On our recent bike tour of Detroit we stopped at the Solanus Casey Center and walked through this grouping of statues of men and women who personify each of the eight beatitudes from the book of Matthew in the Bible.
Takashi Nagai was chosen for the beatitude Blessed are the meek. A Japanese doctor injured during the bombing of Nagasaki he cared tirelessly for other victims and worked towards forgiveness and reconciliation through the establishment of a prayer house, the writing of a book and the planting of thousands of cherry trees to help reclaim the devastated landscape.
Clement Kern is a Detroit pastor who is an example of Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice. He opened his church to alcoholics, gays and lesbians, social protesters, the unemployed and the homeless and became a vocal advocate for them.
My husband Dave poses with Martin Luther King chosen for Blessed are the peacemakers. The key game-changer in the fight for civil rights in the United States, King was an advocate of peaceful protest rather than violence.
Jean Donovan represents Blessed are those that mourn. As a missionary, she comforted those who mourned after their family members died at the hands of death squads in El Salvador. She distributed food and clothing but was most known for her huge smile and sense of fun. She was murdered by one of the death squads herself.
Blessed are the pure of heart is exemplified by Catherine de Hueck Doherty a Russian Baroness who opened shelters for the homeless in Toronto, Harlem and Combermere, Ontario and started Madonna House a place where people could meet God through prayer, fasting and solitude.
Oscar Romero is the personification of Blessed are the persecuted. An archbishop in El Salvador he was assassinated shortly after giving a sermon one Sunday because he advocated for the poor and those whose human rights were being violated in his country.
Dorothy Day is the example for Blessed are the pure in spirit. She fought for social justice as a reformer, writer and speaker. She was jailed after protesting the lack of voting rights for women and thanks to her efforts more than 200 communities dedicated to helping the poor and homeless around the world are still in operation today.
Who would you choose to personify each of the Beatitudes?
Other posts about public art in Detroit……….