From the mail bag: Tucson

We have received numerous letters and e-mails about the shooting in Tucson. Two warrant special mention.

Jean Unsworth, a Chicago artist and wife of the late NCR columnist Tim Unsworth, wrote to say that the news reporting of the shooting reminded her of the art work she had submitted to the Jesus 2000 contest. (In 1999 NCR launched a global search for a depiction of Jesus for the new millennium. The contest attracted 1,678 entries from 1,004 artists in 19 countries. The winner was Janet McKenzie’s “Jesus of the People.") Jean's e-mail today reminded us that her submission was a collage that featured photos of the guns used in the Columbine, Colo., school shooting fashioned into a crown of thorns on Jesus' head. The image is at left.

Spiritual guru and Benedictine sister, Pascaline Coff (Clyde, Mo., is her home but she says she has been temporarily "loaned out" to the monastery in Tucson) wanted to make sure we saw the news stories about how the Trappist monks of New Melleray Abbey in Iowa had donated a coffin for the burial of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the youngest of six victims gunned down in the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The monks make caskets from red oak trees they harvest from their land in northeast Iowa. The The monks also shipped special keepsake crosses for the girl's family, engraved with Christina's name and have promised in the spring to plant a red oak in Christina's honor.

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