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Rather, it may be that here lies the most extraordinary aspect of his life. His first steps in the Church were not easy ones. A certain moralistic view of Christianity threatened to suffocate the very gift of art that had led him to conversion. That was when I met him and realized the greatness of his vocation but also the risks he ran if this did not find the right context.

Congdon needed a place and a friendship through which, every day, he could be embraced by the dizzying mercy of Christ, just as he was, with all the dark sides and contradictions of his personality, which was so intimately connected with his art. He found this place when he met Father Giussani in Since then, Congdon never abandoned the discreet, magnanimous companionship which was for him GS first and then CL.

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Rather it was just this need to create a proper place for his calling that contributed in good measure to the birth of some of the first adult initiatives of the Movement. Among these was the Memores Domini house at Gudo Gambaredo And thus it was that he came to Buccinasco.

Yes, but first came the foundation of the monastic community at the Cascinazza in In a certain sense this reality was born out of the experience of Subiaco when, in , we discovered the Benedictine hermitage of the Blessed Lorenzo and had the idea of a community of artists, and then of a place for retreats and vacations for the numerous groups of the Movement. And it was some young novices from the monastery of Santa Scolastica at Subiaco who, together with a few older monks, gave life to the monastic foundation which now lives at the Cascinazza.

Here Congdon, by this point approaching old age, accepted the proposal to settle there after having lived in Assisi for 17 years. This too was an act of obedience: this like the Memores house in Gudo was his reality, above and beyond his 'aesthetic' preferences, and right here, in this austere obedience, his painting flourished as never before. What does the Foundation have to do with all this?

The Foundation which, just as Bill chose to remain always an American citizen, is American as well, even though recognized under Italian law wants to be for Congdon's work what Gudo and the Cascinazza were for him as a person: a context, a home to harbor what he used to call his 'Gift.

The Foundation is the 'home' that allows Congdon's art to be seen and encountered, and permits it to speak to the largest number of people, even the simplest, those who know nothing about matters of art. This is the reason for these shows and for all the work that has gone into publishing his writings and also the distribution of the video in which we can still hear his live testimony. But I would like to add one last thing.

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The Foundation is above all the instrument through which Congdon's work can be given to Christ's Church, to which it completely belongs. One of our initiatives in this sense was, for example, the volume, The Sabbath of History, in which Congdon's images were placed alongside the beautiful meditations of Cardinal Ratzinger. What Bill has left behind that is, a truly impressive corpus of works, writings, and documents has by now been offered to the Church and the world as material for study and research on art, but also on faith in our time.

And currently three students are working on their theses at the Foundation. Current Events School Church Culture From the Press Two years have now passed since Bill Congdon's death, and already two large anthological exhibitions have been devoted to his work in Madrid, Spain, and in Bassano del Grappa, Italy while a third is being planned for the summer of in his birthplace, Providence, Rhode Island. It's about a three hour drive and it is our favorite getaway location. Around this time last year was no exception.

Stormy weather and spectacular views on today’s afternoon half-day tour. …

We explored new places. I made a little heart paper weight, it's adorable. But I digress. One of the afternoons while walking hand in hand along the beach I found a few pieces of beautiful driftwood. The visitor center in Gold Beach hides glass floats along the beach. We have searched every trip and never found one before. I had the intention of making something different than the wood projects I normally make. I wanted something I just needed the right inspiration. At the end our week, we loaded our treasures: my driftwood, glass float and memories into our truck headed home.


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The driftwood later got set on my desk and sat there Waiting for me to really exercise my creativity but life and kids and running a business took precedence. Fast forward nearly a year. There I am sitting at my desk, wanting to make something special for my husband for his birthday. When my pirate ship plank called to me again.

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The craft: I started by taking a rag and cleaning the sand off my piece of driftwood. A smile spread across my face as I remembered that walk on the beach. Next I designed my artwork. I will admit that I am nerd for small details. It a subtle reminder to us that when life gets hard again, here is exactly where we need to go.


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I thought about the arrow carefully when designing my artwork. I also did some internet research and got the latitude and longitude for our beach. I did reverse weeding the process of taking the words or artwork out and leaving the access so that you create a stencil. The lines may not be as clean or sharp, but if you are going for a more rustic look, this works just fine, just do not burnish the vinyl down as thoroughly as you would normally.

Next, I laid the compass rose I cut out, on my driftwood, halfway off so that only part of the design would show. While the paint was still wet I removed the vinyl. I let the paint dry completely! This is important, because if you are laying colors like I did and your paint is still slightly wet, it will peel off or smear. Once dry, I placed my second template, painted the lettering and arrow white for a nice contrast to the blue and dark wood. I love the way it pops off the driftwood. So it's been a long stormy road for us.

But we haven't given up yet.


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