The mural is reflective of the universal call to holiness. Everyone, regardless of their station in life, sex, or race, enjoys the possibility of attaining true holiness. The mural depicts saints in the heavenly kingdom and reflects the diversity of peoples in the world, Asian, African, American, and European. The mural also has the saints of the local parishes of Iowa City: St. Thomas More, St. Mary, and St. Wenceslaus.
At the very top of the mural you see the hand of God the father. Christ is in front on the crucifix. On either side of the window are the symbolic figures of the four gospels: Angel - Matthew. Ox - Luke; Eagle - John; and Lion - Mark. Beneath the window is the Dove - symbol of the Holy Spirit. Beneath the dove are the throne of judgment and the seven burning lamps with the river of life flowing from the throne.
The Saints, from left to right:
The Vietnamese Martyrs: during the 18th century in Indo-China, currently Vietnam, there were many Catholic converts who were killed for their faith by the native non-Christian rulers. Because of the number of Vietnamese in Iowa, we wanted to honor this aspect of the history of the chruch.
San Juan Diego: Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant was walking across the Tepeyac foothill outside of Mexico City when the Blessed Mother appeared to him on December 9, 1531. She left her image on his tilma (cloak) and to this day this image is venerated in Mexico City at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Roses cascade from Juan's tilma. Roses were the miraculous sign of Mary.
Fr. Damien of Molokai: Damien DeVeuster was a native of Belgium, who in the 1800's went to Honolulu, Hawaii to work in the missions. In 1873 Damien went to the island of Molokai to work with the Lepers. He contracted and died from the disease. When he went to confession he would stand in a small boat and yell his sins to a priest on a ship, who for fear of the disease would not go near him. He was canonized in 2009.
St. Thomas More: St. Thomas More was chancellor of England in the 1500's under Henry VIII. When he refused to make an oath of loyalty to the king, who wanted to divorce his wife, he was found guilty of treason and beheaded. He is patron saint of the Coralville parish.
St. Katherine Drexel: Katherine was born into the wealthy Drexel family of Philadelphia. A millionairess, Katherine gave away millions of dollars to the missions of the United States dedicated to serving native Americans and blacks. Katherine founded her order of women religious and spent her life in service to them.
St. Patrick: Patron saint of the parish, he was instrumental in preaching the Gospel and converting the Irish people to the faith. Sold as a slave to Ireland, Patrick labored as a shepherd and was so enamored of Ireland that he returned to the Emerald Isle after stealing away to freedom. He is pictured with the bishop's miter and staff holding the new St. Patrick Church, with the old St. Patrick Church at his feet.
The Blessed Virgin Mary: Patroness of the Mother Church of Iowa City, Mary, the Mother of God plays a significant role as the first Christian, the one who was the first to say yes to Jesus by carrying the author of life in her womb.
St. Peter: First among Apostles, Peter is seen holding the"keys ot the kingdom" as a symbol of his authority to absolve sins. Where Peter is, there is the Church goes the saying, true when it was said and true now until the end of the ages.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: St. Margaret was a Sister of the Visitation in Europe. She was the one who was primarily responsible for gving the Church the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and promoting Eucharistic Adoration. She had visions of Jesus pointing to his heart, burning with love for souls. Her confessor asked her to ask Jesus what his most serious sins were. Upon his return, her answer was that the Lord had said to her that he knew, but could not remember them.
St. Martin de Porres: Martin was of mixed race; he was the product of a Spanish father and black mother. Because of this, he was not allowed to live in the Dominican monastery, but rather outside of it. He practiced herbal medicine and tended to the poorest of the poor. He is often associated with the humblest creatures because he himself though of himself as lowly. The dog, in latin "canus", God "domine", traditionally. the Dominicans liked this play on words: "Dominicanus" "dog of God" or "Dominicans". Often you will see a dog pictured with a torch in its mouth, signifying the preaching of the Gospel by a hound of heaven.
St. Wenceslaus: St. Wenceslaus was the King of Bohemia, now the Czech Republic. He was killed by his wicked brother Boleslaw. The grandson of St. Ludmilla, he is the parton saint of the Czech peple. He was considered a holy man and defender of truth and the faith. He was martyred in 935. The Czech immigrants to Iowa City named their parish in his honor.