An Online 'Art Retreat'

A recent visit from my friend the artist Bob Gilroy, S.J., has prompted me to write about a project that is well worth your time.  Bob is a Jesuit priest, a talented visual artist and longtime spiritual director, based at the Campion Renewal Center in Weston, Mass., whose work is probably familiar to readers of America.  (And, by the way, he did not ask me to write about this: I volunteered!)  In the past few years his vividly colored paintings often graced our covers.  Besides his work in art therapy (which is, besides his training in the fine arts, another other area of expertise) Bob encourages retreatants to consider using the visual arts as part of their prayer--both creating it and contemplating it.  You might check out his wonderful website "Prayer Windows," and see if it might help you in your own meditations.  Bob places his paintings and drawings and collages within the framework of the Four Weeks of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  To the right is my favorite of all of his images, courtesy of Trinity Studios (which carries his art) and which once hung in a Jesuit community in Cambridge, Mass., which we both lived, but which now hangs in the headquarters of a women's religious order in Rome.  It's called "Annunciation."  Isn't it great?

James Martin, S.J.

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Marie Rehbein
7 years 5 months ago
I see a certain amount of weight on the woman experiencing the annunciation that I would not expect when hearing from God.  The image in my mind is that hearing from God is such a breathtaking experience that the concerns that would be a natural reaction to learning one is pregnant would be minimized.  I'm not quite sure what I see in the blue area to the right of the figure.  Also, is that a rock split open to her left and right?  What would the purplish blue mass in the foreground mean, if anything?
Marie Rehbein
7 years 5 months ago
Fr. Jim, In light of your observation, I am now wondering whether the title of the picture "annunciation" vs. "the annunciation", might not indicate that we are to see ourselves in the picture as you do.  Perhaps, the blue elements are allusions to The Annunciation and the figure is not specifically Mary, but represents any of us. 

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