Circles of Prayer
colored pencil and watercolor
16" x 16"


“God is a circle whose center is everywhere
and whose circumference is nowhere.”

Hermes Trismegistus,
Book of the 24 Philosophers


In many spiritual traditions, the circle has been used as an aid to prayer and meditation: ancient stone circles, Buddhist mandalas, prayer wheels, labyrinths, Catholic rosaries, and the simple joining of hands to form a circle of communal prayer.

The act of drawing has always been a form of meditation for me, concentrating my mind on the here and now, and revealing the presence of God in the everyday, ordinary things that are around us.

In this series of drawings, I use the circle as the foundation of the composition, populating it with birds, animals, and plants symbolically appropriate to the focus of my prayer or reflection.







Prayer for Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


The Peace Prayer of St. Francis first appeared around 1915 and embodies the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi’s simplicity and poverty. The prayer is most likely not one of the writings of St. Francis. During the First World War it was found in France, written on the back of a holy card of St. Francis, and so came to be called the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.

The image of the white dove is the most familiar and enduring symbol of peace. He is flanked by peace lilies and olive branches. Love is represented by the bleeding heart flowers; Pardon by the daffodils, which are given traditionally as a token of forgiveness and a fresh start; Faith by the acorns (The oak tree is a symbol of the strength of faith because of its solidity and endurance.); Hope by the milkweed plants that provides food for the monarch butterfly, a sign of rebirth and resurrection; Light by the sunflowers; and Joy by wood sorrel which comes into flower at Easter.


Ave Maria

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.










Because the color blue is associated with royalty, peace, and nature (sea and sky) artistic renditions of Mary portray the Queen of Heaven and Earth in blue. In this drawing in honor of Our Lady, the blue adorns various blue birds: Blue Jays, Cerulean Warblers, Eastern Bluebirds, Blue Grosbeaks, and Violet Sabrewing Hummingbirds.

In ancient iconography the red rose was representative of Aphrodite, or Venus, the goddess of love. In early Christian times it became associated with the virtue of Virgin Mary, the Mystic Rose. The white lily represents Mary’s purity, and its golden center Christ, the treasure she carried within.

The original name of the ladybug is “Our Lady’s Bug.” During the Middle Ages, a plague of aphids descended on the crops, threatening Europe with starvation. The people petitioned the Virgin Mary to save them from this plague. A cloud of small, black-spotted, orange-red insects arrived and promptly ate all the offending pests. The grateful population gave to them the name, “Our Lady’s Bugs.”

The twelve gold stars in the corners represent the crown of the Woman of the Apocalypse, identified as Mary the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The white rosary belonged to my grandmother, Hilda Martinez Moreland.





Prayer of Thanksgiving to
Saints Lucy, Odillia, and Padre Pio










In 2009, I was diagnosed with neuroretinitis, an inflamation of the retina, in my left eye. During treatment, which was ultimately successful, I petitioned three patron saints of eye diseases: Saints Lucy, Odillia, and Padre Pio.

Surrounding my left eye in the drawing are sharp-sighted hawks and owls, the eye spots on the owl moth and peacock feathers, black-eyed Susans, and ox-eye daisies.

The larkspur flowers and wild violets were herbal remedies for eye disorders.






Prayer of
Saint Francis de Sales

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.


Born in France in 1567, Francis de Sales became bishop of Geneva at age 35. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions and catechize the children. His gentleness was a great asset in winning souls. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they, too, are called to be saints. This prayer of his was one of my mother’s favorites.

The prayer’s theme of protection is symbolized by the pelican, who was believed to give its own life’s blood to protect and nourish its young. The same protection is offered by the Sacred Heart, represented by the Sacred Heart coleus plant. Other plants that offer herbal protection are the nasturtium, digitalis, and dogwood. The bee protects its hive with its sting. The tree snail retreats to safety within its hard shell.





Prayer for Pilgrims

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

Psalm 25:4











The labyrinth, such as that found on the floor of Chartres Cathedral, by combining the circle and the spiral creates a meandering but purposeful path. In medieval times, it may have served as a substitute for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The theme of journey is represented by migratory creatures such as hummingbirds, goldfinches, and monarch butterflies, as well as the walking iris flowers.

The walking stick bug aids the pilgrim along his way.



Prayer to St. Martin de Porres for Tolerance

St Martin, teach us to be generous with the gifts that God has given us.

Make us sympathetic toward those who are suffering and afflicted.

Pray to our Redeemer and to Our Lady of Mercy that we may always be kind and generous to our neighbors because they are the children of our heavenly Father.






Martin de Porres, a lay Dominican brother born in 16th Century Peru, was a defender of homeless people, a healer of the sick, a protector of unwanted animals, and the patron saint of all victims of racial prejudice. Martin broke through all the stereotypes and racial prejudices of his society and offered charity wherever it was needed.

The hard-working and persistent woodpecker represents the diligence necessary to achieve tolerance. His hammering motion also reflects the hammer of justice and the relentless message of justice.

The pineapple plant symbolizes hospitality and welcome. The starwort plant represents welcome to the stranger, while periwinkles denote friendship. The broom plant stands for humility and the just man.

The quatrefoil shape, with its four equal-sized lobes radiating from a common center, represents harmony.





Prayer for Patience

Be completely
humble and gentle;
be patient,
bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2








Because of its long journey around the earth each month, the moon represents patience. It is accompanied here by luna moths and the moon flower vine.

Great white egrets stand immobile while patiently watching for fish. The courteous chickadees calmly wait their turn while feeding.




Prayer to the Sacred Heart for Compassion

Lord, open our eyes
that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears
that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hearts
that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew in us your spirit.
Lord, free us and make us one.

St. Teresa of Calcutta



Pope Francis describes the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy and compassion for humankind. The bleeding heart flowers echo this image.

Legend says that the compassionate robin tried to relieve Christ's suffering on the cross by plucking the thorns from the crown of thorns on his head. Christ’s blood stained its breast red forever.

Candles–represented here by the candle flowers–in giving light are consumed in the same way that a kind and compassionate person wears himself out in service to others.

The pomegranates that have been cut open symbolize Christian charity, which is open to all people.


©2016 Mary Lee Eggart
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