Center for Sacred Psychology

Soul Food Archive: Guest Caterer Specials

Harlem Renaissance Party (detail)
Story Quilt, © Faith Ringgold 1987*
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Guest Caterer Specials are side dishes that complement our main courses. The experiences of many spiritual seekers are forming a "cookbook for a sacred life" (Ram Dass' phrase). Might some special delicacy from this potluck meal become a staple at your table?

Please sample our current Main Courses menu, as well as our tasty Desserts & Snacks and earlier dishes in the Soul Food Archive. And, do send your personal comments to our busy kitchen staff. View others' comments here.




Our Current Guest Caterer is Sr. Elizabeth Thoman, C.H.M. of Los Angeles

We’re fond of what are called “bread-crumb stories”—tales of one clue after another dropped down before us, creating a trail that leads to next chapters of our lives.  Roman Catholic sister Elizabeth (“Liz”) Thoman has lived such a story, following and honoring the clues set before her.  These have brought her to a second career, with new forms of creativity, prayer and ministry.  But let’s begin at the beginning…

Forty-five years ago, Liz of Nashville, Tennessee became a member of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in Iowa.  After teaching English for a few years, she came to Los Angeles in the early 70’s and began to explore issues in the field of media education.  At the time “media literacy” was anything but a household phrase.  In 1977 Liz founded Media&Values magazine, which evolved into the Center for Media Literacy in 1989.   For thirty years, her work was intense, filled with travel and presentations, executive management, busy work schedules and late nights.  

Liz’s life was changed, however, by a diagnosis of breast cancer—and immersion in the very different world of medical appointments, procedures and physical symptoms.  The chemo treatments made it difficult to pray, but she inventively turned to books of photographs to lift her spirit.  It was an inspired idea, but one that took another year to mature.

The next summer, she was sitting in the garden of her west Los Angeles apartment, knowing that life as it had been was winding down.  Suddenly, she noticed that a fifteen-year-old barrel cactus had burst into bloom.

Fortunately, Liz remembered where she’d put a new digital camera purchased before she got sick, but never used. She began capturing this remarkable plant (as though it had blossomed saying, “I’m ready for my close-up!”). This led to more and more photos of flowers from her own and others’ gardens, until it became clear that photographing flowers was becoming an integral part of her spiritual life. 

Soon, she found herself sharing her beautiful pictures, then asking, “How can I link the medical world with spirituality through my artwork?”  The resulting business of Healing Petals Photography developed, making her work widely available to individuals and medical facilities for large installations.  Flowers have become a path to prayer for Liz, and she also helps others see how they can pray with these beautiful images.  Might we, too, use the pictures on this page, and those on the Healing Petals website,* as prayer-entries?


C.G.Jung, throughout his works, admonishes seekers not to live the second half of life by the lights of the first half.  Most of us don’t have such dramatic professional turn-arounds as Sr. Liz Thoman, but her story encourages us all to have our antennae out for the “bread crumbs” or clues that entice us to take our next steps:

  "You will show me the path to life..."



We're interested in ways this Soul Food may have touched your life.

Click HERE to send us your comments...


Read Others' Comments...

Thank you, Sister Liz, for the beautiful pictures. I know many people photograph flowers, but the way in which you make this art part of your spiritual life is what adds tremendously to the appeal of your work. So simple--yet so profound! Thank you.
Sarah J.
New Hampshire



* Credits for this page:

~ The quilts of American fiber artist Faith Ringgold hang in museums around the world.  Harlem Renaissance Party, #2 in her "Bitternest Series," is in the collection of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.  Acryllic on canvas, 94"x82", it pictures eleven guests and their exuberant, mask-holding hostess, Cee Cee.  From lower left around the table, the guests are Celia (or Ceclia), a doctor; Florence Mills, singer and comedienne; Aaron Douglass, painter; Meta Warick Fuller, sculptor; W.E.B. DuBois, organizer and writer; Cee Cee's husband, a dentist; Richard Wright, writer; Countee Cullen, poet, novelist and playwright; Zora Neal Hurston; novelist, folklorist and anthropologist; Alain Locke, philosopher and writer; Langston Hughes, poet and writer.  Gratefully used with permission.  See more of Faith's work at

~ Pictures above are just a small sample of dozens on the website .  Many of these flower photos can be ordered as greeting cards, photobooks, framed prints, and calendars.  Also on website are suggestions for prayer springing from the photographs.
~ The Congregation of the Humility of Mary is online at





Sr.Elizabeth Thoman, C.H.M    



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