Rock Island artist Jill Rodts’ chalk creations are inspiring area parishioners
SILVIS — The Holy Spirit invited artist Jill Rodts to get creative during the COVID-19 pandemic and she responded by inspiring others with chalk art left on the sidewalks of Quad Cities churches and her own driveway.
Among her latest creations, drawn at the invitation of Father Peter Zorjan, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Silvis, was given to the people there for their outdoor Mass on Pentecost. It shows Mary with tongues of fire descending from the Holy Spirit, who is depicted as a eucharistic host.
“So as the people are coming up for Communion, I was praying that they would be inspired with the burning love and desire of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, the burning love of our Lord, and be inflamed with the renewed Pentecost,” she told The Catholic Post. To help them do that, she included the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
She hesitated to add the Apostles and then realized the Lord wasn’t asking her to.
“(The people at Mass) would be the disciples going out to all the earth,” Rodts said. “The flames in the picture are for each one of the people who comes to celebrate at the liturgy — or anyone, in fact, who wants to look at the pictures. It’s kind of like they enter the art.”
Rodts was also inspired to draw a chalk image of the Ascension at her parish, St. Pius X in Rock Island, after a Holy Hour there. She asked for permission from Msgr. Mark Merdian, pastor, but left the “when” up to the Holy Spirit.
“I just felt like we need some hope,” she said. “And bright-colored chalk pictures of the Blessed Mother, Jesus and Mary, the Holy Spirit — sometimes it’s helpful to just see beautiful images to draw us closer to God.”
The image she created of Jesus and Mary was drawn on her own driveway and she took great delight in seeing the joy it brought to people as they walked by.
Her image of Divine Mercy was featured in the Easter issue of The Catholic Post.
Chalk is something Rodts has enjoying using since she was a child growing up in Milan. As the founder of Art of Faith, a juried sacred art show and sale she started nine years ago at St. Pius X, she uses many other materials and encourages others to do the same.