Signs, Wonders, and Miracles

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Stephen B. Whatley The Praying Artist

"My work springs from my heart and soul and I give credit to God. I thank God in particular for the blessing of sight..."  -Stephen B. Whatley

The Immaculate Heart of Mary, 2010. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24in/76 x 61 cm. Private collection, Ohio, USA

 

Art Profile by Tony Galcius

The last image – to become indelibly imprinted in the memory of a young 16 year old lad – was that of his mother smiling, waving goodbye and at the same time mouthing “I love you” as the coach pulled away from the station. He was on his way to spend a holiday with his grandmother. Days later, in that summer of 1981, his mother was dead, killed in a car crash at the age of 38. For Stephen B Whatley it was a moment of utter despair and the beginning of years of struggle to keep from drowning in heartbreak.

Looking back on that moment of ineffable trauma, Stephen recalls that “Art saved my life”. Endowed with an extraordinary talent from an early age, he pursued his studies at the Ipswich and Norwich Schools of Art, and finally at the University of London. Accompanying that enormous artistic skill was also a deep sense of the spiritual. He constantly tells you that he “paints from the heart and soul” and you can quite easily and accurately exchange the word ‘paints’ for the word ‘prays’.

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of the Americas, 2008. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in/76 x 61 cm.

 

The evolution of his spiritual life, over the past 20 years, has been chiefly within a Catholic context. This was due to mixing with fellow students who happened to be Catholics, as were the early friends he made. He loved frequenting Catholic churches and was impressed with their beauty. Stephen was attracted to the liturgy, especially the Mass, and moved by the lives of the saints, he formed a habit of prayer until God became totally central to his life. Among the different genres of his works, and they include still-life, portraits, architecture, city and landscapes, the art of the Sacred has a special place. In recent years he has created religious images, which are such explosive examples of a Catholic faith that I was absolutely amazed when he told me that he was only received into the Church at Easter, 2011. The delay was due to his grief at the loss of his mother, an Anglican, who had him baptised ‘Stephen Beckett’, this latter being her own maiden name. The initial ‘B’ therefore has a special significance.

 

Our Lady of Lourdes, 2011. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in/76 x 61 cm.

 

Stephen is known as an ‘Expressionist’ painter. According to the Oxford Reference English dictionary, expressionism is characterised ‘by a rejection of traditional ideas of beauty or harmony, and by the use of distortion, exaggeration and other non-naturalistic devices in order to emphasise and express the inner world of emotion rather than any external reality’. Early exemplars of it are the famous El Greco and Van Gogh, among others. The expressionist makes a strong and bold use of red, blue and yellow, often in contrasting juxtaposition, and later fuses them into purples, greens, oranges and browns. The operative phrase from the above definition is “express the inner world of emotion” and this is supremely true of Stephen’s work. Even as he holds the brush in his hand, he is holding his breath so that every mark of paint is exactly located where it should be. Very often, such is the intensity of his skill that he actually feels pain, but discovers that from it wonderful things happen. But above all, permeating every stroke of the brush is prayer, his personal prayer that whoever owns or sees his work of art will be moved by it. He works at great speed but as he finishes, perhaps after seven or eight hours, he is mentally and physically exhausted.

 

Sarah Greene at her London home in 2006, with her Stephen B Whatley portrait, painted in 1996.

 

Stephen recounts many incidents of how people, including an atheist art dealer, have been touched by his art. Even more remarkable was what happened as he painted the well known TV presenter and actress, Sarah Greene, of Blue Peter fame and other programmes like Going Live!, Coming Home, Collectors Lot and Doctor Who. The sitting took place in a room in a private members club and lasted three hours. During that time the only other visitor was a waiter offering refreshments. When Sarah was shown the finished painting, tears filled her eyes as she expressed her satisfaction with Stephen’s interpretation of her. Later she wrote and told him how much delight it had brought her and her family, particularly her father, who could see his own mother in the portrait, and her husband, the broadcaster Mike Smith who thought Stephen was “a truly superb artist”.  A year later, she commissioned Stephen to paint a picture of her husband from photographs, as a surprise gift. In the course of conversation, Sarah asked him whether he was a spiritual person and then revealed that during the sitting for her portrait she had experienced something quite extraordinary.

Spirituality

Stephen carries on the story: “She revealed to me her own feeling of spirituality after she and her Husband survived a helicopter crash in 1988. She explained that whilst she sat for me, she was not only aware of all my passionate creativity going on but also of a presence around me, what she described as ‘loving arms around me’. What was even more amazing she said, was that the waiter who had called in to ask about refreshments had been overwhelmed: he had gone to his boss afterwards and told him that the room was charged with energy; and that while he could see two people – artist and sitter – he could feel three presences in the room. “I was so moved and told her that I had prayed so hard for strength as I do before every creation”. What Sarah Greene did not know was that the night before, Stephen had only 20 minutes sleep. He frequently suffers from insomnia as well as depression. But it is well hidden by his cheerfulness and lovely sense of humour.


Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, 1999. Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 in/102 x 102cm. Commissioned by the Royal Collection of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

 

It was in 1990, when Stephen was 25 years old, that he became a professional artist. His work had already been exhibited widely but grew even more popular and the commissions rolled in. Private collectors from all over the world have bought his paintings, while the public collections exhibiting his work include those of  HM the Queen, Royal National Theatre, the BBC, and the London Transport Museum. To advertise the Summer opening of Buckingham Palace in 1999 and 2000, he was commissioned to paint an exterior view of it and the Grand Staircase, both on location. These were used on posters all over the Underground. The painting of the exterior view today hangs in the Palace itself.

 

This is the official London Transport Museum postcard of the 1999 oil painting of The Grand Staircase, Buckingham Palace, commissioned from artist Stephen B. Whatley; and painted by the artist over two days, on location at the foot of the stairs.

 

The outstanding break in his artistic life, which he loves to refer to as ‘God’s Commission’ was a series of  30 paintings for the Tower of London, which were hung in its Banqueting hall at a reception in 2004 when Stephen had the honour of being presented to Her Majesty. He attributed this commission to God, because it was an answer to repeated and intensive prayer. Although he had been steadily working for several years since turning professional, he needed something really substantial, which would allow him more freedom. The commission was to promote the Tower of London and the Pool of London through a series of architectural and historical images. These works were reproduced on steel vitreous panels, lining the underpass that takes the pedestrian from Tower Hill Tube station to the Tower itself. It is a permanent monument to Stephen’s work in the capital, and is seen by the millions of Londoners and tourists visiting the capital.

 

In 2000, Stephen B Whatley was commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces to create a series of 30 paintings for Her Majesty’s Tower of London. The original paintings are within the Tower of London; but visitors to the Tower can see all 30 paintings permanently reproduced on steel vitreous enamel panels
throughout Tower Hill Underpass, London; the main walkway to the Tower. In this view, Stephen’s tribute to St Thomas More is closest to the camera.

In 2004, all 30 original oil paintings were exhibited in the Banqueting Hall in Her Majesty’s Tower of London, to celebrate the completion of refurbishment of the Tower; and Stephen was presented to Her Majesty The Queen.

 

His choice of subjects to paint or to draw is obviously determined by those who commission him to do so, among whom are actors and film stars, both from the past and the present. Many of his own personal choices, however, are commemorations, perhaps of an anniversary, a birthday or some other connection with his life. For example, his choice of Marilyn Monroe resulted partly from the fact that she died in 1962 on the same date in August as his own mother. Similarly, too, when he was commissioned to paint portraits of the Princes William and Harry, he could personally empathise with them as they, like him, lost their mother at such an early age.

 

Stephen and Sarah Greene next to his portrait tribute, William and Kate - Tribute to Royal Love, alongside other works by the artist, at the Colomb Art Gallery in London's Marylebone area, in April 2011- just 10 days before the Royal Wedding.

 

One of his most recent paintings (inspired by photos) is that of the happy Royal couple William and Kate. By the use of reds and yellows it radiates their love and happiness, with the subtle introduction in blue of the famous ring, once worn by William’s mother.

When it comes to his religious work, then Stephen’s choices will be inspired by a feast day of Our Lord at some point in the Liturgical Calendar, or of Our Lady or a saint. Readers of this magazine (Catholic Life) will have seen some examples of his sacred work in recent issues. A lot of his paintings can be viewed on his website and flickr photo sharing site and are both available to buy and order as prints. He gives God and the saints all the credit for his success and hopes that his paintings will bring abundant blessings on those who buy or view them.

Catholics have written to him and told him that his religious paintings have restored their faith. Even Religious have described how his work has increased their understanding and piety. Stephen quotes two nuns, belonging to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Mercy in the USA who came across his work on the internet and were so moved that they asked to share the paintings on their blog. Referring in particular to his Good Friday painting of 2007, one nun wrote: “The beauty of your prayer expressed in your art is a gift for all of us; it helps me personally to deepen my relationship with Jesus...the colours especially draw me to reflect more on these relationships..”, while another wrote: “The image of the Crucified…. is a beautiful painting. The vibrant colours awaken in me a renewed sense of the power & healing that come to us in Jesus. His suffering and death colour the world with healing beauty...” This endorsement of the evangelising effect of his work strikes a very encouraging chord for Stephen. Obviously as a professional, he paints to earn a living, but he is nonetheless totally motivated by his wish to share the love of God. He is a great admirer of St Faustina and has taken as a motto something said to her in one of her visions, which Stephen paraphrases beautifully: “Anything you do that is not in My name means nothing to Me”.

 

Father, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me...?  Good Friday 2007.  Oil on canvas, 24 x 18 in/61 x 46 cm. Private Collection, Alabama, USA.

Not everyone will appreciate or like his style. Like classical music, it may be an acquired taste. But I have found it instantly recognisable, striking, attractive and contemporary. When you then learn that the artist prayed as he painted, then ideas of truth and thence beauty also enter the viewer’s mind. I would, therefore, urge bishops, priests and anyone looking for a work of art to adorn a church, a school or public place to consider approaching Stephen. When I asked him who his agent was, his immediate and simple reply was ‘God’.  It was said humbly, modestly and sincerely and it sums him up very well. I was reminded of the beautiful words of Archbishop Montini (later Paul VI ), spoken to Fr. Alberione: “You take the Word of God and you clothe it with ink, type and paper and then you send it into the world. It is the Word of God wrapped up in this way. You give God wrapped in paper, as Mary gave the world God wrapped in human flesh. There is something similar between being wrapped and enfleshed”.

Substitute ‘oils, colours and painting’ for ‘ink, type and paper’ and this quote could aptly describe the art of Stephen B. Whatley.

 

***

 

Stephen B. Whatley the Praying Artist is reprinted by permission from the artist Stephen B. Whatley and Catholic Life magazine. This feature article is originally published in the September 1, 2011 issue of Catholic Life, England, UK. © 2011, 2012, All Rights Reserved.

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During 2017, Pray for God's Divine Mercy and Intervention

By Loci B. Lenar

Our Lord Jesus communicated through a locution on December 31, 2015 to "pray for divine favor and mercy"  and to "believe in the power of prayer."  This locution was again affirmed by Jesus on April 25, 2017 and continues to hold true this year.

Pray for Our Lord's divine intervention to answer all your prayers. Pray for Our Lady's Intercession by reciting the Novena for Impossible Requests. Also pray for Saint Jude or Saint Rita to intercede on your behalf. Both saints are invoked for impossible causes or if you're deprived of visible help. Also consider reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, it was composed by St. Faustina in response to visions she had from Jesus Christ, who revealed Himself as the Divine Mercy.  For other prayers that can be used in time of need, please click on the following link: Devotional Prayers

"What is impossible with man is possible with God."  Luke 18:27

In order for prayer to be effective, please forgive those that have sinned against you, no matter how difficult it may seem. Anger toward others creates a barrier in receiving all of God's blessings and grace. Pray to have any anger in your heart replaced with love.

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  Mark 11:24-25

Furthermore, many nations have lost their direction by ignoring the gospels and teachings of Christianity. Please join in prayer for God to intervene and bring change to our world. May God open the hearts of people to receive the Holy Spirit.

Pray for the course of history to be changed into a glorious era of peace!

Pray for the fulfillment of Revelation 20:1-3 in order to usher in God's reign of peace and to bring an end to wars, violence, lawlessness and persecution of the faithful. Pray to Our Lady of Fatima for an era of peace to unfold and to protect you from all adversity. Pray for God's protection in your families through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel. Pray for God's peace to reign on earth.

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  ( John 3:17)

Pray to God to intervene in your families and marriages for healing and reconciliation. Pray for an improvement and restoration of your finances. Pray for healing of medical conditions and recovery of health.

Finally, pray to God with an open heart to receive an answer to your prayer and expect His divine assistance. Moreover, it's important to try and be faithful in order for Our Lord to change circumstances into your favor. 

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  (Hebrews 4:16)

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  (1Thessalonians 5:18)

"May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."  (Psalm 20:4)

Read more on How to Pray: Prayer is the Key to God's Blessing and Gifts

Forty Catholics Who Shaped the World in Which We Live

Written by Claire Furia Smith, this book features forty Catholics of diverse talents and vocations who lived and breathed their faith while having an enormous impact on the world of their time. In turn they have contributed significantly to the shape of our world today. Their Christian faith and the spiritually nurturing environment provided by the Catholic Church underpinned and made possible their great achievements.

Prayers for Financial Assistance

Are you in need of a financial blessing? Pray a novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague.  Also pray to Our Lady of Perpetual Help to intercede before the throne of God for a financial blessing.

Prayers and Novenas


Click on the following link for a selection of Daily Devotional Prayers.

Are You in Need of Prayer?

Please feel free to submit your prayer request to our public ministry: PrayerRequest@Christian-Miracles.com 

All prayer requests are prayed for daily on www.Christian-Miracles.com.  In addition, Mr. Lenar prays for all requests. 

Additionally, all prayer requests are shared with Fr. Richard Tartaglia of St. Mary's Church, Myers Avenue, Denville, New Jersey, USA. (Your email address will remain confidential).


Mr. Lenar has arranged with Fr. Richard to have Prayer Requests prayed for at St. Mary's Church every Monday morning during Holy Hour Adoration, which is held between 8:30 and 9:30 AM. Requests are also prayed for every Third Thursday of each month during the evening prayer service held for peace at St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Loci B. Lenar is a parishioner at St. Mary's Parish and will hand deliver all prayer requests to Fr. Richard.

You can add your prayer request directly to our web page at the following link: Prayer Requests

Recent Prayer Requests


Read daily Prayer Requests on our website by clincking on the link.

ChurchPop.com

ChurchPOP is a website for Christian culture that’s fun, informative, and inspirational. We hope you enjoy it!

The Miracle Prayer

We recommend reciting The Miracle Prayer, composed by Fr. Peter M. Rookey.  The Lord has gifted the International Compassion Ministry with a grace of healing.  

Invoke the help of Angels


"Make friends with the angels, who, though invisible, are always with you. ... Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs." So encouraged St. Francis de Sales.

Read more: The Angels Are Our Invisible Friends

Message from Jesus: "Pray for Divine Protection"

Through a spiritual locution Loci B. Lenar received on September 14, 2009, Jesus called for everyone to "pray for divine protection."   The locution from Jesus was a result of Mr. Lenar's visit to the Church of Saint Michael in Netcong, New Jersey. 

In June of 2010, Jesus again reminded Mr. Lenar of the importance of the message.  After prayerful discernment, Mr. Lenar said, "The Lord's plan is to mitigate and extinguish violence throughout the world in order to usher in an era of peace." 

To read Mr. Lenar's complete testimony about the spiritual locution, please visit the following link:  A Spiritual Locution - God's Call to Pray for Divine Protection and Peace

Live Catholic Radio

Thank you very much for tuning into Radio Maria on January 24, 2011, and listening to Fr. Richard Tartaglia, Donna Ott, and Loci B. Lenar discuss miracles of faith. All three from Saint Mary's Parish, Denville, NJ, were guests on the radio program, Sacred Treasures.  The Catholic radio show is hosted by Kathie Duggan and can be heard live on Mondays between the hours of 3:00 and 4:00 PM (EST) by visiting the following link: Sacred Treasures

Fr. Richard Tartaglia and Mr. Lenar on Radio Maria!

If you missed listening to Fr. Tartaglia and Loci B. Lenar on Radio Maria, not to worry, we've posted a recording of the  program on the homepage of our website!

Fr. Tartaglia and Mr. Lenar of St. Mary's Parish (Denville, NJ) were guest speakers on the Catholic radio show, Sacred Treasures on Monday, May 7, 2012

Sacred Treasures is hosted by Kathie Duggan and is broadcasted live on Monday's by Radio Maria, US, between the hours of 2:00-3:00 PM (Central Time), and 3:00-4:00 PM (Eastern Time). Tune in by visiting the following link: http://radiomaria.us/sacred-treasures/

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Prayer to Mitigate Natural Disasters

The Sacred Heart

God the Father, we join together in prayer and petition heaven for divine intervention to mitigate earthquakes and natural disasters throughout the world.

We invoke the powerful name of Jesus to calm the storms of time and to bring forth a millennium of peace and tranquility.

We pray to the Virgin Mary to interecede on behalf of Humanity for God's hand of mercy to bless us with divine protection.

We ask this and thank thee in the name of Jesus. Amen

I wrote the prayer in 2010 as a result of the earthquake in Haiti.

The Lord inspired me to compose a prayer in order to petition God to mitigate earthquakes and disasters while I was praying for the victims and families of Haiti. 

Please join in by reciting the prayer daily. 

Thank you very much for your thoughtful prayer support.

-Loci B. Lenar

Angelic Tails: True Stories of Heavenly Canine Companions

This new book is by author Joan Wester Anderson, renown for writing books on angelic visitations and miracles.

The following excerpt is from Loyola Press: Angelic Tails is a collection of down-to-earth true stories from ordinary people who believe that God has graced their lives through heavenly canine companions. Each of the 30 stories challenges readers to reconsider their conception of angels—from the story of a former Air Force colonel whose golden retrievers served as his heavenly helpers in the Colorado wilderness to the account of St. John Bosco, who, for more than 30 years, was protected by an angelic dog as he walked the dangerous city streets. In the end, for all who see through the eyes of faith, this book is evidence that God can use even muddy paws and cold noses to fulfill his purposes in our world. 

For additional information, please visit the following link: Loyola Press

Angels, Wonders, and Miracles of Faith

For updated news and photos, please visit our blog at the following link: Angels, Wonders, and Miracles of Faith 

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Miraculous Photo: Shield of Archangel Michael

In August of 2005, a Cross of Light appeared for the first time on Mr. Lenar's backyard fence in Mine Hill, New Jersey, USA.  The same bright cross has subsequently appeared every year from 2005 to 2013 during Lent and Holy Week. Loci Lenar says that Fr. Richard Tartaglia has confirmed this phenonmena by visiting his home several times and photographing the sign in 2012 and 2013. 

Fr. Tartaglia spoke about this sign in his Homily during a prayer service held at St. Mary's Church, Denville, NJ. For more details on this story, please visit the Homepage on this site. To view additional photographs, please visit the following links: Miraculous Signs of Angels and God's Call to Pray for World Peace

Signs of Archangel Michael

By Loci B. Lenar

While traveling through the town of Netcong, located in Morris County, NJ, I stopped into The Church of St. Michael to say some prayers and snapped photographs of the beautiful display of stained glass windows and statues.  Remarkably, the image of Archangel Michael shows a colorful rainbow that appeared while photographing the statue. To read the inspirational story and to view the photograph, please visit Miraculous Signs of Archangel Michael.  

Where Miracles Happen

Commentary by Loci B. Lenar

Joan Wester Anderson and her updated book, Where Miracles Happen, is inspiring and touched my soul with God's spiritual presence. While reading Part One: Miracles through Prayer, I was captivated in the story, A Light in Her Life. The inspiring story with added illustrations is posted on our blog at the following link: Angels Wonders, and Miracles of Faith.  Visit our Homepage  for my thoughts on Joan's new book.

Honoring the Great Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Inspirational in its artistic design, the awe-inspiring stained glass window can be seen inside of Saint Margaret Catholic Church in Morristown, New Jersey. 

Do you believe in signs and wonders?  If so, then I would suggest reading A Tribute to King.

Pray for World Peace

Please pray daily to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to change the course of history into an era of peace.  Also pray the Holy Rosary and request the Blessed Mother to intercede on behalf of humanity.

During her 1917 apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, Our Lady of Fatima foretold of an era of peace.  For information connecting her message to scripture, please read Revelation 20:1-3,  A Thousand-year Reign of God's Peace.

Divine Mercy Prayer

The Lord's blessing and grace flows through the recitation of The Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  Pray daily or in time of need! 

Miracle at Fatima Shrine

Visitors at the World Apostolate of Fatima (USA), witness the Miracle of the Sun on October 18, 2009 during televised service of One World Praying for Life and Peace.  To read story and to view additional photographs of the event, please visit the following link: Miracle at Fatima Shrine

Miracle of the Sun

On October 13, 2008, some visitors at the National Blue Army Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were blest to witness the Miracle of the Sun.  To read the complete story, please visit the following link: Visitors Witness Miracle

Miracle of the Sun: A Spiritual Visitation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

"The Spirit of the Lord was present and imparted a prophetic vision of our world blessed in peace."   -Loci B. Lenar

For additional details about the revelation and to read about Loci Lenar's spiritual encounter with the Lord, please visit the following link:  Lenar's Personal Testimony.

Miracle of the Sun: Rays of God's Light

During a visit to the National Blue Army Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, I photographed Rays of God's Light inside the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  Remarkably, the light is flowing through a stained glass window, which is a  depiction of the Miracle of the Sun, witnessed by 70,000 people in Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917.  The Catholic shrine is located on the grounds of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.  To view image, please visit the following link: Rays of God's Light                                      

Angel Stories

If you enjoy stories about angels, please do read Angels in the Barn on our website.  Caught by an Angel is another wonderful story and is posted on our blog.  Both pieces are written by Joan Wester Anderson.  She is renowned for writing inspirational stories connected to angelic visitations.  Her book "Where Angels Walk" was on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Loyola Press has released an updated edition of her book Where Miracles Happen.  The book contains eight new stories.

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