John August Swanson died on September 23, 2021, after having spent his final weeks in hospice care. On that day the world lost one of the great Catholic artists of our time. It is our sincere honor to present his Pentecost as this month’s cover image.
Mr. Swanson studied lettering and printmaking with Corita Kent in the 1960s, discovering at that time the power of art to impact the world, to make it a better place. His art is elaborate, brimming with details, exploding with bright, saturated colors—most likely an influence of his mother’s native Mexico and its muralists of the twentieth century. Swanson’s images have appeared on our covers and in our pages numerous times over the years, and his work is held in many of the world’s permanent collections of distinction—the Vatican Museums, three of the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery, and many more.
Of his Pentecost image, Swanson wrote: “In my image of Pentecost, I see the Spirit of God, re-energizing all people and bringing us together to work for peace, to heal the Earth, and to honor the diversity of our life’s journey.” This month’s cover features the central portion of the full painting, which also includes an ornamented border, along with the text describing the Pentecost event in Acts 2:2-4. Let us take time to ponder God’s work in the Holy Spirit, and to meditate on Mr. Swanson’s vision of a world re-energized in which all people work together for peace.
Visit www.JohnAugustSwanson.com to see the full Pentecost image and to learn more about Mr. Swanson’s life and work.
—Br. Ælred Senna