My name is Eric, and my wife and I have just been accepted to Catholic Sacred Art School. We have both been missionaries and leaders for the New Evangelization, and we're excited to see where God takes us next!
Category: Arts & Entertainment
"On the threshold of the Third Millennium, my hope for all of you who are artists is that you will have an especially intense experience of creative inspiration. May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder! Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude." - Pope St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, Easter Sunday 1999
The newlywed Bishops (Eric and Kyrstyn) have BOTH been accepted to the Sacred Art School Firenze - in Florence, Italy!!
This art school is AWESOME!!! It was founded in 2012 by an Irish artist named Dony MacManus based on Pope St. John Paul II’s philosophy of the human person and the Catholic artistic tradition.
School starts October 4th, so we’re in major GO mode!
Eric’s program is Sacred Art Design and Craft. It’s for one year and he’ll be covering Woodworking, Goldsmithing, Stained Glass, Textiles, and Drawing. Then the second year he’ll hopefully get an apprenticeship with a local craftsman in whichever area he feels most called to.
Kyrstyn will be doing a 2 year specialization either in Oil Painting or Sculpture - she’ll get to decide after a few months of school.
School for both of us will be at least 8 hours a day Monday-Friday. This season of our lives will demand our full attention and efforts, especially with both of us in school. We thought about putting it off and trying to save up, but we know as well as you do that if we put something like this off it’ll just keep getting harder to go! Taking all of this to prayer and talking with our loved ones, we feel called to go and to go now. And since we simply can’t afford it, God will have to provide financially if this is truly His will for us!
We’re reaching out to God through His people to help fund our school tuition ($21,000 total) and our next two years of living expenses and immersing in the arts in Florence.
Will you please prayerfully consider if the Lord is asking you to join us on this adventure through your prayer support and/or financial support? These are desires the Lord has been growing in our hearts for our whole lives, and we’re so excited that we have the chance to pursue them!
Well, Eric was a FOCUS missionary and Kyrstyn got her Masters in Theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver. In both of these apostolates we were formed as evangelists, and we learned that one of the biggest obstacles to evangelization is the ways that the culture has formed us, usually without us even realizing it. Through music, stories, and images we’re taught to think a certain way about the world that simply isn’t the Gospel of Jesus. As Christians, much of what we believe is different than what is given to us from the mainstream outlets and even modern art. A good culture provides the soil for the seed of faith - but a bad one can choke the seed. That means it’s not only our responsibility to evangelize by planting a seed, but to work to transform the cultural soil.
This is echoed in all of the recent Popes who have called on artists to give of their talents to the Church, but tragically there are very few places where an artist can go to really receive an artistic formation that is rooted in the rich tradition of our Catholic heritage. In Italy there are still many families who have passed these trades down through generations, and many Churches that hold our most treasured art and architecture. Our hope is to immerse in our Catholic culture, be transformed by it, discipline ourselves in it, and bring it all back home with us, and maybe someday we'll even get to bring it all over the world as missionaries.
Dostoevsky said that beauty will save the world - and we agree! Our beautiful One, Jesus, already has! And it’s our call as artistic Christians to participate in his ongoing beautification of our world. By training to make beautiful things, we hope to help draw those who are thirsty back to the life giving water.
All gifts are so appreciated and received with a lot of joy! On a practical note, if you're able to give a monthly donation that would be especially helpful for us since most of our expenses will be normal monthly expenses. With the gift of monthly donations we're able to have something like a normal income coming in each month. We invite you to prayerfully consider a gift of $100 per month, but we know everyone's in a different situation and anything you give (even and ESPECIALLY prayers!!) will be very warmly received by us. :)
Please also share this with anyone who we may not know who you think would be interested in supporting us or hearing about this mission of the Church (or let us know if you'd rather us reach out to them personally). And since we don't use social media, you can even feel free to share our WonderWe page on your social media if you feel so inclined to help us out in that way!
We love you and look forward to keeping in touch with you as the Lord continues to walk with us. Please keep us in your prayers, and know that we’ll be praying for you too! :)
St. JPII, pray for us!
St. Francis, pray for us!
If you can’t tell, we’re pretty passionate about this stuff!! We want to share a few resources that have been particularly transformative for us on the New Evangelization, Theology of the Body, the role of artists in the Church, and the call to revitalize Christian culture:
What is the New Evangelization? - Ave Maria Press article
Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West
Leisure the Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper (a 20th century philosopher, but he is more than WELL WORTH the effort to read!)
Only the Lover Sings by Josef Pieper
Restoration of Christian Culture by John Senior (fair warning - this one is challenging, but awesome!)