Reflection Masthead
Issue 135 - Corita Kent  - March 2016

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A thoughtful video about Corita's art and her faith

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Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

108-NBA Championship

110-On Freedom 

112 Robin Williams 


116-Kentucky Epiphany 

119-Christmas Mystery  


121-Radical Amazement 

122-St.John's Bible 

124-Botanical Garden 

126-Call of the King 

127-Living Our Stories 

128-Pope Francis 

129-Saint Francis 


131-The Way of Peace  

132-Danube Reflections  

133-Want Happiness?

134-Our Uncertain Certainties 

Link to all past issues     


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Copyright (c) 2016 Soul Windows Ministries

Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries 
New Bread, or New Eyes

We knead new bread
And we need new bread
And this can be said
Of the bread and the word.
            - Corita Kent, 1967
Why is the world suddenly paying attention to Corita Kent (aka Sister Mary Corita, IHM), a nun who left her order in 1968, and died in 1986?
Within the past couple of years, Kent's artistic work has been featured in publications ranging from the New York Times Magazine to NPR, from the Huffington Post to Harvard Magazine. The mayor of Boston proclaimed November 20, 2015, to be Corita Kent Day, and the American Institute of Graphic Artists named her one of the AIGA medalists for 2016. A retrospective exhibit of her work is traveling around the country (we saw it at the San Antonio Museum of Art), and a book about her career was published last year.
Kent was a Pop Artist. Andy Warhol famously turned a simple 4-Kent-life-is-a-complicated-businesscan of Campbell's Tomato Soup into an iconic image; Kent did much the same with a loaf of Wonder Bread. Much of her work incorporates bold, eye-grabbing splashes of primary colors, paired with small, hand-written texts. Some of the quotes are explicitly religions (Merton, Berrigan, King), but others are simply advertising slogans: "builds strong bodies in 12 different ways."
The juxtaposition of color and text makes her work intriguing. There is always more than first meets the eye. What really sets Kent's work apart is that it is infused with an incarnational and eucharistic sensibility. It is not by chance that a Catholic nun paid so much attention to the bread that is offered to build up the body.
Theologian Harvey Cox, who knew Kent, put it this way, "Like a priest, a shaman, a magician, she could pass her hands over the commonest of the everyday, the superficial, the oh-so-ordinary, and make it a vehicle of the luminous, the only, and the hope filled."
Do we need new bread? Or do we simply need to see more deeply the bread that is set before us? Corita Kent helps us to see.

-- Bill
Benevolent, Mysterious God
       I am a fine art aficionada. Pop art, to me, is a taste yet to be developed - I thought. Seeing the Corita Kent exhibit enforced an instant conversion in my appreciation of art and, surprisingly, a spiritual conversion at various different depths as well. Bold - intuitive - clever: many qualities of her art are striking but the most arresting of all is Kent's spiritual insights. Many of her inspirational scripts obviously arose from her efficacious prayer life while in the convent.
       There was a similarity with my reflective processes, those arising from my conventual prayer, as I recall. Not long after Corita Kent developed her serigraphy (silkscreen art) I was in high school and in a religious community much like hers, where I was fed art appreciation whilst hearing the voice of Martin Luther King, Jr, and the roar of protests against the Vietnam War. I also excelled in art. Although Corita and I share many parallels in our external worlds, I believe the power of Kent's art is the universal theme of love, life, and longing that lives in every soul. That's where we connected.
       Each art aficionado will connect (or not) with a piece of art differently from the next. Bill and I both found ourselves captivated by the power of Kent's images and scripts. Usually our museum viewing lasts about an hour before sensual overload sets in; this time we left after 2 ½ hours and wanting to return. Corita Kent, indeed was, as she saw herself, "an instrument of a benevolent, if mysterious, God." Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all experienced the Wonder of God in a loaf of bread!

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