Cathedral Plaza Iconic Image of Cuba

October 23, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

With the changes in US policy towards Cuba, there’s been a growing interest in travel to the previously off-limits country. Though traditional tourism is still prohibited, there are twelve categories of travel that are now allowed. Those include: official business of the government or certain intergovernmental organizations, journalistic activity, professional research and meetings, educational ... Read More

Historic Preservation / Sacred Symbols

Dallas Still Conflicted About LBJ's Oath of Office

October 21, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A news story out of Dallas illustrates what can happen when a memorial for a pivotal event is important to some people, but others may feel differently. You would think that the impetus for placing the memorial would spark a moment of exchange to identify lingering issues and resolve conflicting feelings. But you might just as likely see people take the other approach and do everything possible ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Sacred Symbols

Ready for Dia de los Muertos at Metz Elementary

October 20, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

While the rest of the US is preparing for Halloween, in states like Texas that share boarders with our neighbor to the South, preparations also begin for Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Colorful artwork and festive decorations incorporate macabre images of skulls, skeletons, coffins, and other images of death. November 1, or the Catholic feast of All Saints Day, and the following All ... Read More

Austin / Liturgical Arts / Sacred Symbols

Ancient Egyptian Goddess is Original Isis

October 19, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Way back, centuries before Christ, the Egyptians worshipped a number of gods and goddesses, but few were as revered or as powerful as the goddess Isis. She was the wife of Osiris, the king and her son Horus was the god of the sun and the moon. According to the Britannica website, Isis came to represent the maternal power of women, protecting her son in the wilderness, and defending and avenging ... Read More

Sacred Symbols / Religious

Monastic Brew Evangelization

October 18, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Monks have been brewing beers and distilling spirits for centuries. Though connections between the spiritual and the spirits may seem odd, cloistered communities were well suited to cultivating refined liqueurs and other beverages. As promoted by the Rule of Saint Benedict, each monastery was to be self sufficient, to use the work of the order as “tools for good work.” With the care and ... Read More

Sacred Symbols / Religious

How Gandhi and Our Lady Became Soulmates in East Austin

October 16, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

On the outside wall of a convenience store on Cesar Chavez Street in East Austin, two iconic saintly figures reflect on their surroundings, literally. A mosaic rendered from pieces of broken mirror forms the huge face of Mahatma Gandhi. Around the corner, a similarly rendered mosaic forms the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Both these figures are strongly associated with national and spiritual ... Read More

Austin / Liturgical Arts / Sacred Symbols / Religious

Birth of the Spirituals - Richmond Barthé

October 14, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

On a recent visit to the San Antonio Museum of Art, this piece in the Contemporary American Art wing took me completely by surprise. The piece is sitting on a plinth about waist high, right behind the glass elevator. It would be easy to overlook but for the intensity and power of the subject. I knew nothing of the piece, and vaguely recalled the name of the artist, Richmond Barthé, but the ... Read More

Liturgical Arts / Sacred Symbols / Religious

Retablo at SAMA is Colonial Era High Art

October 10, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A remarkable wing in the San Antonio Museum of Art is devoted to the art and arts of the Spanish Colonial era in Latin America. The exhibits are part of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art, which contains one of the most comprehensive collections in the United States. Considering the significance of the Church in the colonial society, much of the collection references faith or ... Read More

Liturgical Arts / Sacred Symbols

San Antonio’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial

October 07, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

A jarring scene of death and agony is the central feature of an otherwise simple public plaza a few blocks away from the major tourist sites in downtown San Antonio. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial depicts a battle scene. Though there’s a long tradition of statuary showing soldiers in proudly engaged in conflict, the emotion captured here is agony and terror. Two larger than life figures are ... Read More

Memorial / Sacred Symbols

Our Lady Appears on Seventh Street

October 05, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

There’s a new siting of Our Lady of Guadalupe in East Austin. I spotted her in her newest location on East 7th Street several weeks ago so this morning, in need of coffee and a breakfast taco, it was time to take a closer look. The owners of the popular El Chile restaurants pioneered a fast Tex-Mex walk-up restaurant called El Chilito. The high quality but informal concept started with a ... Read More

Sacred Symbols