Art to Celebrate Laudato Si’

Justice is an important part of caring for creation. God tasked Adam with caring for all of the creatures of Earth, including Eve and his other brothers and sisters.

In her painting “Two Rivers of Fire,” Sr. Thoma Swanson shows two columns of orange, yellow, and red flames as they close in on black-and-white drawings of countless men, women, and children An Arabic prayer above and below the image translates to, “May the people of Iraq have peace at last.”

“May the people of Iraq have peace at last.” by Sister Thoma Swanson, excerpted from Columbus Alive – Joel Oliphint, Associate Editor


                                            A PRAYER FOR JUSTICE
                      Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.
                     It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in
                     Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love
                     and with the desire to ensure justice for all.
                     By sharing the good things you give us,
                     may we secure an equality for all
                     our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
                    May there be an end to division, strife and war.
                    May there be a dawning of a truly human society built on love and peace.
                                                               We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.


Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Sharing the mantle of peace-building

Reflection by Sr.Annie Killian, who will make her Temporary Profession this weekend.

This Sunday (June 26, 2022), the Thirteenth in Ordinary Time, we read of the prophet Elijah throwing his cloak over Elisha, whom he will anoint as prophet to succeed him (1 Kings 19: 19-21). The prophetic mantle offers a beautiful image for reflecting on the Pax Christi Young Adult Caucus’ 2022 retreat, “Building Paths of Peace Together.” On June 10-12, 14 peacemakers in our 20s and 30s traveled from 10 states to gather at the Stuart Center in Washington, D.C. The retreat, five years in the making, was a joyful time for prayer, collective action, and building community.

four people sitting in a circle talking

A highlight of the weekend was the intergenerational dialogue on Saturday morning. Ten members of Pax Christi USA from the D.C. area joined the retreatants for a conversation about our joys, challenges and hopes as nonviolent peacemakers. Over half of the young adult participants only discovered Pax Christi in the past two years over Zoom, so this was the first opportunity for most of us to meet in person and connect with the larger Catholic peace movement. What a gift to dialogue with the folks whose mantles we are taking up. Their decades of justice work and prophetic witness are our inheritance.

You’ll notice in the Sunday reading that Elijah throws his mantle over Elisha, but he doesn’t yet relinquish it. Instead, the veteran prophet and the newly appointed one spend time together, partnering in works of mighty deeds. This partnership was not only for Elisha’s benefit; Elijah, too, received grace through their companionship. Remember, Elijah had been on the verge of despair when he sought God on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19: 14). Fearing for his life, he wanted to be released from his divine mandate. Instead, God assigned a few more tasks – and also selected for him a helper. Bringing Elisha into the work reenergized Elijah and strengthened his fidelity.

Participants at the June 2022 PCYAC retreat

I hope that the Young Adult Caucus, by building intergenerational partnerships with longtime Pax Christi folks, will help to revitalize the movement. I value the wisdom of those who have long been laboring for just peace in our world. We millennials and Gen Zers need that perspective as we discern what nonviolent witness means for our generation. We, in turn, bring the kind of passion and energy that motivates Elisha’s response. With reckless abandon, he slaughters all his oxen and throws a farewell feast so that he can go all in with Elijah and not look back.

As Pax Christi USA celebrates 50 years, I give thanks for this sacred time we now have to share the mantle of peace-building and accompany one another on the way of nonviolence.

After the intergenerational session in the morning, most of the participants attended the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. Click here to visit Pax Christi USA’s Flickr feed to see photos from the June 11 event.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Art to Celebrate Laudato Si’

Some of  SIster Thoma Swanson’s pieces are directly inspired by scripture, such as “Tears for Aaron, Rain on the Green Mountain,” a large acrylic painting referencing the weeping of Aaron, brother of Moses.

“As I read the Psalms, I saw that mountain with the tears coming down, and it struck me. It was this image of the tears of a man that were so plentiful, so huge – this huge burst of tears that could run down a mountain.”

Sr. Thoma Swanson, OP

“Tears for Aaron, Rain on the Green Mountain by Sister Thoma Swanson, OP, excerpted from Columbus Alive – Joel Oliphint, Associate Editor


God of Justice,
Open our eyes to see you in the face of the poor.
Open our ears to hear you in the cries of the exploited.
Open our mouths to defend you in the public squares
As well as in private deeds.
Remind us that what we do
To the least ones, we do to you.
Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Art to Celebrate Laudato Si’

Sr. Thomas Swanson, OP, has created many works inspired by God’s creation. We include several of her works in honor of Laudato Si’.

The beauty of Peru’s rivers, lakes and mountains led Sr. Thoma to paint the natural world, which is intimately connected to her faith.

“Who could paint those mountains, who could paint the ocean, without marveling at its source, at its creation? There is a strong pull as I paint creation and the natural world. It’s the work of God’s hands, and he gave me the gift [of art], and I’m happy to have that gift. I love it.”

Sr. Thoma Swanson, OP

Vilcanota by Sister Thoma Swanson, OP, excerpted from Columbus Alive – Joel Oliphint, Associate Editor
                       Prayer to God to take care of the Earth.


Let them his praise abundant show.
O praise God, O praise God, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.    Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.
Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures.
Founded on the covenant of your love. we share with your creation.
With all the colors and fragrances.
Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Prayer for the Laudato Si’ Action Platform

Creator, we are embarking on a journey
towards greater love for You,
our brothers and sisters, and Your creation.

Holy Spirit, we humbly ask that You guide us on our journey,
that You bring us Your illuminating and warming fire
as we seek to discern and respond to Your will.

Redeemer, we thank You
for the new hope that unites us with all those
who are healing their relationships with God,
creation, and the human family.

We pray for commitment and unity
as we live out an integral ecology
to protect all life on earth.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog