"Sister Moon" at the Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA - CODAworx

“Sister Moon” at the Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque, IA

Submitted by cheryl holz

Client: SOSF Dubuque, IA

Location: Dubuque, IA, United States

Completion date: 2013

Artwork budget: $8,500

Project Team


Cheryl Holz

Holz Fine Art


Sr. Nancy Schreck

OSF Dubuque


A glowing night sky commissioned by the Sisters of St. Francis to interpret the Sister Moon portion of the Canticle of the Creatures, a prayer central to the Franciscans beliefs. Measuring 29″ x 86″ x 3″, I had enough room to incorporate quite a few meaningful celestial bodies, like the Pleiades star cluster, the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy and the tadpole galaxy. This hung in a nursing home where many of the retired nuns are not as mobile as they used to be, so my favorite part of this piece was incorporating the phosphorescent pigments into the star clusters and galaxies, so even if they could not go outside and star gaze in person, they would have a glowing night sky to look at inside. I also supplied several black flashlights that they could use at night to intensify the glow of the pigments!


My goal for this series of commissions was to bring the spirit of St. Francis and Sr. Clare alive for the sisters who have dedicated their lives to "live right in relationship with all creation," and deepen their relationship with Mother Earth and Sister Water....and supply a little late night fun for them!


I presented to a committee working closely with the new construction, then toured the partially completed facility. They invited me to come up with some concepts, so I return to meet with the committee again and they were wholeheartedly approved. I remained in touch with Sr. Nancy Schreck for continued progress reports and any additional information or measurements that were needed.

Additional Information

The Sisters of St. Francis commissioned these pieces for their residential community in Dubuque Iowa. I interpreted different aspects of St. Francis’s Canticle of the Creatures prayer. The Sisters were ideal patrons, giving me the freedom to explore once we had established some basic requirements. Sister Moon incorporates her relevant part of the Canticle- “Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, 
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.” Loose painterly pours and layers mimic the movement that happens on a cosmic level. The following heavenly bodies are featured: -The moon is sculpted three dimensionally, shaded to resemble its first phase. -The Pleiades, often referred to as the Seven Sisters, is an open star cluster. -our galaxy, the Milky Way -the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest spiral galaxy to us -the Tadpole galaxy All are rendered using phosphorus pigments so that they retain their glow at night once the lights are turned out.