I'd always contributed artwork to my Parish of Holy Rosary; I'd used it to help the children understand their faith whenever needed. Along side this, I had restored small pieces of devotional statuary for those who sought me out.
Personally, I felt a little awed of anyone who did this kind of work; Just as no one ever saw the "Christmas elves" who made all the presents; they seemed a faceless mystery in a sphere of life beyond my reach.
At that time an Anglican pastor: Revd. Father Bechtold had sought me out to restore a modest statue of St. Peter ;- it was carved wood and around 30 inches high. " I want it to be as authentic as possible" he smiled, his eyes sparkling with enthusiasm...
I used all the traditional materials and methods on this treasured figure of St. Peter.
When the statue was restored he affirmed in his warm American accent : "The Holy Spirit helped me find you !"
But that my dear friends is a whole other story...
The company who was restoring the statue of Saint Anthony took a long time to return him. Naturally this built up everyones anticipation. When the day came, I was surprised to see my priest looking troubled and somewhat disappointed. Parishioners had not responded well to the Church outfitter's make -over of the statue.
Uncertain of a way forward; after some thought, Father kindly asked me (in his usual understated way) if I might "tidy things up a bit".
I could see that more than a "Little tidying" was needed; and so we agreed that I should re- paint it " as the Italians would have!"
It was one of those occasions one recognises a "God incident" and though I felt a little daunted - I believed the Lord would see me through, as it seemed such an odd situation that his hand must be in it.
Once I had re-painted St. Anthony, it was clear that everyone was happy with the results.. I was then allowed to paint Saint Jude; and the remaining five statues. Subsequently, I have been restoring Church statues for a living ever since!
Thank you Saint Anthony, you helped me find my path!
Lewis and Lewis
is a Catholic family run business: specialising in statue restoration, and church interior projects.
Jeanette is a professional sculptor/fine artist and designer; husband David is a traditional upholsterer/technician.
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