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.
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.”