Art and its ‘route to truth’

Detail, illustration of St. John Paul II praying. Photo: Archiwiz/Shutterstock

One of my fondest memories of the last few years of my maternal grandmother’s life involves sacred art and our shared Catholic faith. 

Three years before she died, the Cincinnati Museum Center in 2004 hosted a special traveling exhibit called “Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes.” At the time I was living about three hours away, but I came home that weekend so the two of us could view artifacts that normally would require a trip to Rome to see. Fifteen years later, I still have two souvenirs as subtle reminders of that day when we shared our love of history and the Church. 

In our October 2019 print issue, art critic and journalist Mary Gregory profiles the John Paul II Foundation for the Sacred Arts, Assumption College, and the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought & Culture. These three organizations recognize the importance of art and faith. As professor Toby Norris of Assumption College told Gregory: “Art and beauty provide a route to truth.”

In this time of vast technological change and the educational emphasis that students learn technical skills, we must not forget that the arts are vital, too. St. John Paul II, whose feast day the Church celebrates on Oct. 22, wrote a beautiful letter to artists in 1999. He says:

Society needs artists, just as it needs scientists, technicians, workers, professional people, witnesses of the faith, teachers, fathers and mothers, who ensure the growth of the person and the development of the community by means of that supreme art form which is “the art of education.” Within the vast cultural panorama of each nation, artists have their unique place. (Letter to Artists, 4) 

Also in the October 2019 print issue, we also introduce two new departments.  

  • Susie Lloyd shares stories about her experience growing up in the Church. In the debut of Cradle Catholic, Susie introduces us to wool-habit-wearing nuns in Rome whom she met while in college. Decades later, the experience of the three months Susie spent with those sisters still remains with her. Cradle Catholic will alternate issues with His Turn. 
  • Catholic fitness expert Kaiser Johnson begins a new column writing about exercise and more — caring for what St. Paul calls the “temple of the holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Find Faith & Fitness here. It will alternate issues with Savoring Sundays. 

Beautiful art heightens our human aspirations, as St. John Paul II wrote, “Humanity … looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny” (Letter to Artists, 14).

You’re in my prayers, 


You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply