Father John Giuliani Catholic priest, poet and artist

Inspired by Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain, John Giuliani left his art studies at the Pratt Institute in New York to study for the priesthood.

He was ordained in 1960, and served for nearly two decades as a teacher and university chaplain in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 1977, his bishop gave him permission to form a contemplative monastic community, The Benedictine Grange, which he continues to lead in worship and community service today.

In the late 1980s, Father Giuliani resumed his artistic endeavors by creating a new form of Catholic iconography, depicting Jesus and the saints in the faces and imagery of Native American peoples. His works have been exhibited in churches and museums across the country, and last year at the Vatican he presented Pope Benedict his icon of Blessed Kateri, the Mohawk woman who is in the process of becoming the first Native American saint of the Catholic Church.

After 9/11, Father Giuliani spent nine months volunteering at the Ground Zero morgue in New York City, praying over and blessing the pieces of flesh and body parts recovered from the World Trade Center.

Father Giuliani combines his life of contemplation, worship and painting with community service. He helped found the Good Shepherd House of Hospitality in Norwalk, Connecticut, and The Benedictine Grange also supports programs in Appalachia, The Gulf Coast, Africa, Nicaragua and Palestine.

Father Giuliani is the son of Italian immigrants. He founded The Amalia & Nicola Giuliani Foundation for Religion and the Arts to honor his parents and to support organizations working in the areas of religion, the arts, and education.