Legends of St. Francis

Slumped acrylic sculpture painted by Jo Myers-Walker with legends of St. Francis

The finished Canticle sculpture displayed on an easel
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Schmidt — click image to view larger)

Before my knee surgery in October I needed to be grounded to have a successful outcome. I had been working on the Mercer project and was worn out and having knee pain. I started reading some of the legends surrounding St. Francis of Assisi, who knew how to talk to birds and animals. Those stories are very calming for me as he would praise all things created by God. It got my mind off my knee as I started symbolizing the characters using my interpretations. I painted these on a 36″ x 63″ slumped acrylic panel for the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, using the legends beginning with a joyful Francis and Clare dancing.

  • In the legend of the tail flapping fish (in the center) that Francis let go after catching, the fish was allowed its freedom, allowed life, a chance to heal joyfully.
  • The friendly falcon (on the left) would wake Francis in the mornings by flapping his strong wings. One morning he knew Francis did not sleep well so he took his time. I think our cats and dogs know when we need a little attention as they can tell when we are in danger or sad.
  • The cock and the chicken (on the left), the chicken is life giving whereas the cock is boastful, needs to be the center of attention, lacks humility, with good intentions however.
  • The wheat symbolizes the bread of life, it has to fall to the ground so more wheat can grow, we have to “die to self” to be created anew over and over.

Details from Canticle sculpture by Jo Myers-Walker with legends of St. Francis

Details from the Canticle sculpture:  the Friendly Falcon; the Noisy Swallows

  • The noisy swallows (on the right) would not let Francis speak. so he asked them to quiet down and they did. I have to tell my monkey brain to stop talking, keeping me absorbed in my own thoughts, and out of control instead of letting go and letting God.
  • Brother Sun (on the left) warms me, helps grow things and gives me hope for a new day.
  • Sister Moon (on the right) lights my way at night, she is loving and chases away the dark, I think it is a rebirth and I make an action plan for the morning. She understands the universe and I trust her.
  • Sister Death (on the bottom) I drew as acorns that the squirrels plant and then new life emerges as a strong oak tree. I have to “die to self”/set aside my ego so something new can emerge, not just my ideas but God’s.
  • The doves (on the left) show freedom, beauty, peace and it starts by forgiving myself so I can forgive others.

Detail images from Canticle sculpture painted by Jo Myers-Walker with legends of St. Francis

Details from the Canticle sculpture:  Doves; Acorns and leaves

  • Sister Water is useful in all things, cleansing, grounding, refreshing and sustaining me. I am a swimmer and find water very comforting and healing.
  • You can see butterflies as they are resurrected and transformed, sometimes I need to go into my cocoon.
  • The cicadas sing their songs every 7 years, this shows me patience. Let it be and there will be a way revealed.
  • The cricket is sometimes noisy but some say lucky, it teaches me to appreciate people for who they are, noisy and all!

May the year 2018 be one of Hope.

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