In every age, peace is both a gift from on high and the fruit of a shared commitment. Indeed, we can speak of an “architecture” of peace, to which different institutions of society contribute, and an “art” of peace that directly involves each one of us. All can work together to build a more peaceful world, starting from the hearts of individuals and relationships in the family, then within society and with the environment, and all the way up to relationships between peoples and nations. ~ Pope Francis’s World Day of Peace Message, 2022
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Pax Christi USA, members and friends from across the country were invited to take part in a communal art project. The project had two main components: 1) the physical weaving and 2) the prayer intentions for a re-imagined world. Both components asked for participation from individual Pax Christi members.
The physical weaving was created using scraps of salvaged/donated fabric that will be sewn or tied together to create the weft of the tapestry. It was designed in such a way as to allow for attendees at the conference to add pieces of fabric to the tapestry as well. This finished tapestry created a physical representation of the diversity of the work of individual Pax Christi members, the interconnectedness of that work, and the collective result of small but deliberate actions for peace, and peacemaking as both a physical creation and a constant practice. From January-July, we invited members to send in pieces of fabric, prayer intentions, and hopes for Pax Christi USA to Kathy O’Leary, Pax Christi New Jersey coordinator and 2022 Ambassador of Peace, who wove the fabric into a tapestry to display at the national conference in August.
In summary, this project hoped to :
- Create a physical representation of the diversity of the work of individual Pax Christi members, the interconnectedness of that work and the collective result of small but deliberate actions for peace.
- Represent peacemaking as both a physical creation and a constant practice
- Provide an opportunity/invitation for all Pax Christi members to contribute to the project over the course of the year.
- Collect individual intentions for a re-imagined world based on love and compassion.
Kathy’s artist statement: “Weaving threads of peace and the Magnificat”
In the 50th anniversary year of Pax Christi USA’s founding, we have chosen the metaphor of
“weaving threads of peace.” The weaving [that was] on display in the prayer room at the national conference is woven from remnants of fabric and leftover yarn sent in by Pax Christi USA members from across the country along with their prayers for a re-imagined world. This abstract image of a pregnant Mary is the result.
According to the gospel of Luke, on the occasion of the Visitation, Mary recited what we know as the Magnificat. It helps paint a portrait of a powerful and prophetic Mary who reimagines a world order based on the justice of the scriptures. Anyone who has been pregnant can relate to the process of imagining the future of the new life that they are carrying. It begins with what they will look like, but expands into things like what passions they will pursue and what their life’s work will be.
While Mary speaks about her legacy as “blessed,” she also alludes to the hopes and dreams that she has for the child that she carries. What is remarkable about her imagining is how far
reaching and utterly transforming her vision is. Her love for the child that she carries is shared with her love for the whole world.
As peacemakers we are invited to join Mary’s vision and to engage in radically reimagining the world in which we live. It is a vision of justice rooted in love. [Conference participants were invited to add their prayers for a re-imagined world based on gospel justice and rooted in love to the strings of yarn that were left unwoven at the front of the weaving. Prayer intentions sent in by other members were also available on the table. Participants were invited to take one of the intentions and write some part of it on a scrap of fabric and attach it to the strings on the weaving, and to take some time with the weaving and to meditate on the Magnificat and our collective work at creating a new more compassionate and loving world.]
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me
blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Thank you, Kathy! You are an artisan of peace!
For more information on our 50th year celebrations and upcoming events, see the #Pax50 webpage.