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The Art of Being A Shepherd


Ok, y’all. Be honest. Who doesn’t have hundreds of photographs of their SHEEP on their phone? “Swipe Right” only keeps the gallery of cuteness coming and we don’t even notice that the person who asked a simple question about our flock now has eyes that are glazed over with photo-fatigue (oops). But why do we do it? As a shepherdess, I’ll venture to say it’s simply because we find our sheep incredibly beautiful; it’s because we long to capture that natural beauty, the sunlight on their fleeces, the animated or soulful expressions on their faces, because doing so somehow make us feel more alive and soulful ourselves. That’s what art does, and that’s what we create with every photo, every story, every essay, every painting, every poem, every work of plied fiber, every skein of yarn ... the possibilities are endless!


I love this dialogue quote by Thomas Schulman, screenwriter of The Dead Poet’s Society:


“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”


I’ve discovered that sheep herders are passionate about not just their sheep, but about sharing the way they express themselves in and through the art of being a shepherd. It’s a trickle down effect. One way or another, shepherds are a wildly creative bunch! When they’re not about the art of cooperating with God’s creative power to bring about new life in the barn — they’re spinning, weaving, felting, writing, photographing, or creating something else of beauty. The skills, inspiration, and desire to create come from God himself, in whose image we were created, and who created this exquisite Universe. He expects us to create for his glory. And if God lays something on our heart to do, then in a spirit of obedience we must do it!


To that point, the Lord laid on my heart to write a novelette (a mere 63 pages, an art form of old) to tell the story of a 16th century child-shepherdess, St. Germaine Cousin of Pibrac (France). I felt compelled to share her poignant and difficult story, knowing that modern shepherds and others could relate to and be inspired by her brief yet beautiful life and saintly love of God.


Here’s the Amazon description (link here):


The Shepherdess was inspired by the brief life of St. Germaine Cousin of Pibrac as illuminated by Catholic history and tradition. An isolated and abused child stricken with an incurable, disfiguring disease, she became a shepherdess and radiant model of patience, humility, faith and fortitude — as well as the patroness of those suffering from abandonment, abuse, disability, or poverty. In a world plagued by the evils of human trafficking, St. Germaine is a serviceable saint for our times.


Written by a modern-day shepherdess, some names, characters, details, and events have been novelized as a means of presenting St. Germaine's story with heart and imagination while remaining faithful to the essence of her biography and heroic journey to sainthood.


Whether you're at home in the flock — or one who's wandering or lost — let St. Germaine lead you closer to the heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.


I hope you're blessed by reading it as much as I was blessed by writing it (it felt good to get back to my historical fiction roots!). My heartfelt message to you today is that every shepherd/shepherdess has a story to tell … through their words, through their art, in a blog, through a photograph … your story matters! If nothing else, let St. Germaine, who is also a patron saint of shepherds, speak to your heart, walk with you in your work, and pray with you in your pastures. If there’s something you’ve been longing to “create” — do it! God’s creative power resides in you. As a shepherd and a beloved child, you are God’s own unrepeatable work of art who was fearfully and wonderfully made to magnify his divine creativity and beauty. Don’t be sheepish, y'all — let your light shine!


For we are God’s handiwork [work of art], created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.

(Eph. 2:10)


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