The Art of Studio Art

This month features the art of Eusebio Cortez, a student at the Franciscan School of Theology in San Diego, California. A graphic designer by profession, Eusebio’s passion is studio art, especially watercolor, illustrations, and pen and ink sketches. Eusebio explains, “I think art is a gift and so I want to create – not to keep for myself or to gain attention but to put it out in the world for others.” Below are photos of Eusebio’s work along with his reflections on what he describes as the perfect color palette.

“I find the most inspiration in color. Color palettes of nature are perfect…God created them! Whether I’m doing a watercolor or a graphic design logo I always like to start with the colors. Even before an initial sketch, I think a lot about the colors and what will be vibrant and go well together.”


“For a still life, I most enjoy natural objects like plants, flowers, and fruit. I can look out a window or take a walk and see inspiration all around me. Especially in California, there are so many local plants and animals.”





“Studio art is my hobby, passion, and vocation. It’s what brings everything together and is the way of expressing spirituality, beauty, and whatever captures my imagination. Like a form of meditation, studio art is therapeutic and relaxing. I can really submerge into the creation process.”




“Learning about Dorothy Day I was inspired by her dedication to service. This still life drawing for her granddaughter, Kate Hennessey, was a way to give something of myself.”

The Art of Painting with Your Daughters

Charlie Brown, Executive Director at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, AZ, tells us, “Art has always helped me connect with how significant my life is to Christ and in the beauty of God’s creation. Today my daughters and I painted, which we do when together. Art was a component of our healing through divorce and the loss of family and friends in death. It also celebrates our life and the value of life in Jesus.”

Introducing Casa Franciscana Mission, Guaymas, Mexico

Supported by Casa Franciscana Outreach, Scottsdale, AZ

The Casa Franciscana Mission in Guaymas (CFMG), Sonora, Mexico dates back to 1968, when the Mexican Obregon Diocese asked the Franciscan Province of Saint Barbara, CA, USA to provide pastoral care to the English-speaking community in San Carlos, Mexico. The friars agreed to minister this care to the San Carlos community under the condition that they could also serve the poor in the neighboring city of Guaymas, Mexico. Today, CFMG addresses the needs of vulnerable populations in Guaymas with services including a free dining room, shelter for migrants, youth center, healthcare clinic and collaboration with Shriners’ International Hospital. CFMG also provides “External Ministry” to marginalized areas of Guaymas with a focus on visiting elders that are ill and homebound, farmworkers in the Guaymas valley agricultural fields, and migrants in Empalme, to whom they offer shelter and visit at the railroad every day.

Through these ministries, the staff embodies Catholic social teaching on the dignity of the individual and the Franciscan commitment to the poor and values of prayer, community, joy.

The ARTFUL Life of Brother Pat Groves

Brother Pat Groves O.F.M., is remembered by his brothers as a friar who followed the beat of his own drum. He was an artist, writer and musician known for his calm presence, gentle ways and dedicated service. After twenty-five years of being a friar, Pat decided to leave the friars but continued to live a life of simplicity. Twenty-five years later, Pat rejoined his brothers. He lived in the St Elizabeth friary and later at Old Mission San Luis Rey where he died in 2020. Below is a beautiful piece of music he created called, Lady Clare’s Farewell and a watercolor with an eastern influence. To see more of his art and writings, click on this link.




               Brother Pat PlayingLady Clare’s Farewell
      Watercolor with an Eastern influence
Introducing San Damiano Retreat Center (SD)

The mission of San Damiano Retreat is to provide a peaceful environment of natural beauty where spiritual renewal and growth may be sought by people of all faiths and backgrounds In the Spirit of St Francis and St Clare, and guided by the Franciscan traditions of joy, hospitality, compassion, peace, and simplicity. They offer contemporary, challenging retreats and programs in response to the changing needs of God’s people. They serve diverse groups including Jewish women, the Hispanic community, the Archdiocese, and many 12-step groups. To learn more, watch this video.

The Art of Drawing

This month we feature the drawings of Farit Alvare. Farit is a security guard at St. Francis Center in Los Angeles. Originally from Peru, Farit says his art reflects his mood. “If I am happy, my art reflects that.” These drawings are submissions for a mural St. Francis Center is planning. Read the interview below to learn more about Farit.

Where did your inspiration for this mural come from?
I wanted to convey everything that St. Francis has given to me and the community. St. Francis center has been a source of love and life to all. It has been a gift from God, and a constant reminder to love thy neighbor.

What are your hopes for someone who comes across this mural?
I want to emit emotions such as joy, tranquility, peace, happiness, and most importantly hospitality.

What positive impact has St. Francis Center made on you?
St. Francis Center has given me the opportunity to carry out two meaningful things that I hold of great significance. The first being able to provide protection and security to our guests and staff. The second is gifting me the ability to help those in need.


Farit is not the only artist at St Francis Center. David Cho, a local LA Artist and guest of St. Francis Center is also artistically gifted. David has been an artist for 30 years. He works in many mediums including hand-drawing and digital art.

Having guests who share their gifts with us makes it clear that the “giving” goes both ways. We share our gifts of food, showers, spiritual companionship and our guests share their gifts from art and stories to volunteering and companioning others.

We are doubly blessed!

Millennials: Making the Franciscan Movement Relevant

Millennials are changing our culture in profound ways. One is their adoption and promotion of the sharing economy, sometimes described as the circular economy”. Chances are you are already participating in it. If you have used a car sharing app like Uber or a home sharing app like Airbnb, or clothes sharing service like Rent the Runway, you have participated in the sharing economy. If you have given a friend a loan or borrowed your neighbors bundt pan instead of buying your own new one, you are participating in the sharing economy. Professor Godelik, in his (2017). Millennials and the sharing economy project: Lessons from a ‘buy nothing new, share everything month’ project, describes it “as adopting a new mindset in which access to goods and services is seen as more valuable than ownership of them.

That mindset is very Franciscan. I first learned about it from a friar who told me that the tag sewn into his collar was that of another friar who had passed on. “We live by this idea, he said, of sine proprio. It means that we live without possessing. We don’t consider the things we have as “ours”. Rather they are for our use when we need them but meant to be given or shared with others when they need them. Everything is a gift from God, he said, so we share our gifts and receive gifts from others.”

Today, we would describe that as a circular, or sharing, mindset. St. Francis made this point in the rule he wrote back in the 13th century. The first sentence reads, “The rule and life of the lesser brothers is this: To observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience without anything of our own…”

Franciscan beliefs are not exclusive to Franciscans. Millennials who are, and who are not affiliated with us, are leading a cultural shift that expands our duty to care for creation and promotes a life of “not possessing,” Of course I am generalizing, and not every individual millennial feels this way (and many dislike the term millennial). However, those that do may be in the best position to carry this element of the Franciscan Movement forward.

Sharing rather than buying can have a big impact. For example, consider the impact of wearing clothes longer or donating them to others who will wear them rather than buy something new. Scientific American reports that “Research by Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), a sustainability advisory group in England, “shows extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5 to 10 percent reduction in each [item’s] carbon, water and waste footprints,”

Companies have taken this trend seriously. Besides the 100’s of sharing companies that have emerged, like Camp in my Garden and Fivver, established companies are adapting. Just yesterday I received a postcard from REI announcing that they will accept used gear. Their encouragement: “…feel good about participating in the circular economy…”

Bill Short, Franciscan scholar and Dean of our Franciscan School of Theology uses the image of an open hand to describe this Franciscan way of life. When your hand is open it can both give and receive. Millennials seem to intuitively understand that. I am grateful they are spreading the word.

To learn more about the Franciscan Movement explore the lectures and classes offered by our Franciscan School of Theology at

Introducing St. Anthony Foundation

Introducing St. Anthony Foundation

Catholic Social Teachings remind us that, “The person is not only sacred but also social,” and that we have “a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”

As a community, all the ministries of the Province of St. Barbara share a mission and a desire for the common good. Yet, many of us aren’t familiar with our sister ministries. So, each month we will highlight one ministry in an effort to increase awareness, appreciation and collaboration.

For as in one body we have many members,
and the members do not all have the same function,
so we, though many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:4-5

Introducing St. Anthony Foundation (SAF)

Seven decades ago, Franciscan Friar Fr. Alfred Boeddeker had a vision of uniting vulnerable populations in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. His vision became a reality on October 4, 1950 as he opened the doors of St. Anthony’s Dining Room. The first day our Dining Room opened, Fr. Alfred expected to serve 150 meals to low-income and homeless Guests. He ended up serving 400. Today, in that same Franciscan spirit, SAF serves over 3000 hot, nutritious meal every day, provides healthcare to more than 4600 patients, provides digital justice through a computer lab, free clothing program and supports many through its addiction recovery program. SAF relies heavily on volunteers This touching video allows you to see SAF from their perspectives.

Black History Month

Black History Month provides another opportunity for us to understand the history, experiences, thoughts and feelings of our African American sisters and brothers. It encourages us to reflect on the past, but as importantly, on how we will participate in the creation of a more relationship-oriented and just future.

Sister Irma Dillard, RSCJ is a social activist dedicated to educating and empowering the voiceless to find their voices and take direct action for justice. She is a Change Management Consultant working with not-for-profits, unions, and parishes. She is a friend of the friars, a fan of the Franciscan movement, and has graciously agreed to share her reflection on Black History Month 2021.


Sister Irma’s Reflection on Black History Month 2021

1969 was a good year to be young, gifted and black!

Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University, Ohio in February 1969: a celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S history.

The 60’s were a very tumultuous time! The Black Power Movement (1966) was gaining momentum.

I chose not to attend another Catholic school. I attended a predominately black high school here in Northern California. It was there I was able to righteously be fully black— no need to assimilate.

In 1968, we walked out of classes and took over the administration building. Our demands: more Black teachers, Black administrators, Black Studies, and a library including books by Black and other authors of color. With pride, energy and determination we fought for legitimacy, authenticity, equality, freedom, justice and the right to an equal education. We spent 2 nights & 3 ½ days occupying that space during negotiations.

1969 was a good year. We read what was happening at Kent State. 90% of our demands were met. I knew it was time that we black folks be recognized for the achievements and contributions since our forced arrival in America— in mathematics, the sciences, literature, music, technology, etc. Our ancestors were more than just slaves! We were more than musicians and athletes! It was past time for us to be proud black people—unashamed and unapologetic!

To Be Young Gifted and Black” hit the airways on KSOL and everyone began singing this powerful song. We sang it every single day. My high school WAS black history—the past brought to life and the continued making of history. Posters and quotes of black achievement decorated the halls and classrooms. We finally had a more accurate curriculum and because of Kent State we also celebrated Black History Month for the first time!

The sacred words of Nina Simone were alive:

To be young, gifted and black
Oh, what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black
Open your heart to what I mean
In the whole world you know
There are a million boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black
And that’s a fact!

Black History Month! Black History is American History! It is World History!
Black History has to be incorporated fully into the American story!


Sister Irma Dillard, RSCJ is a social activist dedicated to educating and empowering the voiceless to find their voices and take direct action for justice. She is a Change Management Consultant working with not-for-profits, unions, and parishes. With degrees in psychology and counseling, religious studies, and communications, Sister Irma has spent 40 years working with youth and their families, including juvenile offender programs, single mothers’ support groups, and serving three San Francisco parishes doing staff development, diversity training, and facilitating staff and parish retreats. Sister Irma has been and continues to be with the people in the streets, participating in Black Lives Matter, DC Women’s March, Fight for $15, Poor People’s Campaign, Rise for Climate, People’s Townhall SF, DACA/Dreamers and No Ban, No Wall. She is a leader in her religious congregation’s reparations to the descendants of the estimated 150 persons enslaved by her religious order in Louisiana.


To Be Young Gifted and Black” sung by Nina Simone and released in 1969. The song was also featured on her 1970 album Black Gold and was considered an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. The title and opening line of the song come from Lorraine Hansberry’s autobiographical play, To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words, 1957. It is a play about the life of American writer Lorraine Hansberry, adapted from her own writings. Lorraine died in 1965 at the age of 34.

Nina then wrote the “To Be Young Gifted and Black” for children in memory of her late friend Lorraine Hansberry.

1976 Ford decreed Black History Month a national observance.

The Art of Knitting

Carol Sanger
Knitter and Secretary of the Board,
Franciscan Renewal Center

Some 60 years ago, my mother taught me to knit. I think she’d hoped it would occupy my hands which were running faster than my mouth back then. By college, I had enough basic technique to make a sweater. After dozens of sweaters, and afghans, dolls and baby clothes, knitting had become my door to humility, patience and the importance of practice. My hands learned to knit without thought commands. I learned there are no mistakes, only lapses in attention, and that there is always more to learn.

When I knit a garment – for you, as an example – I think only of you. I consider how the color will look next to your skin, the shape that will flatter your figure, the ease of care. And I allow myself to be carried back to other garments I have made like that – for the boyfriend who didn’t last, my father who died, my granddaughter who will drag it around during her toddler years before giving it away.

Typically, I make my own patterns, choose my own colors and then improvise as I go along. This baby blanket for my granddaughter is an example, but I think her mother has put it away for safekeeping. I’d rather see it out, being used, with a few stains, maybe a little grape juice.

Last winter, I signed on to knit 50 8” x 8” squares as part of the Violet Protest, a collaborative knitting project of Phoenix artist Ann Morton. Fiber artists from all over the country are contributing their handmade squares using red and blue (symbols of differing ideologies) which from a distance pixilate to violet. Each square bears the name of the artist and a heartfelt intention focused on our core values as a nation: respect for the other, citizenship, compromise, compassion, creativity, candor, courage, compromise among among others. The Phoenix Art Museum will display them this Spring before going to Washington DC where 50 squares will be hand delivered to each member of the House and Senate. Do the math – yup, 26,750 squares!

This is one of the ways knitting connects me to knitters and crocheters around the world. (Knitters use 2 needles, crocheters use 1 hook.) We are one body not bound by culture or politics, but by this other thing we do. I want my life to be useful. I want my love for this world to have physical form. Looping stitches through stitches to become fabric to hold my love for its intended – family, friend or stranger – until the day comes when the sweater or afghan cradles the old bones of an old dog and all that love spills freely out into the world.

You can see how this works, can’t you?

Click on the image below to view the knitting video.