05 Nov New Icon for St. Paul Mission Church
A new icon of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, created especially for St. Paul Mission Church in Hays, was blessed and dedicated last Sunday. The artist is Elizabeth Stefanick Zelasko of Fort Collins, CO. Elizabeth studied fine art at The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan before attending the Prosopon School of Iconology where she studied traditional Russian Orthodox iconography. She moved to Denver to finish her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, graduating as valedictorian of her class.
The icon features a stunning image of St. Kateri, surrounded by a border of traditional braided sweetgrass, above an image of Snake Butte, a prominent landmark on the Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation. Below, Dan Williams, a parishioner and braider of sweetgrass, purifies and blesses the icon with the sweet-smelling smoke.
After it was blessed, parishioners venerated the icon.
In the art of iconography, the iconographer begins each work with this prayer:
O Divine Lord of all that exists, Thou hast illumined the Apostle and Evangelist Luke with Thy Holy Spirit, thereby enabling him to represent Thy most Holy Mother, the One who held Thee in her arms and said: The Grace of Him Who has been born of me is spread through the world!
Enlighten and direct my soul, my heart and my spirit. Guide the hands of Thine unworthy servant so that I may worthily and perfectly portray Thine Icon, that of Thy Mother, and all the Saints, for the glory, joy and adornment of Thy Holy Church.
Forgive my sins and the sins of those who will venerate these icons and who, kneeling devoutly before them, give homage to those they represent.
Protect them from all evil and instruct them with good counsel. This I ask through the intercession of Thy most Holy Mother, the Apostle Luke, and all the Saints. Amen.
A video on the meticulous process of writing an icon can be viewed here.
We are very lucky to have such a beautiful image at our church. St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks, pray for us!