Spirit of Ministry: My Little Mission
FSPA affiliate’s ‘little mission’ inspires prayer and peace for Ukraine
By Kate Bausch, FSPA affiliate
On Feb. 24, 2022, along with the rest of the world, I watched another awful war begin. This time the war was in Ukraine. The news pained my empathic heart, and I didn’t know what to do or how to help the Ukrainian people. As an FSPA affiliate, I understood the importance of prayer. I also felt called to take action, but what could an artist in La Crosse, Wisconsin, do?
The mission begins
In my daily prayers, I asked God to lead me to a way to help — to send me on a little mission. Several weeks later, while doodling a batch of thank-you notes, a question popped into my mind: Could I ask my Facebook friends to pray for peace? In order to get their attention, I could create and share a daily doodle. I gathered my pens and colored pencils and began doodling. The next morning I posted my first peace doodle on Facebook, asking for prayers for peace, and my friends responded enthusiastically. My little mission was born!
My spiritual connection
As the weeks went on, I spent more and more quiet time on each doodle. They were evolving into full-color drawings. At that point, it was not uncommon for me to spend a few hours on each. Drawing and creating is calming for my chronic anxiety. Some days my peace
doodles feature a mandala, trees or animals like cats, squirrels and even Wisconsin’s state animal, the badger.
From the beginning, each peace doodle had to have three elements: The traditional peace sign, the word “peace” and at least one bird. At first, I did this to unify the peace doodles into a collection. In hindsight I realized my required trinity symbolized the Holy Trinity. The
traditional peace sign signifies God the Father. The word “peace” represents the Word Made Flesh, Jesus. And the bird illustrates the Holy Spirit. Ensuring that the three elements were represented not only made my peace doodles more interesting and challenging for me to
create but also gently reinforced my faith, which often feels shaky in these uncertain times.
Some of my Facebook friends are not religious, praying folks. But many of them privately reached out to tell me they enjoyed the peace doodles and were pausing in their own way to remember the Ukrainian people. So in order to be more inclusive, I changed the wording in my Facebook posts and began asking people to “pray or pause for peace.”
Frequently I reference something from my own life or a current event. For example, one Mother’s Day, I doodled a bluebird with a very fancy hat covered in yellow daisies. If a certain friend or relative is on my mind, I might doodle a bird with characteristics of that person. There are peace doodles that honor my family members and special friends, those still with us and those who have passed away.
The peace doodles are mainly cheerful and whimsical. I like to use a lot of yellow and blue, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. However, it is important for me to always create from my heart. There are days when the peace doodles are deeply symbolic. On the heartbreaking
day when 19 children and two teachers were killed by a gunman at a school in Uvalde, Texas, I drew 19 brightly-colored birds in flight, wings touching as they circled up toward heaven. But generally, most of the peace doodles appear colorful and lighthearted, which seems to be motivating for most of my Facebook friends.
Several weeks into my little mission, a friend mentioned in one of my Facebook posts that my peace doodles would make nice notecards. Other friends chimed in and encouraged me to investigate the idea. Before long I enlisted my siblings and husband to fold 500 assorted
print notecards. Within hours of my Facebook post announcing that the peace doodle notecards wereprinted and ready to sell, they sold out. I asked people to send any amount of money for a set of nine cards. My initial optimistic goal was to raise $1,000 for Ukrainian refugees who had fled across the border to a Polish village where I knew the donations would be put to good use. Over several months and after multiple printings of many different peace doodles, my generous Facebook friends and family members donated $5,000! My little mission was making a tangible impact.
One day a friend asked me, “How long are you going to keep drawing and posting peace doodles on Facebook?” Without thinking I replied, “Until the war in Ukraine ends.” I will keep my word. So far my little mission has lasted more than 500 days.
My commitment to working toward peace by sharing my daily peace doodles fits with the mission of FSPA Affiliation. This little mission calls me to share my artistic talent and to encourage others to pray for peace. I pray my little mission can help in some small way to begin to transform our world.
Kate is an artist who enjoys painting trees but also enjoys creating in almost any medium. She also loves teaching art to adults and currently leads the Franciscan Spirituality Center’s new Open Art Space, welcoming all to make art together on Tuesday nights. Kate became an affiliate with the FSPA in 2010 with Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Carlene Unser as her mentor and is
a member of a new FSPA companion community, Among the Trees.
To see Kate’s daily peace doodles, visit facebook.com/kate.bausch.