Loaves and Fishes Reflections

"When I hear bread breaking I see something else; it seems almost as though God never meant us to do anything else.  So beautiful a sound, the crust breaks up like manna and falls all over everything, and then we eat; bread gets inside humans.
-Daniel Berrigan"
                                                                                -from the serigraph
                                                                                       bread breaking (1965) - Corita

“ ‘Man, my friends,’ said General Loewenhielm, ‘ is frail and foolish.  We have all of us been told that grace is to be found in the universe.  But in our human foolishness and shortsightedness we imagine divine grace to be finite.  For this reason we tremble…’ Never till now had the General stated that he trembled; he was genuinely surprised and even shocked at hearing his own voice proclaim the fact. ‘ We tremble before making our choice in life, and after having made it again tremble in fear of having chosen wrong.  But the moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we see and realize that grace is infinite.  Grace, my friends, demands nothing from us but that we shall await it with confidence and acknowledge it in gratitude.  Grace, brothers, makes no conditions and singles out none of us in particular; grace takes us all to its bosom and proclaims general amnesty.  See! That which we have chosen is given us, and that which we have refused is, also and at the same time, granted us.  Aye, that which we have rejected is poured upon us abundantly.  For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss have kissed one another!’ “  


                                                                                --Babette’s Feast -Isak Dinesen


“ …And about one hundred and sixty three people all talking and waving and laughing and drinking and smiling and frowning and shaking heads and opening mouths and putting forks and spoons in them and chewing and swallowing all kinds of produce and sitting back and relaxing maybe and drinking coffee and lighting cigarettes and getting up and so on and so off…. ”                               

                                          --fromPictures of the Gone World-Laurence Ferlinghetti


“ It is still true today… that charity begins at home.  But home today, is all the world.  Man cannot progress by himself alone.  All men must grow together.  All men must work as one, to build the common future of mankind.

                                                                        --Pope Paul VI


“ And there the great revolution could take place; the whole human race could finally sit down in one big circle and eat together and having once shared a meal, could no longer be enemies."

                                                                       --Anon. Folk Song Lyric


“ Real Wealth is indestructible and without practical limit.  It can be neither created nor lost -- and it leaves one system only to join another.  Real wealth is knowing what to do with energy.  Man’s intellect has the ability to tap the cosmic resources of energy and make them work for him.  Technology providing more and more goods from fewer and fewer resources could guarantee that all men would survive.”                        

                                                                   Buckminster Fuller 


“ It is logical that man should fight to the death when he thinks there is not enough to go around.  It is also logical that man won’t fight when he knows there’s enough to go around.”

                                                                   Buckminster Fuller 



Reflections on Corita Kent, Artist and Mentor 



I remember my first encounter with the serigraphic art of Corita.  This was around 1962.  I was with a group of young people, visiting the house of a friend, Fr. Davis.  He had a large framed piece: wonderbread.  I first responded to the joy of the large circles of color on the white paper.  Then I recognized that it was a playful enlargement of the Wonder Bread wrapper.  The priest spoke to us of the symbolism in the work.  We began to open our eyes to play, yet still contemplate the layers of meaning in art.

As I became more familiar with Corita, I became fascinated with her art and ideas.  In 1967-68, I took an evening class of lettering and design with her.  She reached deep into my psyche with her juxtapositions of ideas with our everyday advertisements.  This opened me up to poetry, and ideas of great minds.  She communicated to many people; she reached into them, and opened doors and windows in their hearts and minds.

The lettering in her art is seen as drawing, much like the brushwork of oriental calligraphy.  There are many references to read, sharing, hunger in the world, and our common humanity.  The quotes that were drawn into Corita's brilliant prints are now influencing and inspiring me to create this LOAVES AND FISHES.

John August Swanson November , 2003


" 'It's bad.  You don't konw what to do when you've got five children standing around crying for something to eat and you don't know where to get it and you don't know which way to start to get it.  I just get nervous or something'.
--Kentucky miner's wife
'There are so many hungry people that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread'.
           --from the serigraph
                that they may have life (1964)- Corita


“ When I hear bread breaking I see something else; it seems almost as though God never meant us to do anything else.  So beautiful a sound, the crust breaks up like manna and falls all over everything, and then we eat; bread gets inside humans.            - Daniel Berrigan”        

                                                                                                         --from the serigraph bread breaking (1965)- Corita


Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives.  Hope that you might have baked it or bought it--or even kneaded it yourself.  For that look on his face, for your hands meeting his across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot or suffer a lot--or die a little, even. - Daniel Berrigan”                                        --from the serigraph greetings (1967)- Corita



Links to Information on Corita

Corita Art Center

What we do is very little, but it is like the little boy with a few loaves and fishes. Christ took that little and increased it. He will do the rest. What we do is so little we may seem to be constantly failing. But so did He fail. He met with the apparent failure on the Cross. But unless the seed fall into the earth and die, there is no harvest. And why must we see results? Or work is to sow. Another generation will be reaping the harvest.
Dorothy Day, 1940 


More than a fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: "Give them something to eat." [Mark 6:37]
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gosel) Chapter 1, Section 49, 2013



poem / lyrics, which I feel capture the sentiments of my serigraph

"Though I'm just a boy with some bread and a couple of fishes,
 I'll give them to this hungry crowd and to the one who knows my wounds and wishs.
And I pray he works a miracle for the ones who the world leaves empty,
For we who struggle and starve while the few cling tight to their plenty.
This is my prayer. This is my prayer. This is my prayer. This is my prayer. This is my prayer.

For those who work on the land, for those who plant the seed,
For those who work with their hands to bring us the food we need
Thanks be to God and blessings on all who labor.
Thanks be to God and justice for all our neighbors.
This is my prayer.

Come all who hunger and thirst and bring what you have to share,
It may seem so little at first, but soon there'll be plenty there.
For the one who made heaven and earth, the one who brought forth the waters
Has given the fruits  of the earth to all life's sons and daughters.
Though I'm just a boy with some bread and a couple of fishes
I'll give them to this hungry crowd and to the one who knows my wounds and wishes
This is my prayer. This is my prayer." 

-- Song Lyrics by David Farley (Echo Park United Methodist Church, LA)


"[Massimo] Bottura is the chef-owner of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. He's also the founder of Food for Soul, a nonprofit organization that fights food waste.
Food for Soul creates and maintains sustainable kitchens -- called refettori -- with a growing number of projects worldwide, involving both high-profile chefs and volunteers, who serve guests facing food poverty and insecurity. The kitchens also serve as social hubs that work to benefit the whole community.
Bottura is in Los Angeles participating in various event related to the L.A.Times Food Bowl, including the first Los Angeles Feeding the 5000 on Thursday, culminating in a free feast made entirely from fresh produce and meant to highlight the global issue of food waste."
What happens when one of the world's best chefs cleans out your fridge, Noelle Carter, Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2017
Copyright © 2020 John August Swanson