Last week on the Solemnity of All Saints, we asked the question: “Who should be the patron saint of this community?” We got some great responses, but let’s make it official. I’ve listed out 5 Saints who were nominated in the online discussion, along with some commentary on each pulled from each nomination.
I ask that you would first read this paragraph on who we are, read each description, and take a second in silence to invite the Spirit’s wisdom into your decision. You can vote at the bottom of the page.
Who are we?
We are still developing our identity, but here’s what we know beyond a shadow of a doubt:
Catholic Creatives is a community of thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs, and makers. We believe the story of salvation is the greatest story ever told and desire to tell it through beauty. We often call for reform and innovation in the Church (in order to see her become more herself), but we aspire to do so with light hearts. Most of us our lay people, many of us don’t specifically work within the Catholic world, and we talk about money A LOT.
If you want to learn more about some of our core values, below:
St. John Paul II, himself an actor, cared deeply for the visual arts as well as evidenced in his letter to artists. His endeavors such as World Youth Day were innovative and many of us are here today, dare I say, because of them. He was the herald of the New Evangelization, which despite being a buzzword, we care very much about.
St Maximilian Kolbe
Kolbe was a missionary from the West to the East, embracing the newest communication technologies for evangelization. For his tireless and innovative use of print publications (and radio at some point), he is a patron saint of broadcasters and journalists. At the same time, he was highly gifted in the STEM disciplines, which reminds us that creativity isn't limited to graphic design; engineering and science also produce works of art and precision that glorify God.
Much more could be said, but I'll close with this. Maximilian Kolbe's answer to the ugliest century of human history was the most beautiful story of his holy life and martyrdom. So for us, the most effective work of art is ourselves, and that takes first priority.
Also, did you know that Kolbe once designed a spaceship and he created a radio station? Check it:
St. Veronica is the patron saint of photographers for good reason. She literally made an image out of Jesus' blood. You can't get more edgy than that, which we're about. What's beautiful about her is that She touched God, through that encounter made an image that could communicate her relationship with him to the rest of the world. As the CC patroness, she would speak to the artist's heart, saying: "Creation pours from the dark, difficult, painful, mystical encounter with the divine." This is a message that any creative can understand and feel the truth of, regardless of their political leanings or their faith background. Where as taking JP II or Maximilian Kolbe as our patron would label us "conservative," Veronica would be far more accessible to the outsider & the outcast, which is very much a part of our identity as a group.
1. Her art comes from her encounter with the suffering Christ.
Perhaps because of the depiction in the Passion of the Christ, I imagine Veronica wiping Jesus' face at a moment when He has fallen to the ground. Stooping low to meet Him (whether literally or figuratively), her humility, compassion, and perhaps even her compelling curiosity, draw her into intimacy with Him. Through this encounter, the Lord gives her the phenomenal work of art that still influences the world after thousands of years.
That's exactly what I want to emulate as an artist. Before beginning any work, I want to "stoop low" to reach my Lord, to enter into His suffering, to meet His gaze. Sometimes I will find Him through solitude, at other times through attending to the needs of my children, my husband, my friends, or even strangers. Only from this encounter with Christ will I have something truly inspiring to offer the world. When gifts that flow from an encounter with Christ are in turn given freely, the impact will last for generations to come.
2. Her name embodies her both her gift and her mission.
Until today, I thought the name "Veronica" meant "true image; honest image." She's my younger sister's namesake, so we've talked about the meaning as a family. Digging just a bit deeper into the history of her name, it appears that the original significance is, "bearer of victory." Is there any better title for an artist?
The fact that Veronica discovers beauty in the person of Christ, within the darkest of moments, is victory. The image she bears to the world, is a symbol of her personal triumph of love in that moment. Of course, the image also foreshadows the power of the resurrection through the path of suffering: the ultimate victory that we as artists are called to proclaim.
3. Her legacy is tied with the icon of our Lord.
While JPII is a champion of artists, his campaign for beauty comes through with an abundance of words. (I read the full text of TOB this year. It hurt my mind... in the best way.) To the intellectual, this soothes the soul. For everyone else, help is necessary to digest the richness of his reflections. On the other hand, we have no recorded words from the figure of Veronica. What we have is an image.
How can one think of Veronica without also thinking of the Face of Jesus? Regardless of education, age, or background, the artistic portrayal of Christ that Veronica offers, evokes the depths of emotion: it moves us, attracts us, haunts us, and invites us into contemplation.
Undoubtedly, she embodies the mission that JPII expressed in the Letter to Artists when he said, "May your art help to affirm that true beauty which, as a glimmer of the Spirit of God, will transfigure matter, opening the human soul to the sense of the eternal."
He is well known in Art History as an incredible, professional painter of the late 14th century. His work contributed highly to the development of Renaissance theories and practices while simultaneously standing on its own. He is often attributed with "bridging the medieval and the modern"
2) Art as a Reflection of Truth:
he lived out his belief that art reflects the soul by joining the Dominican Friars. His personal piety was reflected in his iconically peaceful images.
He was an avid and studied businessman who understood the value of his work. Even as a friar, he did not work for free (except by measured gift). Still he maintained his devotion and passion for his artistic ministry amidst a transition from medieval religious art to Renaissance secular conflict.
St Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady’s beauty, written in the language of the Aztecs, converted millions because it was approachable, in a language the people could understand, and gorgeous. Juan Diego! He was the missionary of the beautiful tilma that converted the Aztec Culture.
He was a crafstman who held Christ in one arm and his tools in the other.