There are a few precious things I have valued for as long as I can remember. They are love for my family, my faith, art, and beauty.
The youngest of 4 kids, my parents originally wanted to have 2 boys and 2 girls. They had 3 boys, were holding out hope. And then I showed up—almost a month early so I could be there to celebrate Christmas, because I can never miss a good celebration! They loved finally having a little girl to dote on, and I also enjoyed dressing up with things that I saw my mom wearing. I’d slip my little feet into her big high heels, raid her jewelry box, and try and be a little lady. But I doubled as a real tomboy, too, so I could hang with my brothers and their friends.
I’m no longer a fan of high heels these days, but I never lost my love of jewelry. I remember begging my poor dad for months as a preteen to have my ears pierced. I had no idea why it was such a big deal, so I persisted, and finally one day, Dad exasperatedly responded, “Because first you want to get your ears pierced, and then you’ll want to wear makeup, and next you’ll want to go out with boys!”
I was stunned. Daddy didn’t want his little girl to grow up. Finally, for my 13th birthday my parents took me to the mall to get my ears pierced. It was a rite of passage for me. I didn’t care about the other stuff. I just wanted to wear earrings at the time, but as an adult looking back now, I can see how that was a step along the path to young adulthood that my parents were taking with me.
Born a “cradle Catholic” in the Metro Detroit area, I am grateful for the gift of faith, nurtured by my parents. I also was born a creative. God has given me gifts to express that in various ways: singing, drawing, painting, writing, playing guitar, storytelling across various mediums, crafting, and baking have been the primary ways I express my creativity.
When I have an opportunity to discover other artists who love the Faith and are using their gifts to create work that combines beauty, faith, and creativity, it is inspiring. And if they are another family-owned small business, all the better! I discovered a kindred spirit when I recently connected with Jessica, the founder of Telos Art Shop. Her family, her faith, and her religious jewelry and gifts are all so beautiful.
The name Telos is inspired by the Greek word τέλος, which means inherent purpose. They are a family-owned Catholic jewelry company dedicated to supporting the ultimate purpose of others by crafting unique Catholic jewelry and gifts with imagination, creativity, and originality. Whether it be a Catholic medal, a symbolic ring, or handmade earrings, the beauty of each design is intended to point toward a greater reality. With a deeper purpose in their work, they consider it a privilege for their family to support others with inspired religious jewelry and gifts.
Since our ministry is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I was thrilled to receive a gold Sacred Heart Pendant on a dainty chain. The details are stunning with the fire extending forth from the Heart of Jesus, encircled in a crown of thorns, with rays of light emanating from it.
What I love about religious jewelry is that it’s not only meaningful and beautiful, but can be used to connect with others, to evangelize, and to protect us. It expresses and fosters devotion to Our Lord, the saints, Our Lady, and so on. I have made spiritual connections with other women I just met over a St. Therese medal, or an Our Lady of Guadalupe pendant worn at the time.
Religious jewelry can also be sources of grace. The miraculous medal is a sacramental, which is a means of disposing one’s soul to receive grace, and the St. Benedict medal is actually a prayer of exorcism. St. Benedict urged us that it is “a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage ‘walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide.’”
My favorite Telos Art Shop story involves a piece of jewelry that I do not even own. When Jessica and I connected and I shared how we’d love to feature her shop here on the blog, I shared our core devotions and then left it up to her as to what to send us. I received a package with the Sacred Heart necklace and a gold ring with a sunburst design, reminiscent of a monstrance or a golden halo.
When I looked at them both, I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to send the ring to our Editor, Caitlyn. When I shipped it to her, I jotted a quick note to her, writing something about “His Betrothed” which just came to me in the moment.
After she received my package, I met with Caitlyn for our weekly editorial meeting. She shared that when she last met with her spiritual director, she was talking about feeling a tension between being already married to Jesus in a sense, and at the same time not yet in any official public way. Father smiled and told her, “You’re betrothed.” She just sat for a moment in mild shock because he so simply put a word to what she was struggling to identify. The backstory that Caitlyn has shared here is that she has felt a calling to the vocation of consecrated virginity.
When Caitlyn read my note with the Telos sunburst ring, she had to reread “His Betrothed” about 8 times. She had asked Jesus for a ring, but never spoken that aloud to anyone, yet there it was! And she commented how it looks like it’s in the shape of a crown, which is what we’ll receive in heaven for our vocation. The ring was also sized to fit her ring finger. I had never provided any sizes to Jessica, and that ring was too large for my fingers.
My mind was blown. I love how God uses all things! I shared this story with Jessica because artists and creators may never discover in this life how our art moves the souls of our recipients.
As of the beginning of October, Telos Art was taking a short break with the shop to catch up, spend time with family, and plan for the holidays. I totally get it—sometimes God calls one to a time of rest. But Jessica just announced on their Instagram that they will be back up and running soon, with an update going out this week, so go sign up for their newsletter to get that notice, as she’ll be having a quick Flash Sale with a few items very soon!