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

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

Submitted by cheryl holz

Client: Order of St. Francis, Dubuque , IA

Location: Dubuque, IA, United States

Completion date: 1970

Artwork budget: $8,500

Project Team


Cheryl Holz

Holz Fine Art

Committee Chair

Sr. Nancy Schreck

OSF Dubuque


A mixed media low relief interpretation of the the Sister Water portion of St. Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures, a prayer central to the Franciscans beliefs.

“Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
Which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste. “

Measuring 29″ x 86″ x 3″, I incorporated many creatures that inhabit the Mississippi River that runs right near their facility.


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.


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 Water” incorporates her relevant part of the Canticle - “Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
 who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.” Situated on the Mississippi River, this piece focuses on indigenous species found there. A false map turtle, river otter, a school of yellow perch, bluegill and snails populate “Sister Water.” Materials: acrylic, modeling compound, snails’ shells, inks, and pigment on wooden panel