Thursday, May 12, 2016

Visiting Mickey McGrath's Studio and Joseph's House in Camden

Thursday greetings from the very, very green Midwest, where we received nearly two inches of rain overnight.

Yesterday morning, I had the privilege and honor of visiting Brother Mickey McGrath's studio in Camden, New Jersey. Mickey's studio is in a poor neighborhood, a place that, as Mickey describes, "has really changed my perspective on everything."

This post will be filled with photos. The second floor of the row house is where Mickey does most of his work. Here is one wall lined with some of his recent paintings.

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And here is the spot that I wanted to see for so long; the place where Mickey stands to do his drawing and painting.


And here we are, with a lovely image of Christ on the wall behind us.



After the delicious breakfast that Mickey made, we talked about a future project with WLP, and I am so excited that we will be working with Mickey as he creates a follow-up to his immensely popular and award winning Dear Young People: Inspiration from Pope Francis for Everyone. We did lots of creative thinking and I think this new book is going to be a delight!

After our visit, Mickey took me over to Joseph's House, a homeless shelter.


I have seen photos and heard Mickey talk about this special place for quite some time. Believing that creating beauty can help heal and save, Mickey created some drawings on the walls of Joseph's House. Clients who use the shelter, as well as members of volunteer groups, have helped add the color to these drawings, actually doing the painting. I am so proud that WLP and J.S. Paluch helped to provide the materials for this project.

Here are some photos. These are the cots upon which sleep those who seek shelter here during the overnight hours.


And here is Brother Mickey, standing in front of the paintings.


And here are two photos of the three paintings on either wall.



I was so moved as we walked through Joseph's House. In too many places, the homeless are considered society's "throw-aways." But here, they are obviously given care and are surrounded with beauty that they themselves have helped create.

Art has such a capacity to reach into the human soul and do the work of transformation. I hope that the people who gaze on these works of art are touched by God.

Finally, here is a photo of Mickey and me as we concluded a very special morning visit.



Thank you, Mickey.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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