Currently taking shape in Campus Ministry is a life-size triptych icon. The mural, based on the story of Saint Francis meeting the sultan, is a project led by junior Claire Thompson and senior Holly Champagne. The duo has worked diligently, with the help of a few others, to sketch and paint the icon on the wall in Oldenburg Hall.
“I joined the project because I really see the value of art, and I love to see how it impacts other people’s lives. To me, art is so powerful, and it communicates so much meaning to every single person because it is so integrated into every culture,” Thompson said.
While Thompson and Champagne designed the icon, they designated two days during the fall semester for anyone on campus to come and help paint.
“This will start to open the doors for more student involvement in what the campus looks like,” Champagne said.
Although other students on campus offered helping hands, the project has been quite a difficult task to complete.
“Not many college students at a Catholic university set out to write an icon. Plus, the size of it makes it even more unique. They’ve done a fantastic job with the project, and when it’s finished, it is certain to become a treasured religious icon on campus,” Mark Erdosy, director of church relations and San Damiano Scholars Program, said.
Knowing Thompson and Champange wanted to paint a mural on campus, Erdosy suggested the subject be Saint Francis and the sultan. Saint Francis met with Sultan Malek al-Kamil, and after attempts to convert one another, they had an open dialogue about their differing beliefs.
“My hope for the message is that people will stop and think for a minute,” Champagne said. “That opened doors to say we’re different, but also I respect and value what you believe because it’s similar to what I believe. That was a big turning point for open dialogue, especially with religion.”