Decorating is a way to love and serve those who live in and visit your home. In fact, that’s at the very heart of how the saints decorated — anything they did in their homes was especially for others, not just for their own enjoyment. These holy men and women used decorating as a way to bring joy and meaning to the people around them.
Here are examples from 3 saints’ lives, and suggestions for how you can imitate what they did.
1St. Marianne Cope -- The difference color and texture make
Sister Marianne Cope brought color in the form of bright and beautiful fabrics and flowers into the homes of leprosy patients in Hawaii.
In the late 1800s, anyone with leprosy in Hawaii had to leave their homes and move to the island of Molokai so they didn’t infect anyone else. Sister Marianne came at the request of Fr. Damien De Veuster to help serve everyone on the island. She decided it was her mission to bring beauty wherever she went, and started by painting and planting. She added new trees and bushes and flowers wherever she could, and painted people’s rooms in inviting colors.
Fabric and textiles were also important to Sister Marianne, and she found people who would donate beautiful leftover fabrics to the island. These made their way into people’s lives as clothing as well as home decorations.
So, the next time you’re wondering whether to paint a wall white again or try a color, go for color! If you haven’t thought about the textiles in your home recently — the curtains, rugs, table linens, blankets — don’t be afraid to refresh them or add a little pattern and texture.
2Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur -- Making sure each space in the home reflects its purpose, with an emphasis on hospitality
Elizabeth Leseur spent a great deal of time creating a beautiful home environment for herself and her husband to enjoy in late 19th-century France. She wanted to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere for the many guests who came to both their apartment in town and their country home. That meant making sure the sitting and dining rooms were comfortable and appropriate for friends and dinner guests.
One of the ways Elisabeth showed God’s love to others was by investing herself fully into conversations to get to know people intimately. A reason she was able to focus so well was that she geared her home to hospitality, which left her free to engage in conversation fully.
How can we do this? One idea is trying to prepare as much of the food and drinks in advance as possible so we can be more available to engage with guests.
3St. Thomas More -- Selecting and displaying meaningful items in our homes
St. Thomas More brought back interesting and beautiful items from his travels to display around his house, to teach his children and to entertain his guests. He believed that beauty and education were very important and he took every opportunity to give his children access to both.
In our own homes, we shouldn’t be wary of displaying art, statues, prints, and other memorable items. But all the better when each decorative item is something meaningful. These items are a good way to start a conversation and to share a piece of yourself with anyone who visits.
Whether it’s adding color and texture, finding ways to cut back on stress to be fully present to your guests, or displaying items unique to you and your family, follow in the footsteps of these holy homemakers and you can’t go wrong. St. Thomas, Elisabeth, and St. Marianne, pray for us!
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