Living Godward Collage

Corinne Ware Memorial (transparent small)

In Memory of Dr. Corinne Ware

The art piece, Living Godward, honors the life and ministry of Dr. Corinne Ware. The overall design is the Celtic Threefold: a symbol of female power. A woman of strong intellect and resourcefulness, Dr. Ware brought the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest a program that offered a class in Celtic Spirituality. The class made a deep impact on this piece’s creator. The Holy Spirit, represented by a dove, powers the Threefold from the symbol’s hub. The Holy Spirit was crucial to Dr. Ware’s theology and to the practice of spiritual direction to which she was committed.

From the hub spiral three arms. The left arm depicts a planting scene inspired by Dr. Ware’s explication of the “Parable of the Soils” in her book, St. Benedict on the Freeway: A Rule for Life for the 21st Century (16-17). Each of the four soils—hard trodden, rocky, weed-ridden, and good—is depicted. Bluebonnets grow from the good soil, reminiscent of Dr. Ware’s love for and contributions to the state of Texas. The four seeds also represent the four spiritual types, which Dr. Ware explored for her doctoral work and which she later published as a book (Discover Your Spiritual Type: A Guide to Individual and Congregational Growth).

The right spiral depicts a basin and towel. Midwifery, a spiritual direction metaphor explored in Dr. Ware’s spiritual direction course, employs these elements (Guenther, Holy Listening 81-108). The basin and towel represent also the daily practice of servanthood advocated by St. Benedict of Nursia and lived out by Dr. Ware. The elements and the setting are, therefore, earthy, homey, and grounded.

The top circle represents St. Benedict on the Freeway ’s theme: a recollected life is possible even on today’s frantic freeway. The wide thoroughfare also depicts Dr. Ware’s concept of “living Godward”: a spacious metaphor for the life of faith. Those who turn their eyes and life intentions Godward, have before them a range of journey choices. The spirals encircling the Threefold whimsically lift off the page, a tribute to Dr. Ware’s quirky sense of humor.

Through the black oversheet, the viewer glimpses spurts of color that promise more beneath. Such is the mystery of God (apophatic theology): much remains beyond our knowing, but at the heart of the enigma is Love (kataphatic theology) drawing us, even with all our unanswered questions, Godward. The darkness is holy, potent, and filled with possibility.

Above all, the piece expresses deepest gratitude for a woman of wisdom, compassion, creativity, astuteness, and wit who lived a daily, real faith— and by example challenged us to do the same.

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