St Francis carving from Guatemala

A Prayer for Peace – St. Francis of Assisi

St Francis with animalsSt. Francis has long been one of my favorite figures represented in folk art.  The little carving above came from Guatemala, given to me by a friend many years ago.  He is the patron saint of ecology and is usually depicted with birds and wild animals surrounding him.  He was from a wealthy family who despised him when he renounced his family name and took a vow of poverty.  Life as a soldier woke him up and he turned towards a life of service for the poor and for Nature.  His story.

War is on my mind.  The invasion of Ukraine was such a shock, so unexpected and now we have the awful assault on Israel by Hamas and Israel’s retaliation on Palestinians.  Will it ever end?  Ukraine is now the most mined country on earth. Palestinians face annihilation.

Religion is on my mind.  So much of the world’s suffering is caused by fanatic crusaders willing to give up everything in exchange of imposing their world view on others. I grew up in Brazil (1962-1980) during a military dictatorship which woke up my interest in how religion affects society and led to a firm belief in the separation of Church and State. These fanatics now threaten the process of democracy in the United States.

I have no solutions.  I can only look at my heritage and my understanding of what I believe in and try my best to live in that framework.  I am a Christian who believes that we are called to protect the earth, the creatures living in it, the plants that grow on it, the air we breathe, the waters of the rivers and the seas….  This means working for social and economic justice and like St. Francis, having empathy and compassion for all of life.  I do not see most Christians caring about this type of life anymore. The behavior I see on social media, in Congress and from church leaders in the name of Christ do not match up with what I was taught as a child.

Several years ago (1980’s) I read a book about religious wars that were happening around the world and it was horrific!   The two biggest offenders were Christians and Muslims, but even Buddhists and Hindus were slaughtering each other.  And, yet, this is supposedly the most peaceful time we are living in history.

The big irony, in my book, is that while humans destroy each other because of land, identity, and power, Nature is having her day with us. We have been warned by fires, floods, earthquakes, the melting of the poles, the shifting of the earth’s axis, by the death toll of so many animal, bird and plant species, that if we do not drastically change our ways, there will be no green planet whirling through space.  We are too sick, too scared, too set in our ways to care.  During the shutdown when covid hit, Delhi saw the sky, the mountain ranges in the horizon, for the first time in decades. Young people had never seen it!  They were in awe.  Did that lead to change?  No. When the lockdowns ended, they went back to polluted skies.

I find my solace, my joy, in working with people who are creative.  Artizan Made is about fine craft skills, functional art. But, music, dance, theater, cooking, gardening and all of these human expressions make the world a beautiful and interesting place to live. In thinking about our dark side, I want to lift up our contributions towards beauty, community and healing.  There is a prayer of peace, attributed to St. Francis, and then there is the art that comes from places that are threatened by violence.

Prayer of St. Francis

Though attributed to him, experts now name Father Esther Bouquerel as the likely author. You can read about it on Wikipedia.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


One does not have to be a Christian to appreciate these words.  All of the major religions have at their core, the “loss of self”.  That does not mean that we must erase ourselves, but it does mean that by giving, we benefit tremendously in our growth and enjoyment of life. In fact, much of the social distress we see these days comes from people buying into the need for public acceptance and approval in how they look, what they have, and what they achieve. If they let go of these expectations, they find freedom to see what is around them.

Here is a beautiful rendition in Portuguese by one of the Brazilian musicians I grew up with, Fagner. The performance was for a Christmas celebration.



When I was looking around for ideas on this post, I also found another video where a priest talks about St. Francis and his path. One thing he said really struck me, that St. Francis was the first theologian to understand that all of earth needs protection and that we are its partners and caretakers.  The way he said it reminded me of how Native American spirituality sees the earth.  St. Francis lived hundreds of years before Europeans had contact with the Americas and yet he went deep enough into his love of creation that he connected to that core truth.



Artizan Made Hot Spots

We have several members who live in dangerous places and I hold them in my heart and would like you to share their stories and their work with your people. All of them are so talented and our support truly allows them have better life chances. I could include the United States in that list as we have a war of sorts happening here, too.  We are averaging two mass shootings a day here along with many other hate crimes and injustices.  But, most of us are still able to enjoy our freedoms.

Click on the images to see their profiles here on Artizan Made. That will give you their stories and their links:



Afghan Tribal Arts - beads, textiles, rugs, vintage crafts, tribal jewelry
Afghan Tribal Arts – beads, textiles, rugs, vintage crafts, tribal jewelry

Abdul lives in the United States but is in contact with family and friends in Afghanistan.  He recently visited the ancestral land where his father was born.  The structure held a great number of families at one time, but most of it has been destroyed by bombs. The land surrounding it is stunning!



Mayamam Weavers
Mayamam Weavers


Rejina and Ana in Guatemala - Unique Batik
Rejina and Ana in Guatemala – Unique Batik


Art of Felting - Daria Lvovsky - needle felted creatures
Art of Felting – Daria Lvovsky – needle felted creatures


Laura Lee Burch - Painter and Needle Felt Artist, refugee work volunteer
Laura Lee Burch – Painter and Needle Felt Artist, refugee work volunteer


ShellyClayspot - Shelly Orkun - Ceramic artist
ShellyClayspot – Shelly Orkun – Ceramic artist



Juliana Meehan, Pax Rwanda Curator, Rutongo Embroideries
Juliana Meehan, Pax Rwanda Curator, Rutongo Embroideries. The women survived the massacre between Hutus and Tutsis



Bone Carving Art - Viking Designs
Bone Carving Art – Roman is an exceptional carver.


Olena Vikarunova of FeltUA - Lviv, Ukraine
Olena Vikarunova of FeltUA – Nuno felt artist

Marta Porada - Lviv, Ukraine
Marta Porada Craft – Textile arts


Peace on Earth!


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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

November 5, 2023 at 8:44 pm

Thanks for “lifting up our contributions towards beauty, community and healing”! We need more of this.

I really love the Ukrainian bone-carving and Israeli pottery. It’s an inspiring level of craftsmanship.

Rachel Bielreply
November 5, 2023 at 8:55 pm
– In reply to: Adam

Thank you, Adam! I am in awe of and inspired by this group daily.

November 6, 2023 at 10:44 am

In church yesterday, the pastor said that the number of persecuted Christians in the world equals the population number of the US. He said something like 16 Christians are killed per day for their faith. So many people are suffering around the world. It makes the heart very heavy. We can do our best, wherever we are, to love and serve o e another.

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