Lauren Skurla, a Nursing major at Neumann University, has won second place in a national art contest sponsored by the Franciscan Action Network. She will receive a $250 prize and her art will be displayed at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., from Jan. 11-27.
Submissions had to reflect a theme related to Saints Francis or Clare of Assisi and be no larger than 27 by 39 inches. There were 56 entries from across the country.
“I created a mixed media piece that tells the story of St. Francis and the leper,” said Lauren, a Lincoln University native and graduate of Avon Grove High School. “I think that the compassion St. Francis exhibited in caring for the leper is similar to the compassion that nurses show in caring for the sick. I see a real connection between the Franciscan tradition, the profession of nursing, and the values of Neumann University.”
The story of St. Francis and the leper begins with the detail that, in his youth, Francis was terrified of lepers. As a young man, he used to run away from them at the mere tinkling of the bell they were forced to ring as they walked down the street.
Shortly after his conversion, however, he heard the bell that announced the coming of a leper, and instead of running away, he walked up to the leper, embraced him, and kissed him. In that moment, he found that the object of his fear was not a monster, but a man.
“The Franciscan Action Network art contest is a FANtastic opportunity to showcase the artistic talent of Neumann students in a setting outside the university,” said Glenn Holmstrom, an art professor at Neumann. “The contest presented students the opportunity to learn something about the life of St. Francis while engaging in the making of art.”