Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bell ringing to welcome the Pope.

There is a movement underway for Catholic churches around the nation to simultaneously ring their church bells when the Holy Father arrives on April 15. Pewsitter has the story.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A good friend of mine came out.

His story really influenced me.
A good friend of mine told me he surfs the net and reads blogs - this 'coming out' on his part surprised me because he never reads my blog. Imagine, he is not interested in reading Catholic stuff. I told him this blog is more nuts than Catholic and sometimes it is really funny. It still never got his attention.
He said he reads quirky blogs late at night, and I asked, "What kind? Political?"
He answered, "All kinds!" And he proceeded to explain how some people are really way out there, "They write things like, 'I feel like blowing up my neighbor's house!' - just because they are angry at the trailer trash living next door to them. They call people they don't like 'wackos' and 'freaks' and 'perverts'". Well you get the idea.
Anyway, I said, "Yeah, my one blog is kinda like that, you should read mine." But no! He's not interested in "Church crap" as he called it. That didn't bother me as much as when he said he read "Cafeteria is Closed" a couple of times. "Well over 2 million visitors to that site, you know." I told him I had heard that before.
But my friend's coming out story really did influence me. Many bloggers do come off kind of nuts. (I know I don't!) But people really write some weird stuff. (Again, I know I don't.) So I want to maybe start a new blog - just with weird stories and stuff. Funny stories - well, things I think are funny - and it just might help people look on the bright side a little more. Like Beverly Sutfin said, "Life doesn't have to be ugly." I could post things I wouldn't have to take down a half hour later because readers here might be scandalized. (I just did that with about 6 posts recently.)
What do you think?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Happy Birthday Pier Giorgio! (April 6th)

I did an icon of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (shown above) which was presented to his niece Wanda by my friend Ellen (shown at the top) a few years ago in Rome. The icon is now in the Frassati family home at Pallone, Italy.

(I have no other photos of the icon. The Beato is shown in the mountains with two peaks in the background, suggesting wings - alluding to his virginity and purity. He holds a mountain climbers pick and a rosary with the crucifix of JPII. The panel is framed in gold. Click the photos to see close ups.)

Miniscule things...

Minuscule Things
There’s a crack in this glass so fine we can’t see it,
and in the blue eye of the candleflame’s needle
there’s a dark fleck, a speck of imperfection
that could contain, like a microchip, an epic
treatise on beauty, except it’s in the eye of the beheld.
And at the base of our glass there’s nothing
so big as a tiny puddle, but an ooze, a viscous
patina like liquefied tarnish. It’s like a text
so short it consists only of the author’s signature,
which has to stand, like the future, for what might
have been: a novel, let’s say, thick with ambiguous life.
Its hero forgets his goal as he nears it, so that it’s
like rain evaporating in the very sight of parched
Saharans on the desert floor. There, by chance, he meets
a thirsty and beautiful woman. What a small world!
-William Matthews

Photo of a friend.
Even though the photo of my friend is dated June '78 - it was taken about 8 or 9 years earlier and only reprinted in 1978. I believe this photo was taken when we were on a "trip" - driving around in the van. My friend liked to "dress up" and entertain us with her characters. She was absolutely hilarious. We call this, "The Turban Photo".

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The year of my conversion... 1972

...Before grunge...

I have no idea where this was - I know I was with my friends someplace while on a trip... it is after my conversion because I am wearing the Paul VI crucifix. My friend Bob is drinking and I geuss I'm just posing.

Old photo...

Here I am in Naples with a friar of a reformed Franciscan community. They lived in Euro-passenger train cars, their life very primitive and austere; they went barefoot throughout Italy. Padre Umile was the founder and had been encouraged by Padre Pio to begin the reform. I have no idea what happened to them. This was when I was living as a pilgrim, around the time I met Don Marco. My "habit" was denim, and I had a rosary on my belt that fell into the pocket on my jeans, and I wore the cross that Paul VI carried on his crosier, the same one later adopted by JPII. (Photo: c. 1975-6)

Pray for me that I may be converted and return to my early love.

Introducing... The painter.

I found these photos of myself taken right after I painted the front rooms just a few years ago. Otherwise, I do not think I have any recent photos of myself. And I am only posting these because people have requested to see some of my paintings as well as photos of me. I can't stand the truth, so these may not remain up for very long.

A couple of other Southwest pieces...

( I already showed the top triptych, but it wouldn't detail in the other post.)

2nd: Ven. Mary of Agreda
3rd: St. Sebastian
4th: St. Joseph
5th: Holy Face

All of these are painted on wood panels, and yes, I made the frames too. (And sadly, I did the photography.)

My favorite Southwest style retablos...

Part of my "Santa Fe" Collection.
When the gallery I showed at in Santa Fe closed, I donated what hadn't sold to various churches and monasteries in New Mexico, rather than pay for the shipping on the return of my work.
Top two: Triptych of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Outside doors - St.s Francis and Clare. Interior doors - St.s Joseph, Felipe of Jesus; St. Juan Diego, Bl. Miquel Pro.
Third photo: Milagros Crucifix.
Last two: St. Paschal Baylon.

A couple of commissions...

Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The top two are my photos of the finished icon I was commissioned to do for the altar shown above. (Church of St. Anthony, Albany, MN) The original icon was cracking and turned out to be a print, and the pastor commissioned me to paint a replacement. (I'm not a photographer, my apologies for the poor quality.)

Our Lady of Hermits.

Fr. L. took this photo in his hermitage. He commissioned me to do an icon of the Blessed Virgin for his hermitage, requesting that Our Lady's hair be in evidence, although not her hands. (I never asked why.) I came up with this image. Our Lady's hair is braided, although that detail doesn't show up in the photo. The hermit lives in northern Minnesota and is also my spiritual director.

(Much of my work has never been photographed.)

Using the scanner...

I scanned these paintings from transparencies, which is why they are so dark, I also do not know how to work in photo shop - sorry.

Top: Spiritual Marriage of St. Rose. (4" x 5")
Middle: St. John Mascias. (5" x 7")
Bottom: St. Martin de Porres. (3" x 8")

All three Dominican saints from Lima, Peru. Painted in simple Spanish Colonial style on copper.

The dinner party went very well!

I'm so verklempft!

After the crowd left, the four of us sat talking until after midnight. It was so good to reconnect! Friends are such a blessing.

[I've had this problem for years and years, but I think I may be coming to terms with it: I never really believed people actually liked me for me. So, now I have to figure out who "me" is.]