Featured Icons – St. Rose of Lima

The life of St. Rose of Lima is filled with grotesque physical penances that scandalize us today.  Traditional images of her have focused on her asceticism rather than aspects of her life that might speak to us.  After carefully rereading traditional biographies, Brother Robert realized that her abusive childhood had much to do with the… Read more »

Featured Icons – St. John XXIII of Rome

At the heart of the Franciscan movement are the Gospels, a challenge to live the Gospels as honestly and simply as possible. So seldom do people live this way that when they do the world takes special note. Pope John XXIII lived the Gospels. When he was elected pope he helped bring new life to… Read more »

Featured Icons – Cesar Chavez

Many modern saints have lived at the margins of society. Their lives and their work have inspired countless others who choose, like them, to sacrifice power and wealth in order to do work they believe needs to be done. While iconographers earn their daily bread like anyone else, their work is also a ministry that… Read more »


We live in an age caught between two cultures. Christendom died a number of years ago. What new culture will emerge remains to be seen, but the way is closed to the past. While some modern leaders are trying to bring the past back, the Holy Spirit is raising up new prophets who will speak… Read more »

Featured Icons – Martin Luther King of Georgia

When Robert left cloistered life after 18 years, he discovered that he’d missed a lot. The world had changed. As he set forth on his personal journey to catch up, the people he encountered encouraged him to paint an icon of Martin Luther King. The idea stretched him in various ways, first of all because… Read more »


Once, long ago, St. Nicholas and St. John Cassian left heaven to walk through Russia. They passed through Moscow, with its magnificent churches and palaces, and wandered the Russian forests and steppes. It was spring, and the ground was beginning to thaw. As they rounded a bend in the road, they came upon a peasant… Read more »

Featured Icons – Oscar Romero of El Salvador

When Brother Robert returned to secular life in 1982, to pursue his vocation as a religious artist, the example of St. Oscar Romero helped him find his way. Like Robert, this bishop had spent the first part of his life isolated from the concerns of those on society’s margins. It took a violent encounter with… Read more »

Featured Icons – Christ of Maryknoll

This icon, Christ of Maryknoll, was created when Br. Robert was living in Albuquerque, NM – a common destination for immigrants coming from the south. It shows Christ on one side of a barbed wire fence, looking longingly at the other side. Have we put up the fence and imprisoned Christ? Or have we imprisoned… Read more »

Transcendence: icon subjects through time

Robert’s icons span a wide spectrum, from completely traditional Orthodox images to images created for Native American, Black, or Asian peoples. Because he is best known for his innovative icons, people might be surprised to learn that his favorite images are actually traditional Orthodox icons. In traditional Orthodox iconography, icons are carefully painted according to… Read more »

Episode 6 – Transcendence

Though Br. Robert was trained in traditional Greek iconography, some of his work has taken iconography in new directions. The icons that Br. Robert paints are, in his own words, “a new kind of icon.” They are not Eastern Orthodox icons, but rather a new genre that he hopes will help revitalize sacred art in… Read more »