What is the old expression? “Good things come to those who wait.” A little more than 18 months ago there was a chance discussion with one of our parishioners, Francesca Bacci, an art history professor at the University of Tampa. She wanted to be more active in the parish and wondered what opportunities there might be. Given her expertise in medieval art, specifically Italian and in the era of St. Francis, I thought there could be some great opportunities for presentations on the art of Giotto and the art that adorns the basilica of St Francis in Assisi. Continue reading
For the previous two weeks, I have been chatting with you about an upcoming art project that would speak to the Franciscan character of the parish. Last week, I said that we had found a sculptor who was deeply rooted in the Franciscan tradition and had proposed a work for outdoor placement – a sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi and the Wolf of Gubbio. After all the promises of “next week,” next week has arrived! Please click here to find out more about our project!
Every year – or so it seems – very good biographies of St. Francis of Assisi are published. The ones published in the last 10 years all share some great qualities: readable and increasingly historical – introducing the “real” St Francis of Assisi to the world.
You might ask why I say the “real” St Francis? Did you know that statues of St Francis are the second most popular lawn/garden ornament sold every year – right behind pink flamingos. Rather like the popular icon shown above. That is an image many people have of St Francis, certainly one reinforced by Franco Zefferelli’s film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, another in a long line of romantic interpretations of the poor man from Assisi. Especially in the 20th century, Francis was portrayed as “a free spirit, a wild religious genius, a kind of medieval hippie, misunderstood and then exploited by the ‘medieval Church.’ Or perhaps they know him as the man who spoke to animals, a nature mystic, an ecologist, a pacifist, a feminist, a ‘voice for our time.’ For others he is the little plaster man in the birdbath, the most charming and nonthreatening of Catholic saints…. almost everyone has his or her own Francis” (Francis of Assisi, Augustine Thompson OP). Continue reading