Turning Plain Stuff into Gold
November 14, 2017
By Sister Anne Sekul
Iconography is an ancient art that is dedicated to prayer in image and color. Icons convey the presence of Christ and the saints to those who pray by gazing at them in silence. Icons are part of my cultural and prayer heritage, as my father introduced them to me when I was a child. Art is a part of who I am. It is very natural for me to express the charism of Mercy through prayer and art.
I find Mercy in many experiences I have had writing and showing icons. A homeless man would often pass by the window of my studio when I was painting the icon of St. Michael the Archangel. Every day he would knock on my window and show his approval or disapproval of the work. Always, he would linger, gazing in silence before he went his way.
An artist once visited my studio, and after I told her about iconography, she said, “Oh, I see. You are not an artist but rather an alchemist. You turn plain stuff into gold.” Icons are always about beauty and transformation. I have seen poor people, lonely people, all kinds of people seek peace and mercy in front of the icons I write. Some of them have found those things, and so have I. The icon itself, rather than the person writing it, is the mediator of God’s mercy and love, and I am privileged to do this work.