Friday, August 21, 2009

Favorite Things: Original Catholic Art

For many years, one source of despondency for me has been the plethora of shoddy Catholic statues. While prints of the Old Masters are always there to liven my devotional life, it saddens me to pray before a statue of Mary with features more reminiscent of Barbie than Our Lady. And it seems that every Catholic store stocks the same cookie-cutter pieces: even faint originality can only be had for a price over a hundred dollars! As a patron of Catholic artists, I yearn for original beauty in three dimensions: alas, it seems so difficult to find.

It was with wonder and delight that I discovered Fatima Statues and the Duke Tran family at the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show this year. This Vietnamese family has made it their mission to craft hand-carved statues of Christ, Our Lady, and St. Joseph from hardened driftwood. Their craftsmanship is exquisite, and their price is amazingly affordable. I paid a mere $32 for this 8" statue of the Mother and Child. (A similar one is available on their website, #29 on the list.) Larger statues are to be had for a larger price, but even a foot-high piece such as this Holy Family is priced at only $92.00. Since each piece is unique and one of a kind, some are out of stock, yet the photos capture the scope of this family's skill. And I love how the artist uses the curves and beauty of found wood as an inspiration. Truly unique, truly a work of love: a long quest for me has ended with the discovery of a treasure I am happy to share.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Joshua Cake

I meant to post this picture back in July on Joshua's birthday, but alas, computer problems intervened, which have only now been rectified. On my son's birthday, my friend Anna brought over a bouquet of wildflowers and this lovely cake decorated by her little girl Angelica with strawberries and paper symbols of the Resurrection: eggs and butterflies and birds and a lovely cross. It was a sweet remembrance of my son, and a wonderful way to celebrate his third birthday in Heaven. Thank you so much, Anna!

Many times people are unsure of what to do for a friend who is grieving the loss of a child or loved one. But often a simple gift or card as a token of remembrance on an anniversary or holiday brings so much comfort. Let your friend know that you remember her sorrow, and are grieving with her. A little can do so much.

If you are looking for ways to comfort those who grieve, consider this list of kind things that people did for us after Joshua died, which helped us. Peace to your day.