Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The Best Artistic Depictions of Palm Sunday

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New YorkThis coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, a key date in the Christian calendar when millions of Christians around the world commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem — a fateful day that launches Holy Week. Depicted in art for centuries, Palm Sunday is an unmistakable scene, whether it’s been rendered on a canvas or, as in most of the ones that really impressed me, stained glass. Read more about the top five Palm Sundays >


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The Best Depictions of the Real Meaning of Christmas

The Adoration of the MagiDecember 25 is rapidly approaching, and for 2.2 billion Christians around the world, the Christmas season is in full swing. Although the secular aspects of this important holiday increasingly garner all the attention and overshadow the real meaning of Christmas — the birth of Jesus Christ — all you have to do is look at a Nativity scene (or listen to Linus’ beautiful soliloquy in A Charlie Brown Christmas) to be reminded of what it’s all about. For centuries, artists have been depicting that day that changed the world in Nativities in every type of media imaginable. Some of these painters, sculptors, glaziers, woodworkers, and other talented experts broke the traditional mold of just showing the Holy Family in a stable with some hay, farm animals, a couple of shepherds, and the Three Wise Men. I found these works in particular to be the most imaginative, and most memorable. Read more about my top five Nativities in the world >


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Top 5 Yellows

Ceramics and pottery, Orvieto, ItalyIt may elicit groans and sighs of dismay from children when a yellow school bus pulls up on the first day back to class in September, but it will also make millions of parents secretly smile. In fact, at least to me, yellow remains the most joyful color. Whether it’s the daffodil fields of Oregon, the Yellow Mounds in Badlands National Park in South Dakota, or the predominant color in the ceramics and pottery made in Orvieto, Italy, yellow is bound to add a little cheer to your day. These are my top five occurrences of yellow from around the world. Read more >


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Miracles in Québec

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, QuebecCancer. Malignant tumors. Nonfunctioning limbs. Chronic cardiac conditions. The human body can trap us within ourselves for years, even decades, whenever it decides to malfunction or sustains an attack. When the situation appears hopeless, and medicines and treatments fail, we often start to look for a little extra help outside hospital wards. For half a million people every year, that assistance comes in the form of a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Québec. And when the impossible happens, and they’re cured of the incurable, they come back to say thanks. Read more >


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Missouri’s Mosaic Marvel

Cathedral Basilica, St. Louis, MissouriThe Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is much more than just the seat of the city’s archdiocese. It’s the home of the world’s largest collection of mosaic tiles — 41.5 million tiles, to be exact, in more than 7,000 colors that cover a total area of 83,000 square feet. From the second you step inside, you’ll be dazzled by the masterful work created by 20 artists over the course of 75 years. Read more >