Sometime in June 1991- I don’t remember the exact date- I was approached by architect Otakar Kuca. At that time I exhibited my large-scale sculptures in Palffi’s Palace which was, by the way, my first exhibition ever. After seeing the exhibition the architect offered me working partnership; at that time he was completing restoration of the Franciscan Garden and his objective was to create a new gate instead of the existing one with simple forms.
Before long we got together outside the then theater Semafor close to the garden entrance and Mr. Kuca explained his intention to me. I was supposed to design an object of more complex character; however, the time was of the essence: Prague Green Project – as was the name of the state enterprise financing the restoration - was supposed to end its activities within a year and obviously end up all the financing. I sat down in my studio and got down to business. After a couple of days I threw out all my study drawings and started all over again but this time from a different perspective. Gradually I managed to give shape to a design that was subconsciously on my mind but its realization would require much longer time that was at my disposal. I presented my concept before the art commission – which was how it worked then – and it was accepted. I was given deposit to work with. Yet most people took me for a fool – how was I supposed to complete all this within several months? 24 reliefs and 26 faces incorporated into frames and metal parts. And it should all work in the society where practically nothing worked yet. But that’s how I wanted that. I felt that I would waste my precious time by explaining. Without letting other people know I got down to work. I had some money saved for a rainy day then and I could live very modestly if necessary. Moreover, expenses were lower then. I worked on the gate every single day; our son was 3 years old then playing in the yard, in the evening I used to read stories and my wife spent her time painting, day in, day out. I realized my project in my workshop set in Kokorin Woods- countryside practically deserted in those times. I consider that time probably the most gratifying in my life. Routine in the ritual, every day filled with ritual and silence.
Why is St. Francis still so up-to-date? How come just the vision of that meager man in a ragged frock evokes solemn, calming feeling, a kind of role-model cutting across generations? Since time immemorial people have been racking their brains over the mysteries of life, its origin, the space and its possible infinity. They constantly wish to change the world around them hardly realizing that the greatest secrets are deep in our souls, everything is within easy reach; the real progress does not lie in space flights but in the change of our hearts and minds and the courage to initiate the change…St.Francis knew very well without wasting time theorizing that the most fundamental changes were those of our selves. He learned love had universal character and comprised all created; that hate was lack of love. His poems-prayers still address us and speak clearly. If others say:” Lord, give me…,” St.Francis invokes our Maker and begs: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…” With his love he embraces the sun, the moon, both water and fire and air, humans, animals, plants… They are all brothers and sisters to him, he turns to all equally; nothing is too small to look down on and nothing is too big to be monstrous. What’s immense is his warmth and all-embracing humbleness before Creator. His ideas are timeless

Prayer of St.Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace
Where there is Hatred, let me sow Love.
Where there is Injury, Pardon.
Where there is Doubt, Faith.
Where there is Despair, Hope.
Where there is Darkness, Light, and
Where there is Sadness, Joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

St. Francis of Assisi