November 2011 Prayer and Reflection

From the November 2011 cover of Living with Christ

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Detail from the Communion of Saints, 1999-2002 John Nava(1947-) CREDIT: Used with Permission, ©2003, John Nava/The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

By Living with Christ Staff


Completed in 2002, The Communion of Saints is a cycle of 25 fresco-like tapestries designed by John Nava (b. 1947) for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. With figures averaging 10 feet tall, they depict 136 saints and blesseds, including holy men and women of North America.

The figures are in groups consisting of females and males of all nationalities, races, ages, and positions in life. Their gaze is fixed in the direction of the light of the great Cross-window above the altar where the Eucharist is celebrated. Twelve untitled figures (including the two children and the mother and baby on our cover*) repre­sent the many anonymous holy people in our midst.

Nava describes the tap­estries as portraying “strong, whole humans, full of hope.” He wanted viewers to “see the humanity of these figures and feel a sense of connec­tion to themselves.” He cre­ated the figures to look like people today, so that viewers might see that “a saint could look like me.”

If you wish, sit quietly with the picture, and reflect on the following questions:

  • Which figures speak to my experience of life?
  • Who are the "anonymous holy people" in my life?
  • Whom would I choose to include in this tapestry?

*The identified figures in the detail on our cover are (l-r): St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, and St. André Bessette.

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Living with Christ Staff