Creative Encounters

The Seton Cove provides opportunities for participants to connect to the Divine through creative activities in these one night programs.

ONLINE: Carrying Grief: Charles Umlauf's Pieta in a Time of Pandemic

Mar 26 (F) 12-1:30p $35 (Pre-registration required.) Presented Virtually via Zoom
If you’ve ever wandered through the Umlauf Sculpture Garden in Austin, Texas, you may have noticed a 1945 work titled Pieta (meaning “compassion” in Italian).

Umlauf often took inspiration from sacred subjects, and, from the garden sidewalk, this particular Pieta presents a familiar rendering of the common theme: Mary, the grieving mother of Jesus, supporting the body of her murdered son. But if you step off the sidewalk and circle to the back of the sculpture, you discover a concealed third form: Mary Magdalene, beloved friend of Jesus, huddled against the public pair in a private grief of her own.

As it did in 1945, at the close of World War II, the world staggers today under the weight of a public, collective grief. At the same time, after months of isolation, each of us carries private griefs and burdens of our own. Umlauf’s sculpture is a powerful reminder that these seen and unseen griefs are intertwined — and that both deserve our compassionate attention and a tender response.

In this session, we will use a modified version of visio divina to contemplate this remarkable Pieta and to listen to its wisdom for us today. Art lovers (and wannabees), contemplatives, visual learners, and people who simply want to know more about Umlauf and his work — or, as Central Texans, feel that they should! — are especially encouraged to attend.

Claire Miller Colombo, Ph.D.

ONLINE: Compassionate Forgiveness

Mar 11 (Th) 12-1:30p $30 (Pre-registration required.) Presented virtually via Zoom
Forgiving can be a challenging experience, but if wholeheartedly engaged in, forgiveness can lead to benefits such as growth and self-knowledge. 

This class will explore the concepts of:
  • forgiveness,
  • self-forgiveness, and
  • self-compassion. 
Participants will learn about models of forgiveness and how the experience of self-compassion can be utilized in the process of forgiveness.

Dr. Awa Jangha

ONLINE: God's Image + Imagination: A Practical Workshop for Poetic Living and Flourishing

Feb 25, Mar 4 (Th) 12-1:30p $50 (Pre-registration required) Presented Virtually via Zoom
The great creation poem that begins the book of Genesis culminates with the revelation that human beings are created “in god’s image.” Mystics and poets throughout history have witnessed to an existence that both transcends, and is woven into, this one — and affirm that we have the potential of accessing it in this life, here and now. This two-part class offers a framework for how to do so. 

It begins by exploring the meaningful connection that exists between our being made in god’s image, and being endowed with imagination — specifically, through the lens of poetry (a word, from poiesis, that means ‘doing or making’) and theopoetics (ways of “making God [present]”). Through contemplation and close-readings of poems, we will consider the array of insights opened up by the crucial truth that the imagination is not only a means of creativity, but also our faculty for hope and empathy. Through guided writing exercises, we will draw on our innate powers of imagination to begin living from an awareness of our identity as rooted in god’s image, and then cultivate methods for integrating that life-giving insight into our work, relationships and lives.

Rev. Travis Helms, PhD