A Great Cloud of Witnesses: Ancient Stories, Ordinary Saints


  1. Our Lady of the Journey: Water

"Our Lady of the Journey" was inspired by a trip to the St. Ines mission while visiting our dear friend Jeff and the Novices of the Franciscan Novitiate community in California. Tucked behind a corner is a tiny statue called " La Pereguina" or "The Pilgrim". The date it was created and artist are unknown, however the community called it 'Our Lady of the journey' It got me thinking about all of the women in the world on a journey. The millions of Refugees fleeing Ukraine because of a senseless war, young women walking miles upon miles for drinking water, Mother's trying to find shelter and a better life for their families. Just as Mary did 2,000 years ago. The gospel imagery of the Mother Hen isn’t used enough. These women are signs of protection, strength, hope and love, and the beauty of Motherhood.


The Symbols at the top of the icon, and in most icons of Mary are Greek abbreviation for “ Mary the Mother of God” Instead of painting the entire text, these abbreviations gave the early iconographers a  helpful shorthand for Mary and Jesus.


  1. Mary: Love Forever Being Born

An Image depcicting Mary pregnant with Jesus, this icon was inspired by this poem by Sr. Ilia Delio shared by our dear friend Br. Jeff Macnab OFM  1 day  before he passed on Christmas Day 2022.

"What do the stars say?

The light that meets our eyes after millions of years summons us to look beyond.

The dark that hovers over us is filled with light.

That underneath the appearance of the stable heavens is the bubbling energy of the universe.

We are forming, forming, forming and nothing can stop us.

There is a palpable power of attraction, pulling us toward we-no-not-where.

Love alone is the guide of the universe and the whole universe is in the human heart.

Tend to the heart and the power of love will name itself as God."


  1. Ruth and Naomi

            "Where you go I will go.."

Commissioned by my best friend Paul Clever in honor of his two wonderful girls with the same names.


"Ruth embodies the three classic biblical categories of the vulnerable person; she is widow, sojourner, and orphan-by-choice, having left her birth family to accompany Naomi to a foreign land, a small rural town (Bethlehem) where a Moabite woman would be viewed with suspicion. She is a model for me of someone who crosses borders for the sake of life — borders both literal and figurative, as she acts in unconventional and selfless ways to create a new community out of a situation of profound loss." ~ Dr. Ellen Davis


  1. Our Lady of Guadalupe

Said to be “The first great icon of the Americas” In this version we decided to have Mary’s glowing beams of light contrasted against the sparkling stars before sunrise.


  1. The Prodigal Son

“I now see that the hands that forgive, console, heal, and offer a festive meal must become my own.” ~Henri Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son


  1. Mother of God: Protectress of the Oppressed

Russian Christians for centuries have called Mary the Protectress of the Oppressed. Mary here is depicted as one of the many asylum seekers placed in cages along the U.S. / Mexico border. Her Mantle is a Mylar blanket. Christ’s halo has the Greek letters in his halo which translate to “ I am the one who exists”.


  1. Tent City Nativity


“Jesus was born in a makeshift shelter, too—


A place not really meant for human dwelling—


And yet it was there that he met us, in the lowliest refuge.


Two thousand years later, it’s good to remember


That Christ is still being born, here and now,


Most especially in places we’d rather not go,


Places from which we’d rather look away.


God of illumination and incarnation,


Open not only our eyes, but our hearts,


That we may open, too, our hands And make generous offerings of love,


As your holy light reflects from nylon tent flaps,


Your holy song rises from a crackling campfire,


Lit against the cold, against the night.




Prayer Written by Cameron Bellm


  1. Our Lady of the Journey: Mothers

Inspired by the work of Käthe Kollwitz and third icon in a series of images with the same name

  1. Holy Family of the Streets

This icon depicts the Holy Family as an unhoused family on the streets under an overpass. For many icons I’ve tried to take the metaphors, symbols, and forms from traditional iconography and carry them into the present in such a way where they are made new. Where is Christ here and now? Go walk around your neighborhood and you will probably find him.

  1. Homeless Christ

“Jesus himself has defined humanity's liberation in the context of what happens to the little ones. Christians join the cause of the oppressed in the fight for justice not because of some philosophical principle of "the Good" or because of a religious feeling of sympathy for people in prison. Sympathy does not change the structures of injustice. The authentic identity of Christians with the poor is found in the claim which the Jesus-encounter lays upon their own life-style, a claim that connects the word "Christian" with the liberation of the poor. Christians fight not for humanity in general but for themselves and out of their love for concrete human beings.”

~James H. Cone, God of the Oppressed

  1. Refugees: The Holy Family

            اللاجئون العائلة المقدسة

 I met this family depicted in this icon while in Palestine in 2008. At the time they lived in a terribly confined refugee camp in the West Bank. At one point the camp didn’t have a doctor and soldiers were blocking anyone going in and out. However, the pregnant mother's water broke in the middle of the night. The camp had a strict curfew and no one was allowed to be out in the camp streets at night, and feeling something may be wrong she had no one to help her give birth. Not wanting to put anyone else at risk they were able to sneak out, cut a hole in the parameter fence and walked through the desert with their young son and arrived at the nearest hospital at dawn and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. The family has been a beacon of hope and nonviolent resistance in the area. May peace be with them.


  1. St. Joseph and Baby Jesus

St. Joseph has shown us that even the quietest ordinary acts can be signs of hope in the world. That the world bears within itself the seeds of genuine love.


  1. The Good Shepherd

Most Shepherds in Jesus’ day would spend weeks with their flock out in the wilderness. The Shepherd would even drink the milk of the ewes for sustenance. He needed them as much as they needed him. The Good Shepherd is not a sign of a Jesus who rules over us, or telling us what to do, or of our almighty benefactor. Rather, it is a sign that the world-like humanity-is a place where God communes with us. The relationship of humanity to creation isn’t just to ensure its flourishing, or prevent its extinction or worse, consume our allotted share of it and dominate it. It is to bring creation into the relationship of praise and thanksgiving, and see it all, and our very lives, as gifts.


  1. Our Lady of the Journey

            The first in the series of icons with the same name


  1. Pauli Murray

“Hope is a crushed stalk

Between clenched fingers

Hope is a bird’s wing

Broken by a stone.

Hope is a word in a tuneless ditty –

A word whispered with the wind,

A dream of forty acres and a mule,

A cabin of one’s own and a moment to rest,

A name and place for one’s children

And children’s children at last . . .

Hope is a song in a weary throat.

Give me a song of hope

And a world where I can sing it.

Give me a song of faith

And a people to believe in it.

Give me a song of kindliness

And a country where I can live it.

Give me a song of hope and love

And a brown girl’s heart”

~from ‘Dark Testament’ verse 8.

Pauli Murray was an American civil rights activist, lawyer, gender equality advocate, Episcopal priest, poet and author. I paint her here breaking the bread at communion.

  1. Dorothy Day and the Holy Family of the Streets

“It is no use to say that we are born 2000 years too late to give room to Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts."

~Dorothy Day

  1. La Sagrada Familia

“As long as that statue [of Liberty] stands, the tradition of immigrant hospitality and justice it symbolizes will continue to haunt us. Will we whose ancestors respected no boundaries seek to erect impermeable borders? Will the descendants of Ellis Island bar the 'golden door', even as our economic and military policies around the globe continue to create 'tempest-tossed' populations? Or will we listen…to the voice of Christ speaking through the immigrant poor: 'Listen! I stand at the door knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and we will share communion' (Rev. 3:20).”

~Ched Myers “Our God Is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice”


  1. Christ in the Rubble

This new icon was made in partnership with Red Letter Christians, Rev. Munther Issac, Shane Claiborne. This icon depicts the holy family under Rubble due to the horrors of war.


  1. Matthew Shepherd

A new devotional portrait of Matthew Shepard for the National Cathedral

From the Cathedral:

“Matthew Wayne Shepard (1976-1998) was interred at Washington National Cathedral in October 2018, twenty years after he was brutally attacked and left to die in a hate crime. In 2022, LGBTQ members of the Cathedral staff commissioned artist and iconographer Kelly Latimore (b. 1986) to paint a portrait of Matthew for use in Cathedral services, gatherings, and pilgrimages associated with Matthew and the LGBTQIA+ community and as a means for personal reflection and education about Matthew’s life and legacy. The background of the portrait was inspired by the rainbow pride flag and includes phrases and words from letters and cards sent to Matthew’s parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard.”

My sincere gratitude to the staff of the National Cathedral, and to Judy and Dennis Shepard for all of their encouragement and work collaborating on this portrait. I am inspired by their continued advocacy for the sacredness of LGBTQ+ lives and all their work fighting against the hatred and violence that is still happening. 

Copyright 2022, Washington National Cathedral. Used by permission. All rights reserved


  1. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

            “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

In this icon King stands below the Little and Big Dipper. Pointing to the North Star. ( “IC XC” is the iconographers Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ)


  1. Martin Luther King Jr. ( Mugshot )

“ There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging, the fire truck goes right through that red light, and normal traffic had better get out of its way. Or, when a man is bleeding to death, the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed. … Disinherited people all over the world are bleeding to death from deep social and economic wounds. They need brigades of ambulance drivers who will have to ignore the red lights of the present system until the emergency is solved. Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full.”


  1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

            German Pastor and Theologian

 "The world is overcome not through destruction, but through reconciliation. Not ideals, nor programs, nor conscience, nor duty, nor responsibility, nor virtue, but only God's perfect love can encounter reality and overcome it. Nor is it some universal idea of love, but rather the love of God in Jesus Christ, a love genuinely lived, that does this."

 Bonhoeffer was a theologian who called us to action. He was deeply concerned with the, 'cheap grace' of the German Church, rather than a "costly grace". The cost of discipleship and loving the way Jesus loved, could very well get you crucified.

 After Hitler rose to power Bonhoeffer left Union Theological Seminary in New York, to return to Nazi Germany. He would later be accused of a plot to assassinate the Führer, and spend two years in prison.

He was executed by the Nazi regime at Flossenbürg concentration camp on April 9, 1945.


  1. The Saints of Selma

This icon depicts the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in March 1965 when 600 non-violent civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80 to raise awareness of the need for a federal Voting Rights act. 

Those in the icon from left to right:

Front row: Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Ralph Abernathy. Middle Row: Amelia Boynton, Hosea Williams, James Forman, Jack Sidney-Snyder, Andrew Young. Back Row: James Orange, Archbishop Iakovos, Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, C.T. Vivian

There are so many others who could have been in this icon.

Commissioned by Rev. Betsy Singleton- Snyder


  1. Desmond Tutu

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

Tutu was a South African Anglican bishop and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position.

In this current time of war and unrest I have continually thought of Desmond Tutu’s words. I have slowly been working on this icon since Tutu passed the day after Christmas 2021. He is someone who reflected joy with his contagious laugh but was ready to speak the truth and engage the serious pain, loss and injustice around him. The work of peace and reconciliation is a long road but it must be traveled.


  1. Fannie Lou Hamer

"Sometimes it seems like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I'll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I'm not backing off."

Civil rights leader, women's rights advocate, and farmer. She was extorted, threatened, harassed, shot at, and assaulted by white supremacists and police while trying to register for and exercise her right to vote. But she kept going, speaking up and being the Mother Hen she was to so many.


  1. Mary Oliver


"You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees,

 the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese,

harsh and exciting -over and over

announcing your place in the family of things."

            --'The Wild Geese'     


  1. Fred Rogers

"Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people."

Fred, commonly know as ‘Mister Rogers’, was an American television host, author, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was the creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001. I paint him here opening a door for the viewer. Welcoming them in just as they are.


  1. Nicolas Black Elk

            Heȟáka Sápa

December 1863 – August 19, 1950

Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

 A vision from Black Elk:

“And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.”


  1. Henri Nouwen

            Priest and Writer

“For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair. Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.” 

~Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming