The word portiuncula (Latin for little portion and pronounced port-see-UNcle-uh) comes from a nickname of a simple church that St. Francis rebuilt with his early followers. St. Francis loved and cherished this little church because it symbolized both the simplicity of lifestyle he wanted to model for his followers, as well as the healing power of shared work and community. This little church became the birthplace of the Franciscan movement. (http://portiunculaguild.com/1/category/all/1.html)
|Presence, 2013, acrylic and copper on panel.|
Surrounded with images watered by the deep springs of a common story, and by people laughing and talking and enjoying whatever was offered, the gathering was what the church is meant to be – a foretaste of heaven. From time to time, I was tempted to put on my art-professional hat and critique the works according to the standards of the international art world, but, I am glad to report, I resisted that temptation. Instead, I reveled in the fact that so many people were gathered to celebrate and support one another in their quest to be faithful to their calling as artists and as persons of faith. With a place to gather and to share what we make, we learn from one another, honing our craft and our vision not in the spirit of competition, but rather in the midst of caring community. I like to think that Saint Francis would have been proud.