St Francis & St Clare
Paradise Valley, Arizona
The commission was to create a 3/4-life size bronze sculpture of St. Francis and St. Clare depicting him in the final season of his life, sick and in need of physical care. The vision of the Franciscan community was that the sculpture would show St. Francis passing the mantle to St. Clare, and also that it would offer an invitation to the viewer to serve in the spirit of Franciscan spirituality. The sculpture was initially installed outdoors, and when the church building was completed, it was moved to the ambulatory near the "Sister Death" window created by artist Scott Parsons.
In this sculpture, St. Francis shows St. Clare his stigmata, demonstrating that a life identified with Christ is a call to suffer and to serve. Her posture and position reference Mary of Bethany, seated at the feet of Jesus. Visually, we recongnize that St. Francis was an image bearer who shared in the life and sufferings of Christ through the manger-like chair in which he sits, the bowl and towel at his feet, and the physical stigmata upon his hands. Inscribed inside the bowl are Jesus' words to the disciples as he washed their feet: "As I have done for you, so you should also do." (John 13:15) St. Francis points us to Christ and invites us to follow him.
Mark Joseph Costello was the liturgical design consultant on the design for the new Our Lady of the Angels Conventual Church. Norbert Zwickl was the committee chairperson fat the Franciscan Renewal Center.