The Stabat Mater Prayer Apostolate (SMPA) emerged in 2008 after years of prayerful conversation among friends in Dallas, Texas. We proposed that the images that bombard our present culture of death can change to more life-affirming ones if the creators of those images are offered prayerful support. We cited Saint John Paul II's "Letter to Artists" (1999) as the fundamental document that explains why artists are so important to society.
In the years since 2008 SMPA expanded to a worldwide online network of prayer united in the desire to effect cultural change. We are still “Advancing the Culture of Life Through Prayer and Art.” We still pray for the very creators of contemporary works of art in all media. But in the summer of 2020 the Stabat Mater Art Foundation was created as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to amplify the work of the Apostolate in concrete ways.
Perhaps now the world needs to be reminded that Saint John Paul II entrusted the Cause of Life to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Visionaries that they are, we believe fine artists can help lead the way back to love of God and to a Christian civilization grounded in faith, hope, and love. But they need practical support.
PRAY FOR ARTISTS
The mission of Stabat Mater Prayer Apostolate (SMPA) is to pray for and with artists—and those who appreciate the arts—so as to advance the Culture of Life.
Our vision is of a culture that reveres beauty both as God's gift to humanity as well as a prayerful response to Him for His love for us—a culture that appreciates the presence of God in all of creation as well as in the creative process.
In his “Letter,” Saint John Paul II talked about the vocation of Artist. Thus the aim of the Stabat Mater Prayer Apostolate/Stabat Mater Foundation is to highlight the importance of this vocation. At issue is the restoration of Christian civilization. And artists—in all media—are the visionaries who can help lead the way in this restoration. What a transforming enterprise: to help lead souls to the truth of Jesus Christ through beauty and thus to eternal life with Him in heaven!
2501 Created “in the image of God,” man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given super-abundance of the human being’s inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man.
—Excerpted from Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part Three, Section Two, Chapter Two, Article 8, The Eighth Commandment (footnotes omitted)
SUPPORT THE CULTURE OF LIFE THROUGH THE ARTS
The arts leave a footprint of civilization, and later ages stand in that legacy. We recognize the achievements of ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and medieval Europe through objects that have remained (that we see) or through sounds and ideas that have been handed down (in music that we hear and writings that we read). Because of their very gifts, artists tend either to reflect the culture in which they live or to elevate it.
What human being is there who cannot respond to true beauty? The Stabat Mater Prayer Apostolate and the Stabat Mater Foundation seek to promote prayer for artists because we believe that visionary artists can edify society and help lead it toward the Civilization of Love - and "Culture of Life" - envisioned by Saint John Paul II. We rejoice in the words of an earlier pope, spoken at the end of Vatican II: "This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the heart of man..." Pope Paul VI, in the closing message of Vatican II, December 8, 1965