Today October 18th is the Feast Day of St. Luke the Evangelist, patron saint of physicians and artists. And so I pay special homage to him with this wood sculpture.
Artistically I have tried through composition and subject matter to place St. Luke in the center of his mission. I have also attempted, in the style of this wood carving, to give a feeling of the harmony brought to him through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Luke was St. Paul’s companion and biographer and author of Acts of the Apostles, a continuation of his gospel. A gentile from Syria of Greek lineage (as indicated by the style of his hair and garments), he is juxtaposed to the winged ox, symbol of sacrifice, patient servitude and strength, and to the Parable of the Sower from his gospel (Lk 8:4-9)
The tempestuous backdrop witnesses to his shipwreck with Paul (Acts 27:13-42) and the many trials and tribulations he experienced struggling to keep pace with him on his missionary journeys. Luke holds his written witness in a book (gospel) that looks much like we might perceive a paperback because of the dynamics of his perilous travels with Paul.
Luke “studied the life and words of Jesus with utmost care, knew and relied upon witnesses to the actual events–including Mary and St. John–and devoted some time to speaking with the women who had traveled with Jesus. The Gospel [of Luke] is thus especially notable for the respect and attention it pays to women in the Church, in contrast to the role of women both in Jewish and pagan society…Luke stresses the mercy of God, documenting the merciful acts of Christ…Luke also devoted much attention–more than his fellow evangelists–to the interior life of prayer…” (OSV’s Encyclopedia of Catholic History, by Matthew Bunson, D.Min.)
This high relief wood sculpture (12-inches x 33-inches x 3-inches) is one of the six saints carved by A.Vonn Hartung for the Ambo of St. Paul’s Church in Pensacola, Florida, commissioned by Pastor Doug Halsema through Liturgical Consultant Dr. Steven Schloeder of Liturgical Environs.
The saints are all directed towards the center of the Ambo, as though they are again listening to and reliving the truth and reality of Christ Jesus, that because of them and through them the gift of the Holy Spirit continues to live in us in the Liturgy of the Word.