds will signal an approaching change of threatening
weather. The landscape is an actual
portrayal of the view from the hill on which Mount Olivet was built. The viewer
looks on the scene from the unique perspective of the dreamer - as if able to
fly with the birds. Gethsemani lies just
out of sight and over the hills to the viewer's left."
of God by William Hannan
A cruciform reminiscent of the crucifixes of
Cimabue, a contemporary of Giotta whose works adorn the Basilica of St.
Francis in Assisi, now hangs in The Canticle Gathering Area outside the
Chapel. The artist is William Hannan
of Moline, Illinois.
was asked to produce a contemporary work reflecting Franciscan spirituality. He
chose the symbol of fire and the cruciform shape and muted colors to achieve
"The muted colors are in homage to Tuscany, the
area of Italy in which Assisi lies," said Hannan, who has studied the
artists of the period and locale for many years and incorporated that research
in other projects including a series of stained glass windows for a church in
"Nothing could be more symbolic of Francis,
bearer of the stigmata, than the cross," the artist continued.
"Therefore, the total work is the cross."
The central panel, the vertical of the cross,
represents the "burning bush."
"The first time God was present to human beings
and talked directly to them was in the form of fire," said Hannan,
recalling the Old testament story.
The left panel represents the appearance of God,
again as fire, at Pentecost.
The right panel, the blazing loaf, recalls the story
of Francis and Clare's final meeting. It was reported by observers that when
the Saints talked in the woods below Assisi, the fervor of their discussion
about the love of God caused the whole neighborhood to appear to be aflame.
"The entirety of the work takes on that one
sign of the presence of God as fire," said Hannan. "Fire is prominent
in the Old and New Testaments as a sign of the cleansing and healing power of
God," he said. "Today we perpetuate that symbol in our sanctuary
lamps and paschal candles."
The three paintings are of polymer acrylic on
birch-faced plywood, "a smooth and receptive" surface, Hannan
"Fires of God" was commissioned in memory
of Lawrence and Helen Schneider
"The Tree of Life" stained glass windows and doors by Linda Willaredt
The stained glass windows and doors of The
Canticle chapel were designed and constructed by Linda Willaredt in
partnership with woodworker Bob O'Hare, who also collaborated in the painting
and installation of the window. Ms. Willaredt's remarks follow.
Rose Window by Linda
The imagery in The Canticle's rose window is taken
from St. Francis' "Canticle of Creation." The sun, moon and stars,
the arch of sky: water, rain, wind and cloud; fire, smoke, energy and
transformation; flowers, fruit, trees, the nest of life and nurtured growth:
these are the elements that are harvested from the creation canticle and
represented visually in the window. These comprise the traditional four
elements of creation: the earth, the air, the fire, the water.
The rose window is situated in the wall high above
the altar in The Canticle chapel.
In the way that our earth environment is a
symbiotic, interactive, interdependent system, so too are these images. On one
level, many of the elements in the window represent traditional religious
iconography. For example, the rainbow symbolizes resurrection and eternal life,
and water is a symbol for baptism. On another level, all of the images
represented in the window represent one concept, our environmental system, our
world, God's gift to all of us. In other words, while the window is composed of
multiple symbols, it also represents one inclusive idea or image.
The concept of the world represented as a system
seemed to me to be relevant to your Franciscan community for several reasons.
First of all, as a system, it is reflective of your own interactive, interdependent
community here at The Canticle. Also, it seemed to me to reflect the dynamic
relationship between the sisters and the world. Your commitment to peace and
social justice, reducing human suffering and promoting respect for all life
involves the community very actively in the world. You have not isolated
yourselves from the world. You are very much a part of it, and the effect your
community has had on the world has made the system a better place as a whole.
Whatever affects one part of our system affects all parts of it. Your community
seems to reflect this understanding, and the window reflects this also.