It began as a hand-drawn Christmas calendar for her brother in the 1970s. The following year, his friends asked if she'd make one for them, too. They loved the meditations from saints, poets and writers that went with each of the original 12 pieces piece of artwork. They loved the suggested daily actions to do each day to better the world.
A few years later, the calendar's creator, St. Joseph Sr. Mary Southard, a busy professional artist and retreat facilitator, found herself overwhelmed by all of the requests.
That's how Ministry of the Arts was born. Sr. Southard's religious community in La Grange Park, Ill., opened a little store on the motherhouse grounds and began offering their gifted colleague's calendars via mass printing to the general public. Today, those calendars, at $11.95 each, sell "in the thousands" each year.