Links for Learning
Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students
This months Links for Learners will support high school curriculum in:
Christian lifestylespraying through
art; sacramentals and symbols; saints and other models
of Christian behavior
Art historyartistic expression through
the ages; various art mediums; church architecture
Links for Discussion Group Leaders and Participants
Look for connections for use in programs outside the classroom, such as:
Parish sacramental preparation programs and CCD classes; young adult discussion programs; seasonal discussion groups; RCIA programs.
Parents will also find this material useful in initiating discussion around the dinner table, in home study, at family activities.
Basic Terms in This Months Article
for the key words and terms below as you read the article.
Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article
itself or from the resource materials cited throughout the
Links for Learners. You can also find a list of terms on
the glossary page of AmericanCatholicYouth.org.
Healing power of creativity
Prayerful nature of art
as Christian Ministry
month's online article quotes Brother Michael O'Neill McGrath
as saying, "… art is a way to recognize that we have a human
need to see and touch mystery." For Brother
Michael, art is another way to pray, a means of discerning
God's presence in our lives. Art is a way to God. This month
we offer you some suggestions for sharing your own prayer,
your own stories, through artistic expression. The following
resources may help:
This tribute to Sister Thea Bowman, a Franciscan Sister
of Perpetual Adoration, features Bowman-inspired art and
includes illustrations by Brother Michael. Sister Thea was
the first black woman to receive a doctorate in theology
from Boston College. Brother Michael draws extensively from
Sister Thea's life and writings when preaching and conducting
Dedicated to both contemplation and social justice, Hill
Connections highlights Sister Thea's life spreading the
gospel though song, dance and story. More McGrath art can
be found at this site. In "Spirituality Through Art" Hill
Connections offers multiple graphics and writings/prayers
for online inspiration.
Art and Architecture
Why do some church crosses display the resurrected Jesus?
Have you wondered why newer churches situate the baptismal
font near the church entrance? Through sign and symbol,
Christ makes his presence felt among us. The Bishops' Committee
on Liturgy issued a document in 1978 called "Environment
and Art in Catholic Worship." Recently, in November of 2000,
the bishops updated the document in "Built
of Living Stones." The bishops remind us that liturgical
art and architecture find their foundation in the theology
of the eucharistic assembly and its liturgical actions.
As a youngster, Brother Michael drew inspiration from stained-glass
windows and other church art. The Stained Glass Association
of America offers an extensive history of stained glass
as an art. The association also publishes a quarterly journal
and offers scholarship opportunities for potential artists.
Are you curious about how stained-glass art is made? Have
you watched a sculptor fashion figures from clay and fire
them in a kiln? See Home and Garden Television's series
"Modern Masters," featured on cable television and described
on their Web site. The artists featured include contemporary
sculptors, metal workers and glassmakers.
Art of Music
"What kind of beautiful music am I going to make today?"
asks David Grossman, a 23-year-old bass player for the New
York Philharmonic Orchestra. In a 10-part series on music
careers, CNN interviews the youngest member of the New York
Philharmonic. Is music your expression of prayer, your path
to God, to mystery, to joy?
Expression for the Disabled
For many disabled persons, art is the outlet for creative
expression, perhaps the only voice they may have to share
themselves with the community around them. Nuvisions for
Disabled Artists, for example, offers services and resources
for disabled artists in the southeastern Pennsylvania and
southern New Jersey area.
Bolton Arts, maintains a Web site for disabled artists
where they can share their writing, graphic arts, painting,
music and fashion with others.
Brother Michael doesn't hesitate to use whimsy in his art.
He depicts St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers,
sitting in front of a computer. Can you create a parallel
with your own favorite saint? Do you admire St. Peter, the
brash and courageous first pope? Could
you, for example, sketch him riding in the "popemobile,"
as Pope John Paul II does in his visits to foreign countries?
How about St. Francis of Assisi, the lover of animals, as
a veterinarian, much as James Herriott in All Creatures
Great and Small? Try your hand at artistic whimsy.
Perspectives on Christian Art
You've studied world history and American history. You've
seen timelines interconnecting events through history. Art
has its own history as well. Art History 101, a feature
of About.com, offers
a comprehensive overview of art throughout the ages of humankind.
Do you appreciate religious art? The magnificent art housed
in the Vatican Museum collections is reproduced on this
Does the significance of art elude you? A renowned television
art critic, Sister Wendy has published a number of books
and videotapes that explain the paintings and art of the
ages. The great works of art, Sister Wendy believes, tell
incredible stories of what it means to be human. Is there
a work of art that holds special meaning for you, a piece
that touches your deeper side? Would you be willing to share
your feelings with your class or discussion group?
What was your favorite storybook as a child? Much of Brother
Michael's art includes book illustrations. From illustrating
copies of the Bible (the famous Book
of Kells, for one) to children's storybooks, artists
have long added their artistic view to the written word.
Denise Ortakales researched and documented the history of
illustrating children's books and the role of women in illustration.
The About.com site also
features her own portfolio of illustrations.
to see with other eyes - the eyes of the soul." So says
Brother Michael of his art. After exploring your own artistic
expression, can you now see more clearly, more deeply?
accessing some of these Internet sources for further reference.
Be aware, however, that some of these sites may charge for
downloading articles contained within the sites archives.
Up Foundation – Washington, D.C.-based organization
One’s online resource
National Conference of