Call To Holiness welcomes guest blogger Ann Chapin. Ann is a talented artist who has painted many icon tapestries for my home parish at Church of the Incarnation.
On my drive back to Virginia from Boston’s Catholic New Media Conference, I seemed to be guided by the Holy Spirit on a pilgrimage that I was not expecting. Starting my day on Monday with 7am Mass, and I decided to visit the St. Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston. This is a wonderful ministry church that serves many people in acts of mercy and support to those most in need. Fr. Ronald Stark was the celebrant of the morning Mass, and I was able to talk with him after Mass about our new ministry at Catholic Web Services called Greater Good Technology, in helping bring technology to the homeless offering on-line training to help get employment. I told Fr. Stark we would love to help bring this program to Boston and other communities, and we are hoping for prayers and donations to help us make this happen. Father Stark gave his blessings to the ministry and wished me well on my journey home.
Old Sturbridge Village
In leaving Boston, my Honda CRV needed some gas, and it brought me to Sturbridge, MA. My knee was tight, and I needed a walkabout, so decided to visit Old Sturbridge Village. This was a great blessing that helped my knee as well as gladdening my soul to walk through this beautiful living history village in full Fall colors. Old Sturbridge village brings history to life, and reminds us of how hard life was in the early days of this country and how much we have to be thankful for in America. Old Sturbridge Village depicts life in New England from 1790-1840 on over 200 acres filled with historic buildings and costumed historians.
St. Anne Shrine
My next stop was the gas station, but I guess the Holy Spirit had something else in mind, as I spotted an inviting sign to the Shrine of St. Anne. I had not heard of this shrine, but decided to stop and find out more.
St. Anne Shrine is a sacred place, dedicated to St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pilgrims and visitors come to the Shrine seeking physical and spiritual healing, and in this peace-filled atmosphere they find hope, strength and comfort for themselves and their loved ones. The St. Anne Shrine just celebrated its 125th Anniversary last year.
The natural beauty of the grounds, the Way of the Cross, the Lourdes Grotto, the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) and many other prayerful places provide an ideal setting for contemplation and meditation. There is also a well-stocked gift store that also has a Russian icon exhibit that is the property of the Augustinians of the Assumption who help run the shrine. I was very spiritually moved by this wonderful shrine, and encourage you to stop by for spiritual renewal. It is amazing the read the letters from people whose prayers were answered, and to see all the crutches and rosaries hanging near the relic of St. Anne, a testament to the miracles at this holy site.
Shrine for St. Anne for mothers
My next stop was for lunch and gas in Waturbury, Connecticut. I spotted a beautiful church and drove up to it. To my surprise it was named Shrine of St. Anne for mothers. It is a place of pilgrimage and worship where we promote the sanctity of life by honoring and praying for our mothers, grandmothers and godmothers. The Shrine of St. Anne is evolving from the French Canadian ethnic parish of greater Waterbury into a Shrine, and has been undertaking a major fundraising and restoration effort. This is a beautiful shrine and parish, and must see it if you are driving through Connecticut.
Great lunch tip from my Yelp App: Frankie’s Hot Dogs –worth the visit in Waterbury.
As sunset was pending, I stopped in Pennsylvania for a break and a lady suggested that I go see the town of Bethlehem on the way home, noting its beauty. It was a lovely drive through the Delaware River Valley and crossing the Appalachian Trail, where I also passed through the town of Nazareth (a town associated with Jesus, Mary, and Anne). Upon arrival in the town of Bethlehem I could see a large lighted star on a mountaintop overlooking the village, and then looking to my right I saw a neon sign on top of a building “Hotel Bethlehem.” Wow, I hope when Jesus has his second coming that he is welcomed at the inn? What a great spirit-filled trip home, and thankful for the great experiences and people I met in Boston and on my journeys.
St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center (Boston)
Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA)
St. Anne Shrine (Sturbridge, MA)
Shrine of St. Anne for mothers (Waterbury, CT)
Catholic New Media Conference (Boston)
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
ONE MILLION BONES
I was witness to an amazing piece of artwork and political statement addressing genocide on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall this past weekend. Seeing the huge pile of shoes at the U.S. Holocaust Museum a few blocks away, was one of the most moving things I have seen about genocide until this weekend. Seeing one million bones laid out helps put into perspective the horrors and loss of genocide. Naomi Natale is the artist who started this project, and she can be seen in this TED-Global video about her inspiration and creativity in making this project come to reality:
One Million Bones, a project of the Art of Revolution, was developed over three years and started with 50,000 bones being made and laid out in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The project grew and went to other cities like New Orleans and growing to a national campaign to culminate the work of many people. These hand-made bones were made by people from all 50 states and from over 30 countries by people affected by genocide. It also raises awareness of the ongoing genocide and mass atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Burma, and Somalia. Congratulations to Naomi and the Art of Revolution for reaching their goal and shining light on this important issue.
THE LABRYINTH : The Testimony of Marian Kolodziej
Seeing these bones on the National Mall also brought to mind a DVD that I watched recently and highly recommend called The Labyrinth (2011). It is a powerful documentary about a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. His artwork drawings are a haunting and detailed remembrance of the horrors of the camp. Marian also honors Maximilian Maria Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar he knew briefly in the camp and is represented in his artwork.
History of Saint Maximillian Kolbe (martyr): On July 31, 1941, in reprisal for one prisoner’s escape, ten men were chosen to die. Father Kolbe offered himself in place of a young husband and father. And he was the last to die, enduring two weeks of starvation, thirst, and neglect. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1982. (Catholic Online)
Below is a video clip of the documentary:
Marian Kolodziej was on one of the first transports to enter Auschwitz. He was given number 432. He survived and never spoke of his experience for 50 years. After a serious stroke in 1993, he began rehabilitation by doing pen and ink drawings depicting the experiences he and others endured in the concentration camp. These drawings, in their skeletal detail, are a gripping depiction of the pain, death, and horrors of the camp. While most of the drawings represent the memories of a young man’s hellish experiences in Auschwitz, some tell stories of small acts of kindness and dignity.
Marian’s story of survival, of persistence, of life before, during, and after Auschwitz are a testament to the human spirit. Marian’s drawings and art installations, which he called The Labyrinth, fill the large basement of a church near Auschwitz and draw visitors into the horrific reality of the holocaust.
“This is not an exhibition, nor art. These are not pictures. These are words locked in drawings…I propose a journey by way of this labyrinth marked by the experience of the fabric of death…It is a rendering of honor to all those who have vanished in ashes.”
Saint Maximillian Kolbe (SQPN) (patron saint of drug addicts, prisoners, and journalists)
The Dominicans celebrated their 50th Anniversary with Bishop DiLorenzo coming for a special Mass and Blessing for a new Priory on March 24th. The Dominicans came to Charlottesville on the Feast of St. Lawrence August 10, 1963 and established St. Thomas Aquinas Church, which serves Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and The University of Virginia. This priory is the first built in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and offers a religious community for eight priests. The priory was built to last using the skills of local artisans including cabinet makers, stain glass artists, masons, and carpenters.
Daniel White is a young stained glass artist and parishioner with Cain Architectural Glass who co-designed the stained glass windows with pastor, Fr. Luke Clark ,O.P. that adorn the Priory Chapel. The beautiful stained glass was made locally, and incorporated many symbols of the Dominicans.
The priory also offers the St. Vincent Ferrer Columbarium, a first for Catholics in Central Virginia. The word “columbarium” comes from the Latin and translates as a compartmentalized house for doves; the gentle birds mentioned in Holy Scripture and recognized as a symbol of peace. There are over 50 memorial spaces which are available to Catholics for $4,500
The Dominicans, the Order of Preachers, is an order with a strong charism of preaching, and education. The Dominican website explains the essence of the order: Dominicans preach the Word of God in every possible way including liturgical preaching, parish missions, retreat preaching, occasional lectures, addresses at religious conferences, street preaching, teaching, writing (especially books), through art (especially film, television, theatre, and radio), and by exploiting the advantages offered by the Internet and other advances of the digital age, without ever sacrificing the indispensable role of personal presence by which communication becomes true communion. Dominican Blessed Humbert of Romans sums up all of this in his famous 13th century Treatise on Preaching: “How necessary is the office of preaching without which the human heart would not rise to the hope of heaven.” Fr. Jospeph Scordo, O.P., has served as a Dominican in the Military Chaplaincy: The Dominicans also offer a great free App called iDoms Portal. The App offers incredible resources including Dominican articles, videos, and audio from many of their great preachers and theologians.
The Dominicans are still in the process of fundraising, and if you can help I encourage you to look at their websites at the links below. LINKS St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish St. Tomas Aquinas Priory Dominicans of the Province of Saint Joseph iDoms Portal App Article about St. Joseph, protector of preachers statue in Dominicana Saint Joesph and his dog statue in priory courtyard.