Seven Pillars House of Wisdom > Galleries > Icons of Compassion and Service

Icons of Compassion and Service

Br. Robert Lentz

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  1. Mother of God: Mother of the Streets

    Each year, larger numbers of homeless people live on the streets of modern cities. These people may be jobless workers, battered women, the untreated mentally ill, or simply those too poor to get by. They tend to be “invisible” to greater society, but they are a real presence of Christ, the Suffering Servant, in history.

    This icon depicts the Mother of God as the mother of those on the streets. Her garments, and those of her Son, are covered with jewels and gold decoration, making manifest the hidden worth and dignity of street people, who are living icons of God.

    In 1984 the Catholic bishops of the U.S. declared, “To turn aside from those on the margins of society, the needy and the powerless, is to turn aside from Jesus. Such people show His face to the world.” Such people are also a presence of Church, for where Christ is, there is His Church.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  2. Albert Einstein: Scientist, Humanist, Mystic (1879-1955)

    In the words of Albert Einstein:

    “It was not my rational consciousness that brought me to an understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe.”

    “The most beautiful experience we can have is mysterious.”

    “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element; I want to know his thoughts; the rest are details.”

    “More and more I come to value charity and love of one’s fellow being above everything else… all our lauded technological progress – our very civilization – is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal.”

    “Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.”

    “If I had it to do all over again, I’d become a plumber.”

    Br. Robert Lentz
  3. The Apache Christ

    No peoples in North American history have suffered as much from stereotyping as have the Apaches.

    A proud, monotheistic people of the desert and mountains, their history is strikingly similar to those of the ancient Jews. They, too, were enslaved, for the purpose of producing wealth for Spain and Mexico. Many Apaches were carried off by the United States army to the swamps of Florida and Alabama as prisoners of war. Their crime was defending their land -- a land they considered holy -- from invaders who respected neither their culture nor their faith. They live today on reservations hidden away in what is left to them of their sacred mountains.

    This icon celebrates the beauty of Apache culture -- specifically the culture of the Mescalero Apaches of New Mexico. Christ is depicted as a Mescalero holy man, greeting the sun of the fourth morning of the woman's puberty rites. These are the most sacred of the Apache ceremonies, celebrating the sanctity of the gift of producing new life. A sun symbol is painted on his left palm, and he holds a deer hoof rattle in his right hand. A basket at his feet holds an eagle feather, a grass brush, and bags of tobacco and cattail pollen -- items used in the rites. He stands atop 12,000-foot Sierra Blanca, the sacred mountain of the Mescaleros. Behind him flies an eagle, the guide who first led the Apaches to their "promised land!" The inscription at the bottom of the icon is Apache for "Giver of Life," one of their names for God. The letters in Christ's halo are the Greek version of that name. The Greek letters in the upper corners of the icon are abbreviations for "Jesus Christ."

    Christians find truth in what they call the Old Testament. They call the ancient Jews who fought slavery and defended their land, religious heroes and prophets. When the Apaches did the same thing during the last four centuries, however, Christians called them bloodthirsty savages and did their best to destroy them as a race. The Apaches have somehow survived four centuries of Christian genocide and continue to tell the stories of their heroes and prophets. Can modern Christians go beyond inherited stereotypes and find the sacred where they do not expect it? Apache prophets have much to say for those with ears to hear.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  4. The Celtic Trinity

    From ancient times, human beings have responded to experiences with the divine using works of art. They have used metaphor and image to describe what they have "seen." Individual expressions of personal experiences of the divine have often challenged rigid religious traditions.

    The spiritual genius of many ethnic groups through the centuries has been responsible for profound images of faith. Drawings on walls of prehistoric caves are powerful witnesses to highly developed spiritual sentiments of peoples who lived before the traditional religions of the East and West.

    The civilizations of the Americas which flourished prior to the arrival of Columbus and missionaries from Europe were routinely destroyed. Images of faith were often condemned before any attempt was made to understand the experience which gave birth to their design. Religious authorities, urged by patriarchal bias, were especially fearful of the role of feminine images in these primitive yet often highly evolved cultures. Male clerics and theologians were careful to exercise control over the images to be used in worship and devotions.

    Native Americans, Africans, Asians, and early Europeans saw their religious traditions and images cast aside in favor of the Christian images current at the time. Treasures of faith were lost as cultures were systematically destroyed by colonists and conquerors.

    A beautiful image from ancient Celtic religious experience was God as a trinity of women. The Maiden gave birth to creation. The Mother nurtured and protected it, and the Crone brought it wisely to its end. A raven accompanied the Crone as a symbol of life and death: though it ate dead things, it flew high into the heavens. The three women are depicted from different races to extend the Celtic image to a more global perspective. The snake was another sacred feminine image. It represented life, fertility, and rejuvenation. Devouring its own tail, it represented immortality.

    Feminine images have suffered greatly in the west. Women will continue to suffer oppression in religious society until their images have been reclaimed and honored. These feminine insights can help to present a new healing perspective on the problems that face our modern world.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  5. Christ Sophia: The Word of God

    Image and narrative by Br. Michael Reyes, a student of Br. Robert Lentz.

    This icon celebrates the profound harmony that can exist between Eastern and Western spiritualities. Asian peoples who encounter the Gospel of Christ bring to it thousands of years of spiritual maturity from their own cultures. This joining of wisdoms, like the confluence of mighty rivers, is the work of Holy Wisdom, who has been at work in creation since the beginning of time.

    The radiant face of Christ, who is the incarnated Word and Wisdom of God, hovers above the bloom of a pink lotus. Both arise from a velvet black background that depicts the silence of God. Chinese characters in gold leaf shine from this darkness to name “Jesus Christ.”

    Because a lotus is rooted in mud and climbs through murky water toward light at its surface to bloom, it has been named an ancient Asian symbol for enlightenment. The Buddha and other ancient Asian saints sit on lotus thrones to symbolize the enlightenment they have achieved in their lives. In this icon the pink blossom of the lotus is a glowing throne for Christ, who is the Wisdom of God.

    The lotus, like Christ, is a coincidence of opposites. It ties darkness to light, earth to sky, and decomposing matter to new life. As such it is also a symbol of Christian life. At the heart of Christian life is the Paschal Mystery, the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. Every Christian is called to enter into this mystery. To enter the mystery fully is to become like Christ, who is the Wisdom of God. The lotus is a symbol of this process of transfiguration.

  6. Compassion Mandala

    Excerpts from "The Brothers Karamazov", by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    "…have no fear of human sin. Love people, even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God’s creation. The whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love."

    A Mandala is a symbolic representation of the Universe or a part of the Universe. A Mandala must also be seen as complete within itself for every part is holographic and expresses the whole. Since ancient times it has been recognized that words alone can not completely describe the vibrational essence of a particular deity. Generally a Mandala is a picture that describes the universe, or a part of the Universe, but it can also be a set of statues, a temple complex or any three dimensional representation. In Shingon traditionally there are two Mandalas, representing the two lineages that combined to form Shingon. In India Mandala means a perfect circle. In the Indian tradition a circular altar was formed that become the place for invoking the spirit of the deity or deities during ritual ceremonies.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  7. Dorothy Day of New York (1897-1980)

    Dorothy Day helped found the Catholic Worker's movement. She spent the last 48 years of her life as a Christian anarchist on the margins of society. In a church organized like a pyramid, her Catholic worker houses were small, informal and decentralized. She traveled alternative paths where other members of the church often found it difficult to go. "The only way to live in any true security," she would point out, "is to live so close to the bottom that when you fall you do not have far to drop, you do not have much to lose."

    She and her companions lived the beatitudes, embracing voluntary poverty which included bedbugs, roaches and rats. She often spoke of foolishness for Christ’s sake, and like St. Paul, called herself such a fool. "To attack poverty by preaching voluntary poverty seems like madness," she said. "But again, it is direct action."

    Bishop O’Hara of Kansas City once told her, "You lead and we will follow." Dorothy did lead. When bishops were wrong, she told them so. As prophet she opposed any use of religion as a prop for nationalism, capitalism or militarism. Even when religious leaders opposed her vision, and their lifestyles scandalized her, Dorothy remained fiercely loyal to the church. Because her deep faith was rooted firmly in the sacramental life and traditions of the church, she was not only a faithful follower of the Gospel but also perhaps this century’s most powerful witness.

    "Don’t call me a saint!" she once said. "I don’t want to be dismissed so easily." Dorothy Day died on November 29, 1980. Now, although Christians of many confessions easily recognize her as a saint and prophet, no one can dismiss the profound impact of her life and contribution.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  8. St. Edith Stein of Auschwitz (1891-1942)

    From childhood, Edith Stein was a brilliant scholar. She earned her doctorate at age 25, studying under Philosopher Edmund Husserl. Although an avowed atheist as a teenager, in adulthood she became impressed by the inner strength of her Catholic friends and was captivated by the writings of St. Teresa of Avila.

    Seeking to follow St. Teresa’s example, she became a Catholic but waited 12 years to enter the convent, heeding the advice of her confessors and out of compassion for her Jewish mother. During those 12 years she taught at the Dominican school in Speyer. She cared for the poor and developed her own life of prayer.

    She also translated several important philosophical works and wrote commentaries on them which led to her giving lectures to large audiences. With Hitler’s rise to power her public influence came to an end because of her Jewish heritage, and her spiritual advisers finally relented and allowed her to enter the Carmel at Cologne.

    As a Carmelite she assumed the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She took her turn at various domestic chores in the convent and continued writing on Catholic subjects. She corresponded with many former students and friends, and other nuns remember her as a warm and cheerful person.

    In 1938 she went to another Carmel in Holland to escape persecution but was rounded up by the Nazis in 1942 with other Jewish members of Dutch religious orders. While in the concentration camps, she and her sister Rosa cared for children abandoned by fear-crazed mothers. Witnesses recall her calm and composed countenance, while giving assistance whenever she could. On August 9, 1942, she was executed in a gas chamber with her sister at Auschwitz.

    Her feast day is August 9.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  9. St. Francis and the Sultan

    In 1219 St. Francis and Brother Illuminato accompanied the armies of western Europe to Damietta, Egypt, during the Fifth Crusade. His desire was to speak peacefully with Muslim people about Christianity, even if it meant dying as a martyr. He tried to stop the Crusaders from attacking the Muslims at the Battle of Damietta, but was unsuccessful. After the defeat of the western armies, he crossed the battle line with Brother Illuminato, was arrested and beaten by Arab soldiers, and eventually taken to the sultan, Malek al-Kamil.

    Al-Kamil was known as a kind, generous, fair ruler. He was nephew to the great Salah al-Din. At Damietta alone he offered peace to the Crusaders five times, and, according to western accounts, treated defeated Crusaders humanely. His goal was to establish a peaceful coexistence with Christians.

    After an initial attempt by Francis and the sultan to convert one another, both quickly realized that the other already knew and loved God. Francis and Illuminato remained with al-Kamil and his Sufi teacher Fakhr ad-din al-Farisi for as many as twenty days, discussing prayer and the mystical life. When Francis left, al-Kamil gave him an ivory trumpet, which is still preserved in the crypt of the Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi.

    This encounter, which occurred between September 1 and 26, is a paradigm for interfaith dialog in our time. Despite differences in religion, people of prayer can find common ground in their experiences of God. Dialog demands that we truly listen to the other; but, before we can listen, we must see the other as a precious human being, loved by God. There is no other path to peace in this bloody 21st century.

    The flames behind Francis and the sultan have a dual symbolism. In Islamic art, holy persons are shown with balls of flame behind their heads. The second purpose of these flames is to disarm a later medieval legend in which Francis challenged the Sufis to step into a raging fire to prove whose faith was correct. In this icon, the flames represent love. The text at the bottom is from the beginning of the Koran: "Praise to God, Lord of the worlds!"

    His feast day is October 4.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  10. St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

    Francis was a universal person whose love extended across boundaries of class, religion and race. His reverence for everything led him to call animals, plants, and all of creation "brother" and "sister." Animals responded to his respect and love with an amazing docility. As Francis walked across medieval Europe, people caught glimpses of what Eden must have been like.

    St. Francis helped reform the Roman Catholic Church in the thirteenth century through his example of personal poverty. He simply lived the Gospel as he took monastic life into the streets. Living among the poor, his example was so compelling that soon he had thousands of followers.

    Francis’ great goal was to follow Jesus as closely as possible. Near the end of his life he spent forty days in solitary prayer on Mt. Alverna. During this time he asked Jesus that he might experience, as much as he could, the love, pain, and grief that Jesus had experienced in his passion. In response to his prayer he was given the stigmata -- wounds in his hands, feet and side. The wounds remained, never healing, for the rest of his life.

    Before Francis died, he asked his brothers to strip him of his ragged brown robe so that in total poverty he might lie naked on the bare ground. He had lived as God’s troubadour, a bright flame by which others could read the Gospel with fresh insight and vision.

    His feast day is October 4.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  11. Harvey Milk of San Francisco (1930-1978)

    Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to high public office in the United States. Milk ran for City Supervisor in San Francisco because he felt ordinary people were being pushed aside there by monied interests. "It takes no money to respect the individual," he said. "The people are more important than words." As supervisor he fought consistently for the rights of all of those without a voice. These people included blue-collar workers, the elderly, racial minorities, and gay men and women.

    Cardinal Juan Fresnos of Chile has said, "Whosoever stands up for human rights stands up for the rights of God." His words are an echo of what Christ has told us He will say at the Last Judgement. "Whatever you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to Me." Despite all the emphasis Christians put on their sexual ethics, Christ’s one question at the end of time will deal with concrete acts of love and compassion.

    The day of his election, Harvey tape-recorded his last testament, in which he acknowledged that he would most probably die violently. The last words of that message were "You gotta give them hope." On November 27, 1978, he was shot five times at close range by another politician who was infuriated by his defense of gay and lesbian people. That night 40,000 people, men and women, old and young, gay and straight, kept candlelight vigil outside City Hall.

    In this icon he holds a candle, keeping vigil himself for the oppressed of the world. He wears a black armband with a pink triangle. This was a Nazi symbol for homosexuals and represents all those who have been tortured or killed because of cultural fears regarding human sexuality. Their number continues to grow with each passing year, and the compassionate Christ continues to say, "Whatever you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to Me."

    Br. Robert Lentz
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is one of the world’s great storytellers. After losing both of his parents by the time he was twelve, a priest of the Birmingham Oratory took him under his wing. From childhood he had been fascinated by languages, mostly for their beautiful sounds. Surrounded by urban squalor, he took refuge in his imagination and began inventing new languages.

    He was married to childhood friend Edith Bratt in 1916 and was shortly after sent to France to fight during World War I, where he contracted trench fever. After convalescing in England, he taught language at Oxford for most of his remaining life. As a scholar he lived at the margins of society, nourishing society by his teaching and research. He died in a rest home at the age of eighty one.

    Tolkien is best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, stories that began as entertainment for his two young sons, but developed into a vast work of mythology. As a devout Catholic intellectual, he felt that such creative use of our imagination was a reflection of God’s own creative activity, and eloquent proof that we are made in God’s image and likeness. Millions have read his books -- which have now been translated into many different languages -- and have rediscovered in themselves the childlike gift of imagination that belongs to all of us as icons of God.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  13. Jalal Ud-din-Rumi of Persia (1207-1273)

    Little more than a century after the death of Mohammed, Muslim armies had created a vast empire. The piety, poverty, and temperance of the first califs were replaced by luxury, power, and despotism. The empire was losing its connection with Islam. While the upper classes knew cultural splendor and extravagance, most of the populace lived in poverty and had few rights. At the height of this decadence, the Sufi movement voiced its protest.

    Sufis risked imprisonment and even death in their opposition to materialism and tyranny. Orthodox Muslims considered Sufis a scandal because they rejected formalism in external ritual. While Sufis always maintained an outward connection with Islam, their doctrine began to embrace all religions.

    Jalal Ud-din Rumi was born into a wealthy family in what is now Afghanistan. They slowly migrated southwestward into modern Turkey to escape Mongol invasions. As an adult he was standing one day by a goldbeater’s shop, repeating the name of God, when he was caught into ecstasy. He heard the name of God in every sound and began to whirl. Later he founded the Mevlevi Sufi Order, also known as Whirling Dervishes. His followers repeat, "There is no God but God" as they turn in circles. They empty their hearts of all but the thought of God and whirl in the ecstatic movement of God’s breath.

    Rumi is often called the Sultan of Love. He taught that love flies into the divine presence, while philosophy and theology lag slowly along dusty roads. He is considered the greatest Sufi poet in the Persian language, and his book, the Hassawi, is called the Persian Koran.

    In this icon Rumi wears the tall felt hat and turban of the Mevlevi Order. The gold circle he holds contains an endless repetition of "There is no God but God," in stylized script. His face is based on a miniature portrait from an old manuscript.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  14. St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431)

    At the time of Joan’s birth in 1412, English troops had been fighting on French soil for 75 years, both occupying much of the country and preventing the coronation of a French king. In response to a number of promptings by voices she heard in prayer, Joan abandoned her peasant home life to rally the armies of France and lead them to several significant victories. She achieved her goal of seeing the Dauphin crowned at Rheims as Charles VII, but when hostile forces at Compiegne captured her soon after, King Charles left her to her fate.

    French clergy friendly to the English cause condemned Joan as a heretic -- in part because she wore men’s clothing, but mostly because she refused to deny the reality of what she heard in prayer. An English soldier made a crude cross of sticks and handed it to her shortly before she was executed. She was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine. Another Catholic tribunal exonerated her 25 years later, and she was canonized as a saint in 1920.

    It is said that white butterflies followed Joan wherever she rode with her unfurled banner. This nineteen-year-old martyr died rather than compromise the clear path shown by her conscience. In this, she has been an inspiration for many thoughout history and today.

    Her feast day is May 30.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  15. Martin Luther King Jr. of Georgia (1929-1968)

    This icon depicts Martin Luther King Jr., one of the great martyrs of the Twentieth Century. From 1955 until his death, he led a campaign of nonviolent resistance in the United States against racial oppression and injustice.

    The number he wears around his neck is from a "mug shot" taken one of the many times he was arrested by the police for resisting unjust laws. The prison bars behind him represent the occasions he was jailed and the oppression and slavery of Afro-Americans in the United States. The text on his scroll is from his speech in Albany, Georgia, on December 14, 1961. The Greek inscription by his head reads, "Holy Martin."

    Since the eighteenth century, the faith of African American Christians in America has been tied to the struggle for freedom. Martin Luther King renewed the bond between faith and political action like the Old Testament prophets. Although his life was threatened many times, he continued to expose himself to danger. He was shot on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

    Br. Robert Lentz
  16. Br. Mathais Barrett of Albuquerque (1900-1990)

    Brother Mathias Barrett was born in Ireland, but he spent most of his life living in North America. He was a simple man who loved the poor and who founded the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd. Originally his order worked only with homeless men, but in time it expanded its apostolate to include homeless women, alcoholics, the elderly, and the mentally and physically handicapped.

    Barrett's early years were painful and left him burdened with an abrasive personality. In his last years he labored to make peace with those he had offended. "People say I am cracked," he would admit, "but light shines through the cracks."

    Br. Robert Lentz
  17. Mahandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

    Gandhi spent his life fighting evil through non-violent resistance. For him, the liberation of India was a religious duty. He saw it as a step toward the liberation of all humankind from the tyranny of violence in others, but especially within themselves. When violence could be abolished universally, Gandhi said, "God will reign on earth as he does in Heaven." Gandhi was murdered on January 30, 1948.

    Christ proclaimed the Kingdom of God. Gandhi, like every individual who is directed toward Christ’s ideals is a bearer of that Kingdom. Icons are images of the Kingdom, windows into Heaven.

    In this icon, Gandhi holds salt which he has gathered by the ocean -- an act forbidden by English colonial law. The salt also reminds us of Christ’s words: "You are the salt of the earth." The Greek inscription by his head reads "Holy Mohandas Gandhi."

    Br. Robert Lentz
  18. Mother Jones of America (1830-1930)

    Once called "The most dangerous woman in America" by a government official, Mary Jones was dangerous to the established order because she was fearless in her defense of the oppressed working class. For 60 years she went into mining towns where men often feared to go, organizing unions. The miners called her "Mother" Jones.

    Government militia imprisoned her in jails, tents, and sewers. She was sent out of town by train, but she came back. To keep owners from breaking strikes with scab labor, she organized miner’s wives into brigades armed with brooms, mops and buckets. "I live in the United States," she once told a Congressman, "but I do not know exactly where. My address is wherever there is a fight against oppression. My address is like my shoes -- it travels with me."

    She compared the labor movement with the flight of the Jews from Egypt. "The labor movement, my friends, was a command from God Almighty. He commanded the prophet to redeem the Israelites that were in bondage. He organized the men into a union." Thousands attended her requiem Mass when she died at the age of 100.

    In this icon she stands in front of massive mining machinery. She is wearing dark Victorian clothing, as was her custom. The text on her scroll is from an exhortation she gave to West Virginia miners in 1902. The Greek inscription by her head reads "Holy Mary."

    Br. Robert Lentz
  19. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)

    I never look at the masses as my responsibility. ~ I look only at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. ~ I can feed only one person at a time.

    Just one, one, one.

    You get closer to Christ by coming closer to each other. ~ As Jesus said, 'Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me.'

    So you begin . . . I begin.

    I picked up one person--maybe if I didn't pick up that one person I wouldn't have picked up the others. ~ The whole work is only a drop in the ocean.  But if we don't put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less. ~ Same thing for you. Same thing in your family. Same thing in the church where you go.

    Just begin . . . one, one, one."

    —Mother Teresa

    Br. Robert Lentz
  20. We-wha of Zuni (1849-1896)

    When Europeans arrived in North America they were shocked that native people often interpreted gender differently from them. Not only were many cultures matriarchal, a great many tribes accepted three genders instead of only two.

    Zuni Pueblo, in western New Mexico, honored three genders before the coming of protestant missionaries. Men who chose not to become hunters and warriors became lhamanas, members of the alternative gender that bridged the other two. While they were initiated into male religious societies, they became crafts specialists and wore female garb. They were nonwarriors who moved freely in the male and female worlds.

    We-wha was a Zuni lhamana who helped bridge his culture and that of Anglo-Americans. He was one of the first Zunis to experiment with new economic activities, something essential in the changing world of his day. He was a cultural ambassador for Zuni, traveling to Washington, D.C., where no one guessed he was not a woman in the many months he mixed with "high society" there. He assisted Anglo scholars who came to record the ways of his people, but he also resisted Anglo incursions when they seemed improper -- once even ending up in jail.

    He was a deeply spiritual person. In this icon he is shown garbed as the man-woman kachina, Kolhamana, a role he filled during his life. His hands and face are painted ceremonially and he is ready to place the sacred mask upon his face. He was well loved throughout his life and his death brought grief to Zuni. The rainbow spirit above his head in the icon emphasizes that he is now one of the holy ones who return to his people with blessings. His photograph hangs in the tribal museum today, and gay Native Americans throughout North America remember him as a spiritual hero and guide.

    Br. Robert Lentz

Icons of Compassion and Service
Br. Robert Lentz

“The Seven Pillars’” exploration of Our Sacred Heritage chronicles the legacy of the prophets of the world’s great religious and indigenous traditions, extending beyond the official mythic figures to include others who also embody numinous aspects of human character. Thus we can more fully appreciate the fullness of our own potential as bearers of the sacred in our culture today.

Brother Robert Lentz’ icons are known throughout the world for their message of beauty and peace. While always striving to remain true to the essence of Byzantine iconography, Br. Lentz adapts traditional conventions in order to minister better to the emerging Church. This gallery contains 20 of Br. Lentz’ icons, selected to represent a spirit of compassion and service.

These icons were gifted to Seven Pillars for one-time use by Trinity Stores. Please click here to view their gallery and see many more icons by Br. Robert Lentz, as well as other spiritual and religious icons and works of art.

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Br. Robert Lentz is a Franciscan friar whose innovative icons are known throughout the world. He is a member of Holy Name Province, and is stationed in Silver Spring, Maryland at Holy Name College. Besides painting many hours each day, he teaches apprentices, writes, and conducts workshops on art and spirituality throughout the United States. His icons reflect his experiences among the poor in this country and in the Third World, as well as his Franciscan and Russian roots. He is active in promoting dialog between Muslims and Christians. While always striving to remain true to the essence of Byzantine iconography, he adapts traditional conventions in order to minister better to the emerging Church. His icons remain transcendent expressions of the ancient Christian Tradition, and they invite us into communion with God and the saints.

Read more about Br. Robert Lentz

Comments (1)
  • As a Gay Catholic Mystic your icons speak so profoundly to me. Keep doing what your doing, it is truly a blessing!


    — Kevin Hibner on May 31, 2013

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