Local artist, Little Flower parishioner Nicole Bañuelos designs Basilica Fiesta medal

2019 Fiesta Medal

Little Flower parishioner Nicole Bañuelos created the original art for Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower’s fiesta medals this year and last. Ms. Bañuelos, who works part time for both Little Flower School and the Basilica administration office, was discovered as an artist last year by Little Flower pastor Fr. Luis Gerardo Belmonte-Luna, OCD. When he asked her who had designed a t-shirt promoting a local youth initiative that she was wearing, and he found out that she had, he asked her to design the Basilica’s Fiesta medals.
This year’s Fiesta medal is inspired by one of the stained-glass windows in the Basilica’s Tomb Chapel of St. Thérèse. The window depicts St. Thérèse, known as “The Little Flower,” dropping roses on the Basilica, in reference to the saint’s famous promise to let fall a shower of roses upon the earth after her death. The Tomb Chapel’s series of five Gothic-style windows, installed in the late 1930s, present 17 intricately detailed scenes from the life and death of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, known as “The Little Flower.”
Ms. Bañuelos said her dad knows how to draw, and that he had worked with her and her brother on their school projects. Otherwise, her only formal art instruction was in seventh grade, which she took “because everyone had to do art.” Ms. Bañuelos, who choose dance over art in high school, is a 2013 graduate of Clark High School.
Ms. Bañuelos started designing t-shirts for the San Antonio Catholic Center for Charismatic Renewal in 2013 and has designed a couple of shirts each year since then. “I ask what the scripture is and create the design based on that,” she said. Ms. Bañuelos has an Instagram page for her art: @beautyincreations.
This year marks 90 years since the cornerstone of the National Shrine of the Little Flower was laid. The Shrine is the first National Shrine in the US dedicated to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who was canonized in 1925. The Shrine’s notable size, beauty, architectural character, and spiritual significance led to its placement on the National Register of Historic Places and elevation to the status of Minor Basilica in the Catholic Church, both in 1998.
The greatest tribute to St. Thérèse in the Basilica is the Tomb Chapel, with a reproduction of the sepulcher in Lisieux, France, presenting a likeness of the saint after her death. The Basilica is home to first-class relics of the Little Flower and of her parents, Saints Louis and Zelie Martin. The Discalced Carmelite Fathers of San Antonio, a community of the Province of St. Thérèse, direct the Basilica and Little Flower School.
The Basilica’s Fiesta medals will be available mid-March at the administration office at 824 Kentucky Ave. For more information, call (210) 735-9126.

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