When John and I traveled to Assisi in 2019 to participate in a pilgrimage that started our sabbatical year, I went to encounter Francis more deeply. That did happen, but the holy surprise was encountering Clare, who I didn’t know as much about, and falling in love with her contemplative spirit. She was Francis’ treasured companion and she also struggled with poor health and has companioned me through my ongoing fatigue from chronic illness.
Then as the pandemic began, like many people I found tremendous wisdom, solace, and inspiration in Julian of Norwich, the patron saint of lockdowns and compassionate retreating during times of plague. I began to see my home as my own anchorhold and she was significant in helping me to fall even more in love with where I am right now. (I am leading an online mini-retreat for her feast day May 13th with Mary Sharratt!)
So I felt inspired to ask our wonderful Abbey artist Marcy Hall of Rabbit Room Arts to paint two new dancing monk icons, one for each of these powerful and wise women. You can see a preview here, the originals are on their way to me in Ireland. Marcy is making them available as prints for those interested. We will have to find a way to create some cards for those of you who want to add them to your dancing monk icon card sets. In the meantime, enjoy their vibrant, dancing presence!