Express Yourself: Leisure, Art, Justice and a Challenge

If you are connected to social media, you are probably already aware of the “Recreate Art Challenge”. Museums everywhere are encouraging people to pick a piece of art and then recreate it using items, and with people, in their household. For example:

This series caught my eye because it is done by the same woman, and for many people, it captures their progressive experience of Covid. At first, she is full of energy, in time, she is seated and looking a little tired, and eventually she is just exhausted by the whole thing! Yet, many people taking up this challenge have commented on how life affirming it is and how it has injected fun and energy at a time when theirs had been waning.

What has art got to do with our Catholic, Franciscan Identity? A lot! The Catholic Church has always valued artistic expression. St. Francis loved and wrote poetry. He played instruments and sang. The Churches appreciation for art and other cultural endeavors even extends to Catholic Social Teachings regarding Work and Just Wages. (What! You didn’t know we had social teachings. Well, you are in for a big surprise.)

A Just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. ‘Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural, and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good.’ Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.”
-Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2434

Work relates to the inherent dignity of each and every individual. We believe that a dignified life includes work, but also leisure time to engage in social, cultural and spiritual practices (like recreating the last supper by Leonardo Da Vinci in your dining room).

Pope Frances, in his recent encyclical, Fratelli tutti, put it this way:
In a genuinely developed society, work is an essential dimension of social life, for it is not only a means of earning one’s daily bread, but also of personal growth, the building of healthy relationships, self- expression and the exchange of gifts. Work gives us a sense of shared responsibility for the development of the world, and ultimately, for our life as a people.

Our Franciscan worldview is that we are co-creators with God in the development of the world. In the spirit of being co-creators, I put out this challenge in hope that it will reduce the Covid fatigue we may feel and that it may enliven our creative side.

The Challenge:  Choose a piece of art and recreate it by yourself, with your family or with you coworkers (in masks, of course). Send it in to and I will post them on the mission integration website for all to see!

If you need inspiration, consider the art below. May your creative juices flow!

St. Francis Caring for Lepers


NOTE: My apologies for not providing credits for most of the artwork and recreations of artwork displayed in this document. Artists deserve to be recognized. In this case, these were copied from the internet and didn’t have any attributions, or did, but they didn’t actually copy over when I pasted them to my photos.