We now find ourselves at St. Raphael’s, the building where our artists work in weaving, pottery, painting and any number of various handicrafts. How their work is an expression of the Gospel has its roots in Catherine Doherty’s religious vision of restoring people to Christ:
“The artists of the handicraft department in Madonna House are charged by Christ with two things; first, to gather up the fragments lest they be lost. It should be very important for them to help sort donations. They must not turn up their noses when they see what appears to them to be ‘junk.’ The ‘junk’ God puts into their hands is, again, a sort of clay. He says, ‘Behold, I took clay and fashioned you. Now I give you lumps of clay. Fashion beauty for me, the beauty I saw in man when I first fashioned him. Let your beauty reflect some of my own glory, some of my own beauty.’
It is their task to gather up the fragments and to restore, to make new. This is what God does — he constantly restores us, constantly makes us new.
Secondly, the artists of Madonna House must be ingenious with the ingenuity of love. They must be able to use materials that other people might reject. One man’s scrap is another man’s gold. Artists know they are creatures. They know they have to lean on God. They know that God is the great Artist. They know that if they are in love with God, they too will be ingenious with the ingenuity of love.” Many of the handicrafts made at St. Raphael’s end up in the Gift Shop.