Holy Angels' Gilreath answers the artist's call
MOUNT AIRY — In a letter to artists in 1999, Pope John Paul II stressed the importance of their creative work. "In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God."
Exemplifying that spirit is a beautiful painting of the Holy Family that hangs on the rear wall of the Monsignor Duncan Center at Holy Angels in Mount Airy. The artist is Anthony Danna, who completed the work at age 81. He is the uncle of parishioner Betty Gilreath, whose youngest daughter Ashley is following in the footsteps of her creative ancestor.
Ashley Gilreath is a resident artist and instructor at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago and is making quite an impression in the art community. One of her pieces, an intricate portrait necklace, titled "I Am Who They Were," is featured in the October/November issue of American Craft Magazine.
Her work is unique and captivating, combining her passion for metalworking with an avid interest in exploring her family's history. Betty Gilreath fondly describes her daughter as an "old soul" who inherited her grandfather's skill in working with metal as a jeweler and watch repairman. Gilreath expressed her love for her grandfather and honored his trade by crafting a piece that resembles an old-fashioned pocket watch. It won "Best in Show" at her alma mater, East Carolina University, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Her breathtakingly diverse portfolio includes a collection of reliquaries.
"Historically, reliquaries are containers used to preserve the remains of an individual, and often are illustrative in nature," she explains. "With my work I attempt to honor the history of my family. Having thoroughly researched my family's past, I investigated the lost biographies of those who had died long ago. The everyday experiences they shared interested me the most, and how they interacted with the people whose lives intersected their own. My pieces open and close, representing the dynamics of human relationships we experience in life. The found materials I incorporate in each work also play an important role in narrating the stories of the individual."
One of the women immortalized in a reliquary titled "Cloistered" is Gilreath's great-aunt, Sister Maria, a Poor Clare nun who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Gilreath muses, "She forgot many things, but her faith in God never diminished. As a cloistered nun, she was both literally and figuratively separated from her former life, until the very end."
Gilreath's skill and artistry has preserved her great-aunt's memory, most appropriate during this 800th anniversary of the Poor Clares order. The piece won an honorable mention and is on display at the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee as part of the International Juried Enamelist exhibition.
To see more from Gilreath's portfolio, go to www.AshleyGilreath.com.
— Peggy Bowes, Correspondent
Father Shawn O'Neal: In this debate, remember Church teaching on human rightsAs a means to develop a comprehensive plan to reform our nation's current immigration system, a group of senators has introduced legislation formally called the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013."...
Father Matthew Buettner: Radical ChristianityRecently, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Three young people died in the explosion, including an 8-year-old boy who received his first Holy Communion just 11 months ago. Along with these...
The Poor Clares: Joy and sacrificeSt. Paul was a man passionate with zeal and consumed by love for God and desire for the salvation of souls. His actions and words were geared toward one purpose: the claiming of souls from the dominion of the devil, and the deceit used by him...
Brian Williams:The honest 411 on Vatican III recently had the opportunity to take a class about the Second Vatican Council offered through a diocesan adult education program. While much was covered within a relatively short span of four classes, one subject occupied much of our time...
William L. Esser IV: Love and 'gay marriage'It's always best to get your disclaimer on the table early, so here is mine: I'm a lawyer, I love my Catholic faith, and I love my country. So it should come as no surprise that I have been following the recent "gay marriage" cases before the...
Peggy Bowes: Be the stranger"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." — Blanche DeBois, "A Streetcar Named Desire" I was quietly praying the rosary, holding a "Pray to Stop Abortion" sign outside Planned Parenthood in Winston-Salem, when a delivery truck...
Deacon James Toner: On Christian RealismWe Catholics often find ourselves trying to chart a wise and balanced course between justice and mercy, between solemnity and a touch of appropriate humor, between the classical and the contemporary. So it is with the law of love and the fact...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Warrior saints are found throughout historyRegarding the April 26 letter criticizing St. Nicholas of Flue, I am disgusted that an American would insinuate that a soldier who distinguishes himself or herself in combat is not following...
Who would be worthy?In a letter in the April 26 Catholic News Herald, St. Nicholas of Flue was referred to as someone who "did not follow those teachings" of Christ because he defended the faith with his sword and...
St. Peregrine is a model to followI greatly admire the saints. The stories of youthful saints speak powerfully to me and never fail to captivate me; since I am 15, I can relate particularly to them. When I read the article about...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy