• October 28, 2014
en

From the Brazilian Favelas
to a Calligraphy Business

by Erica Tighe, alumnae from Brazil and member of the St. Maximilien Kolbe Fraternity

“At the begin­ning of September, I offi­cially launched my cal­lig­raphy busi­ness named Be A Heart. I got the name back in 2010 during my ori­en­ta­tion pro­gram at the Heart’s Home Center in New York prior to leaving for Brazil, I heard the phrase, “be a heart, nothing but a heart.” Someone said it and a little spark flew in me that said, “yes, that will be my whole mis­sion, to be a heart.” I painted a sign to hang next to my bunk bed to remind myself when things got busy that my main job was to simply be a heart.

I cannot quite artic­u­late what that means in words other than that it is to live in love for the other. My friends and the chil­dren who lived with us in the Fazenda do Natal were the best exam­ples of what that means and I am forever indebted to their souls. I also learned in Brazil that beauty was one of the ways to reignite a soul and was a way to leave a lasting “heart” in a place. Beauty cul­ti­vates a sense of hope, a sense of con­nect­ed­ness, a sense of the inter­min­gling of human and divine and I wanted to work towards that.

When I returned to the States, my desire to live this way didn’t stop. I had to figure out how I was going to “be a heart” in my everyday life. I con­tinued writing my blog col­lecting ordi­nary and insightful expe­ri­ences as well as a com­pi­la­tion of inspi­ra­tion and beau­tiful things. This led to exploring ways to do cre­ative pro­jects myself. On a whim at the art store, I bought a cal­lig­raphy pen and fell in love with the way that it instantly made a simple thing—like a hand addressed envelope—that more beau­tiful. To be honest, in the begin­ning I was quite ter­rible. But each day I prac­ticed and grad­u­ally got better. Eventually people started asking to buy my work—some­thing I never fath­omed. With time, my hobby turned into a busi­ness. I launched the site (with my brother as my busi­ness man­ager) at bea­heart.com. I now do custom prints, invi­ta­tions, greeting cards and more. I also ven­tured into water­color paint­ings and love the col­li­sion of the two mediums. With this, I get to bring tiny bits of beauty into the world every day.

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It’s exciting to have a com­pany that reminds me daily of its begin­nings with Heart’s Home. I get to carry my friends with me in each envelope addressed and painting made. I love to think of the people who receive my work and hope that they expe­ri­ence a moment of joy. I pray that God may con­tinue to guide me on this journey to live a life of com­pas­sion—to live a life as a heart, nothing but a heart.”

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