Sculptures: A Workman’s Parable
Sister Mona Brunner, FSE, with the help of local friends, designed numerous sculptures which adorn the gardens of the desert landscape at the Family Life Center in Pocatello, Idaho. The following is a display of the various works of art that were transformed by the creative hand of Sister Mona.
Each of the sculptures is constructed from abandoned pieces of scraped iron or steel. For some of us, these pieces of machinery may have been part of our everyday work experiences. They exemplify a lived capacity to persevere through “hard knocks,” and have now been brought to the point of no longer being able to serve their original, functional purpose. Now as a creative structure in a relaxed but exalted stance, like any parable, they can open us to a transcendent hidden truth and release the divine light that shines through in the everyday things of this world.
The pipe segments of various sizes that form this sculpture were originally used as gauges in the fabrication of hundreds of hardwood blocks or saddles to be integrated in the construction of a catalytic cracking plant at a nearby oil refinery.
Now these pipes segments assume a restful position, cradled on a sculptured pedestal. The beauty of the sculpture is reflected in the relationship of the concentric circles, one to the other. It can invite us to reflect upon the Church as a community of communities. Just as the concentric circles increase by extending outward, so we are reminded of our call to extend His message to the ends of the world.
The two grain augers standing upright speak to us of the mystery of matrimony. Just as theses augers at one time were used in elevating grain to the proper holding bin, they can remind parents of a call by God from the beginning to “raise up” progeny (the seed of Abraham), to be gathered up by God in His Granary.
The small structure in the foreground, which serves as a monstrance, symbolizes the fruitfulness of spousal love which images the infinite fruitfulness of God’s Love for each of us.
This sculpture consists of two plows designed to be permanently bonded to a specific kind of work. The plows are oriented toward each other in such a manner as to enable to operator to turn the soil over either to the right or to the left as he is plowing. The farmer can begin to plow one row at the edge of the field, make a 180 degree turn at the other end, tilt the mechanism, and proceed in the opposite direction.
Knowing the original purpose of this double plow mechanism, one can imagine one of the plows alternating with the other in doing the work while simultaneously carrying the other. The sculpture therefore, symbolizes the mystery of complementarity and mutual support as reflected in the relationship of brothers and sisters in the Church.
This double plow which serves as a sculpture is oriented so that it points upwards or “heavenward.” On the top of the main hitch is a different piece of machinery called a tri-union whose design speaks clearly of a monstrance. This machine part indeed serves as a monstrance during occasional Eucharistic Processions on the land each year.
The two fountains that grace the entrance to the chapel are constructed from well drilling pieces donated by a neighboring well driller.
The upper portion (the well drilling bit) of the two fountains is similar in design. The well drilling head is comprised of three individual bits, each grooved in relation to the other, each distinct, each doing its own work, but functioning as one in the common work of drilling.
The larger one speaks to us of the Trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in their own outpouring labor of Love and devotedness to each and every individual creature. Hence, the Psalmist was prompted to exclaim, “God is the Fountain and Source of our Salvation.”
The smaller fountain on the right, patterned in the image of the larger, impels us, His creatures, to live the same Trinitarian dynamic, each contributing his unique gift to the common work of building up the Body of Christ by an outpouring of love for our brethren.
Three massive steel verticals, whose original function has yet to be discovered, comprise this sculpture. They serve perfectly for centering six tubular wind chimes, each a specific length, to give a harmonious ring as they sway in response to the wind.
As wind chimes, they ring only in unison with providence and have therefore been named Kairos Chimes. Kairos, a Greek word for time, is a mystical or liturgical reading of time. Accordingly, a Kairos moment is a moment of encounter with the transforming presence of God.
We pray that we may have ears to hear and the will to respond at the time of His Divine Visitation.
Bell Brother Rufino
The Brother Rufino Bell is one of four bells placed in 1975 on the land of four major centers: the Brother Leo bell is found at the Meriden center; the Brother Masseo bell was placed at the Lowell center; the location of the Brother Angelo bell is the Bridal Veil center, and the Brother Rufino bell stands at the Pocatello center. These bells were named for four of Saint Francis’ first followers, all of whom are buried around Saint Francis in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.