Letters to Pope Francis

A grid of eight photos. Each of the photos shows the same person, dressed as the Virgin Mary and in typical poses of holy figures. Through the self-assembled clothing and details like an egg in a mouth, the photos appear ironic.
Artwork for Letters to Pope Francis by Vagittarius Rising

Audio transcription:

Have you ever felt like you are capable of performing miracles? Have you ever wished for widespread recognition of such a miracle? Have you been looking to connect with other miracle-makers in your local area?

Well, this is for you.

Back in 2017, Vagittarius Rising went on a quest to examine the process of becoming a saint. They researched the official bureaucratic procedures required and formulated the miracles they had performed in such a way that they could be recognised by ‘The System’. They went straight to the source of the matter, writing to the Pope with their revolutionary, open-source, user-friendly, and contemporary ideas for how to reform the Sainthood process. Everyone deserves the chance to become “A Saint,” or at least “A Blessed,” and Vagittarius Rising wishes to further encourage all people in this pursuit.

The following is their correspondence.

Dear Pope,

How’s it going in the Vatican? We hear it’s pretty hot and sunny there. Must be nice!

First, we want to confirm that we have completed our research and are absolutely up-to-date with current requirements for the sainthood application.

So far, we have accomplished the first stages of the process on our own: we’ve developed a local devotional practice, people have recognized our holiness and pray for us and, as always, we lead a holy, heroic, and virtuous life. Most importantly, we performed our first miracle and thus became A Blessed, which as you know is the first step on the path to sainthood. 

What is that miracle, you might ask?

We’re very familiar with the contemporary consensus on the definition of a miracle: an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to divine agency. Now, a miracle-maker can only become a saint after entering their afterlife, IN HEAVEN. Well, hold on because here comes our miracle. 

According to popular belief, heaven has always been known as some kind of other place (not here) where people end up after the whole limbo thing. If they were good people, that is. While we totally respect ‘popular belief’, we’ve developed a miraculous update. We figured out that it’s not necessary to GO anywhere! In fact, heaven IS a place on earth. Right?! I mean look around you. Don’t you feel it? Heaven is right here, right now. Heaven is a place on earth. Wow.

Now, we’re aware that we’ve just pointed out a fundamental loophole, which is miraculous, and although it may seem radical at first we are sure you’ll agree that it really expands the possibilities for miracles to happen. Clearly, we are alive and kicking. But we totally performed that miracle, right here on earth, since (just to reiterate) heaven is a place on earth. We feel that this is an exciting opportunity for the Church and society at large. Don’t you want more miracles? Well, here’s our chance to work together on this one. 

We are excited and wanted to address this *fundamental loophole* directly with you, Pope, as we feel like you’re really the only one who can say yay or nay. So, what’s it gonna be? We promise to make you proud and be really real and humble and holy.

We are aware that this is only the first phase. The final step in achieving sainthood must be the performance of a second miracle. Don’t you worry, we are on it. 

Thanks so much. Take care.

Love and Holy Blessings,

Vagittarius Rising

Dear Fran,

Is it ok to call you that? You can call us Vag. 

Anyways, we are really looking forward to your validation.



Hey Franny,

What’s up? Still busy I guess? It’s ok. Just checking in…




So, it’s been a while. Still nothing…

We’re not taking it personally. But come on, give us a sign! 



Dear Francis,

Given the absence of written confirmation, we sense that you are pretty into this collaboration. We know it’s a bit radical and maybe you’re seeing some raised eyebrows in the greater church community. We support you! Hang in there.

But really, the archbishops and cardinals are the least of your worries. Your real problem is that you are going to get flooded with applications due to this immense loophole. Imagine all the people wanting direct responses, deadlines, and certificates. It’s a bureaucratic nightmare. With all due respect to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (who normally approve sainthood applications and confirm miracles) their hands are full just from handling the whole sainthood process for dead people.

Don’t worry. This is where we come in.

We’d like to offer ourselves to help out with this great work. We would like to present the business plan and organizational model for the sustainable service for sainthood on earth.

This is how it’s going to go. With a horizontal non-hierarchical employee model and a small, humble kickstarter campaign, we are going to launch this company into the clouds. It will serve local, expanded, extra-terrestrial and multiversal communities. We believe it is time for sainthood to become ACCESSIBLE. Anyone can become a saint in this day and age. It is time to streamline.

We have a very user-friendly application process, which goes as follows: 

A miracle is performed.

The miracle-performer logs on to the Miracle Approval App called UDIDIT.

UDIDIT also allows miracle-performers to connect with others, with help from The Global Positioning System (GPS), who have just performed a miracle. Easy, fluid networking at all these holy fingertips! Obviously, UDIDIT will also be able to connect to any and all social media platforms so the publicity of a miracle goes live immediately upon accomplishment.

At this point, a digital signature appears and the Certificate of Sainthood is delivered electronically.

We are so grateful to have gone through the challenging and soul-growing process of sainthood ourselves. We are here to make it quick and easy for more people to perform more miracles so that we have more saints in heaven, right here, on earth. This is the future. And it is now.

We are so happy to have you on board, Francis.

Yours Truly,

Saint Vag

Words and image by Vagittarius Rising

Vagittarius Rising is an experimental feminist art duo based in Berlin. Israeli-American Shelley Etkin and Lithuanian Agnė Auželytė came together as the Vag Sisters in 2015. Their birthplace and artistic home was Ponderosa, a rural arts centre in Stolzenhagen, Germany. Since then, they have traveled with their work in Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, India, and the USA. Straddling the pathetic and the sexy, the classy and the trashy, Vagittarius Rising has reincarnated as a fake band, a nation, a miracle, and a school for witches. During this time, the Vag Sisters have rocked stages, basements, and punk bars, published The Declaration of the Nation of Vag in feminist journal HYSTERIA, presented their final live performance piece Karma vs Kapital at nGbK in Berlin (finissage of COVEN curated exhibition LUCKY), and achieved sainthood.