Whatsoever You Do - The Work of Christian Sculptor Timothy Schmaltz

 From my facebook feed today......

This recently installed statue of a begging Jesus outside the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City attracts quite a bit of attention from passersby. The lifelike creation “calls our attention to the needy of our world,” according to Provincial Vicar Fr. Dominic Monti, who submitted the photo. If one kneels on the sidewalk and looks up inside the hood, the face of the beggar is revealed to be that of Jesus. The outstretched hand also bears the stigmata.

“The statue is very appropriate in this location, as every day St. Francis Breadline feeds hundreds lined up along this sidewalk,” Fr. Dominic said.

The name of this statue, created by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz, is “Whatsoever You Do.” 

Timothy's work conveys a powerful message and my post here for this Sunday also features another recent piece of sculpture shown below. (H/T To Fr. Austin Fleming for link.)

Apart from viewing Timothy's website here , as a follow up, I found a whole number of excellent recent short videos on his own You Tube site, where Timothy talks about the inspiration behind his work - the one below shows him at work on one of his early pieces of "The Homeless Jesus" that caused a rumpus when it was first displayed publicly a few months ago.

Despite the message of the sculpture of Jesus identifying with the poorest among us, it was rejected by two prominent Catholic churches, St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

“Homeless Jesus had no home,” says the artist, Timothy Schmalz, who specializes in religious sculpture. “How ironic.”

Rectors of both cathedrals were enthusiastic about the bronze piece and showed Schmalz possible locations, but higher-ups in the New York and Toronto archdiocese turned it down, he says.

“It was very upsetting because the rectors liked it, but when it got to the administration, people thought it might be too controversial or vague,” he says. He was told “it was not an appropriate image.”

The Toronto archdiocese tried to help him find an alternative location, including St. Augustine’s Seminary in Scarborough. But Schmalz, who describes his work as a visual prayer, wanted to reach a wider, secular audience. “I wanted not only the converted to see it, but also the marginalized. I almost gave up trying to find a place.”

Now the sculpture stands near Wellesley St. W., outside Regis College at the University of Toronto. It’s a Jesuit school of theology, where priests and lay people are trained, with an emphasis on social justice.

Bill Steinburg, communications manager for the Toronto archdiocese, says the decision not to accept the sculpture at St. Michael’s may have had to do with renovations at the cathedral and “partly to do with someone’s view of the art.”

To some who have seen it, it speaks the message of the Gospels. When theologian Thomas Reynolds came upon it he felt “the shock of recognition.” He quoted the biblical passage: “ … the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 

Click here to read the rest of a fine article

and a related post from my friend William Lindsey who wrote about the sculpture in his fine post here back in April titled " Homeless Jesus and Reflections on Gender"

The video below is of one my favourite Celtic saints, St Brendan.


Tim working on large sculpture of St. Brigid for Kildare Ireland and St. Stephen the Martyr for Church in AZ.

He also plans to erect a bronze statue of Saint Patrick, over 100 feet in height, at the top of Croagh Patrick, in Mayo. The idea is that the giant representation of the patron saint of Ireland will be a gift to the Irish people from the people of North America.

                                                    When You Visited Me In Prison

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