Hearth: An Art Show

Last fall, St. Gertrude’s artists engaged in an Art Challenge on the theme of “Hearth.” The works have been on display in the annual hallway art show. These days of self isolation and stay-at-home orders make these works even more poignant. In addition, the artists of the current Embracing the Artistic Call cohort, have shared works in response to their experiences with COVID-19. An additional call to our past artists-in-residence resulted in the collection of works below that explore these times.

We are Embers in the Mind of God
Martha McIver

by Rachel Berning

Sweep clean the ashes of the past
That they may scatter and nourish the earth
Of the soul

Start slowly from sleep
With your heart space
Bare and ready

Speak your Words of Hope
Hear the whisper of the divine
And strike the match of faith

Let there by light for Seeing
Heat for Healing
And Courage to feed the blaze

St. Michael, Protector of Hearth and Home
by Mary Schmidt

Hearth ~ Earth ~ Art ~Threat ~ Heart…
by Nancy Collins-Warner

When I lived upon the earth
my feet scarcely touched the ground
even though I walked out every day ~
dirt paths, rocky roads, strident concrete ~
each sent waves up through my feet,
hips, gut, heart, out my arms
but my head was always in the clouds
up there with raptors, jet trails,
an occasional rainbow, often fog
so that I want to come back again
to take yet one more walk
that I might smell the pitch of pine,
taste the wild plum, hear the deer
whiff and thump away as I pass
and see the water osmosing
up through the trunks of trees.

My Father in the House Where He Was Born
by Janis Pierson Lance
Prairie View from the Hearth
by Carrie Barton

Hearth of the Earth
by Pearl Maxner

I used to feel sorry for the trees
that lost their leaves in the winter,
their bare arms whipped
by cold winds, ice forming at their feet
battered, soaked, freezing.

Then I learned how the coming cold
pushes the energy of growth down
to work on expanding the root system so tree
might expand the next season.

The deeper they go, the warmer they be.
Pushing, reaching down, down
toward the earth’s hearth land, their wormy
toes warm and snuggly nearer that molten core.

We kin of the earth also warm themselves there,
seek warmth and comfort there,
are truly most at home
on the excellence of the terra firma.

I see the trees dancing in the winter winds differently,
wild and lively, singing
without fear, feet to the fire
secure in their microbial nest
may we all dance so freely with the coming winds.

by Theresa Henson

“Some kind of imbalance is behind every transformation.”
~ Marcelo Gleiser, physicist and astronomer

Love flames forth —
all the channels wide,

Note the kindness
in all that seems
to have gone wrong:

deliberate pathways
into something imagined
while you prayed.

~ Theresa Henson

A Waking
by Cheryl Johnson

A Waking
by Cheryl Johnson

I sit up in bed before daylight
and stare into the dark.
In the distance a faint glow
moves toward me.

I enter a stone cave–
painted on the wall
a pair of antelope
bound away.

No one stokes the fire
that warms me.

I bow.
Who’s there?
Give me your word.

Surrender echoes here.
My heart pounds
like my son’s a surgeon
Will soon open to the light of day.

Take mine, I pray.
Take all of it, of me.
May he stay on this ground.
Silence shrouds me.

The fire is a white heat.
I am melting now.
Even here, there’s nothing but light.

Soul Collage and Mandalas
by Jennifer Boehmke-Hudson
Mother Nature
by Rachel Emenaker
Unexpected Raven
by Belinda Rhodes

I open my heart~
to the mysteries that surround me
Feel the pull~
of what I may not understand
Let go~ 
of the need to know
Just to experience~
the Joy and Awe of creation
~ Belinda Rhodes

Circling to the Center
by Mary Hambly

by Lynn Ungar

What if you thought of it
as the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Safe to Take a Dump
by KC Morris
by Pam Dolan

“I was just contemplating God’s goodness this morning! We have three inches of wet spring snow on the ground! Some people cringe at spring snowstorms after the long winter, but I rejoice because there is promise in those flakes — promise of flowers and green grass to come. The word “Gratitude” has been hovering in my mind all morning as I look out at the snow and I smile. In the midst of our circumstances across the globe, I feel such gratitude for His presence with us now, and His Creation hasn’t missed a beat. The snow will bring early daffodils and tulips. His summer wildflowers will emerge from the earth with joy and color to remind us of His creativity, His love, His humor, His joy! So I add this painting of Indian paintbrush to your collection.” ~ Pam Dolan

“The Birds are Not Cancelled” Prayer Flag
by Heather Berndt

Make your own “The Birds are Not Cancelled” Prayer Flag with a printable download — just $5. “The Birds are Not Cancelled” was featured in Inland 360.

The Monastery of St. Gertrude Chapel Font, March 27, 2020
Photo by JoAnne Zimmer

Checking on His Troops
by Elizabeth Heaney

“Tom” (not his real name) texted me a couple of days ago as the virus rolled through, “You ok?” I texted back: “Doing fine, making necessary adjustments. Glad to hear from you.”

“Just checking on my troops,” he replied.

The exchange reminded me of the time Tom and I talked about the furniture arrangement in my counseling office: two chairs face each other, a door behind one chair and a window behind the other – not an easy choice for a combat veteran. He sat facing the door. I asked him why he let himself sit with his back to the window, and he said, “Because you’d tell me if anything was happening behind me, right?” Right.

“I trust you,” he said gruffly.

Another time, he talked about his concern that the world might erupt in violence or anarchy. “You’d let me protect you, right?” I told him I would.
And his eyes filled with tears.

See, Tom was a combat medic who saw more terrible things in just a few days than most of us would encounter in twenty lifetimes. When I first started working with him, he stuttered uncontrollably any time he tried to talk about that one night in Fallujah. From the first time we met, I could see he was sincere, and desperate – and a remarkably fine human being.

A couple of years down the road, he didn’t stutter anymore. He laughed easily. He and his wife even moved away to another state where they’d been hoping to retire for a long time. We stay in touch from time to time, but the other day his text touched my heart.

“Just checking on my troops.” That right there.
That’s the kind of guy he is.

Some bonds stay strong. So much respect.


Art exhibits showing the works of sisters and the St. Gertrude’s arts community are displayed in the dining room hallway. The exhibit is changed annually at Advent .

Raspberry Festival take place on the first Sunday of August and features an art show showcasing the talents of our local community.

Our prioress, Sister Mary Forman, blesses the artwork and artists.

Sister Mary blesses the art show.

Blessing of the Art Show
by Sister Mary Forman, Prioress

Great Artist of the Universe, who has created our earth with such exquisite beauty and caused creatures to dwell on it, You have placed splendid gifts of artistry and creativity in your human creatures, to express Your wonder and awe and to give You praise.

Bless each artist and his and her creativity, which grace our hallway. May each one know Your special love and blessing, as manifested in their photographs, paintings, icons, quilts, and poetry. Just as You guided their hearts and minds to express some aspect of You in their creations, bless them and their families and friends with Joy and Goodness on this Gaudete –Joyful Advent Sunday. Bless also all, who will walk this way and be touched by Your Spirit speaking in and through these artistic expressions. We trust all this in the Name of the One, who is Wonder-Counselor and Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.