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sedmak

When a seminary professor takes his course on “art and prayer” to recovering addicts, he gets a lesson in the raw spiritual power of beauty.

This article appeared in our February 2004 issue. I was prepared for anything, any reaction at all. The caseworkers had made sure of that. It was my first visit to Recovery Works, a residence for addicts in the middle of Harlem. My audience was 15 men and women, all recovering addicts — heroin or crack, primarily — about half of whom had recently done hard time. Many were also schizophrenic or bipolar: in their words, double trouble. Not an easy crowd, no matter what your act. My assignment was to bring them “spirituality through art.” Id led this workshop in a number of parishes and seminaries, but in Harlem on this frigid February morning, the title “Art and Spirituality” sounded lofty, even laughable. Why We Don't Really See In the workshop, we look at works of art, then voice our responses. I’ve done this in many contexts, and have found some universal tendencies. Most people try to identify the subject matter, “what it’s supposed to be.” Many will try to label it — “This is impressionistic, isn’t it?” — and then try to interpret the image. Looking at a Renaissance …

The Rev. Clair McPherson, Ph.D., is a retreat leader, spiritual director, workshop leader, and parish priest. He has taught spirituality, history, and theology at colleges and seminaries for 30 years. He is the author of Understanding Faith, Grace at Tins Time, and Keeping Silence. 


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From the ArchivesArtArt TherapyArt HealingAddictionRecovery

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