|Soul of Mary|
As this coming weekend is the Traditional Spanish Market in Santa Fe where Arturo will be selling about 40 of his retablos, I would like to do this blog about him and his art. He is one of more than 350 Hispanic artists showing traditional artwork at the juried market.
Diagnosed last year with lung cancer that spread to his brain and spine, Arturo decided to retire from over 30 years of teaching to devote his energy to his art. His doctors gave him 8 to12 months to live, but those with much faith know that sometimes the Lord has other ideas. "My doctor tells me my cancer is incurable and as long as my chemo keeps the cancer at bay my goal is to extend my life and to make me as comfortable as possible. My faith tells me anything is possible".
After radiation treatment, Arturo is now on a daily chemo pill which has not only shrunk the tumors but the cancer has not spread. Though the treatment leaves him debilitated and often sick, it does not seem to have slowed him down from his art, love of gardening, and small trips he takes around his beloved New Mexico.
Like myself Arturo was raised in Southern California and also like me had a father who loved to sketch (and he also loves Mexican food).
|St. Pascal (patron of cooks)|
Arturo-Francisco was admitted to the Third Order of St. Francis in September of 2007. As a Franciscan brother he combines his vocation to teach and to paint the santos with his call to follow in the foot steps of St. Francis in imitating Christ Jesus.
|St. Francis of Assisi|
But my Franciscan vocation must be lived most directly in the relationship I have with God and with the relationships I have with people: family, friends, my Franciscan community, colleagues and associates, benefactors, my neighbors, strangers and enemies. I am meditating on this reality in a very particular way because yesterday my Franciscan community elected me as their Servant-Minister (in former times the position would have been something akin to a "Superior").
The election was a surprise, totally unexpected considering my name had been proposed in the weeks leading to yesterday's election and then withdrawn due to concerns about my health. My selection was particularly meaningful because it comes as a response to my prayer for guidance in what to do now that I am retired, what do I do now to serve. And considering yesterday was Good Shepherd Sunday (the gospel) I am reminded of the privilege and responsibilities of being a "good shepherd" to and with my community.
|The Most Holy Trinity|
So, as in the past I ask for your continued prayers especially for guidance in my new position. As minister, my term lasts 3 years. I jokingly turned to a colleague when my election was announced and asked, does this mean I have at least 3 more years to live? Only God knows, of course. This new position is an opportunity for grace, for myself and for others. I pray I won't miss the opportunity!
Soon Arturo will celebrate his 54 birthday and his one year
anniversary of "new life" with cancer. We pray that he lives
for many years as he continues to share his God-given gifts with all.
|Our Lady of the Rosary|
Those we ask to intercede for Arturo-Francisco:
|St. Catherine of Siena|
|St. Therese of Lisieux|
|Our Lady of Guadalupe|
|Infant of Prague|