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Tuesday
Apr082014

Religious Education Congress, Anaheim, CA (RECongress)

 

The Religious Education Congress is the largest Catholic gathering in the US, and it occurs annually at the Anaheim Convention Center. Approximately 40,000 people attend every March. This year, I had the honor of being the featured artist at this event.

The week before the conference, our family experienced the unexpected loss of my mother to a sudden stroke. Burdened with grief, I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through three days of interacting with so many people. However, it turned out to be a special time. I felt supported by the prayers of friends and family, as well as the love of God expressed through seeing his people respond to my sculptures. Grief is a long journey, but at this conference, I received unexpected encouragement at a time when I really needed it.  

I was blessed by many conversations that took place during those days.

One such conversation was with a recent graduate of a top art college in LA. She and I discussed the intersection of faith and life. Here is her email to me: 

 “It was such a pleasure to meet you at Congress a few weeks ago.  We spoke for a bit about how faith informs our work.  I hadn't had the guts to really allow myself to merge my art and my faith before speaking to you, so our conversation was such a blessing.  Letting my faith flow into the world where I create is liberating. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.”—Danielle

I feel like artists of faith need to hear that we are whole beings who create art from a place where our faith is integrated into our life and creativity, whether the subject matter is religious or not. Being at the RE Congress at this particular time was a challenging and rich experience for me as an artist and as a grieving woman.

Life, art, and faith flow into each other and allow us to connect in ways that are honest and whole. This makes us better artists as well as better people. 

 

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