Artist leads retreat at Joseph’s House shelter

Artist leads retreat at Joseph’s House shelter

As rain fell in Camden on a recent Tuesday night, the mood was warm and uplifting inside the shelter at Joseph’s House of Camden located at 555 Atlantic Avenue. Rows of cots were cleared from the dormitory to make room for gathering tables decorated with fresh flowers, where shelter guests, donors, volunteers, staff, and board members gathered to reflect on the feast day of Saint Joseph, officially observed on March 19.

Camden resident Brother Mickey McGrath, an Oblate of Saint Francis de Sales, led the room through a journey of his artwork, specifically those works inspired by Saint Joseph, many of which grace the walls of Joseph’s Houses.

He described to all “the silent saint” who “in the quiet, could then hear the voice of God.”  Brother Mickey challenged the group to take quiet moments as a respite to the daily problems and challenges life often brings. He suggested that in these silent moments, individuals will hear the voice of God, guiding them.  Brother Mickey described the appeal of his artwork as “universal, taking stories from the Scriptures and transforming them into images that are relatable to all walks of life.

A soup and bread supper followed, as shelter guests shared their enjoyment of the evening. “It was very special for us to be together and hear what we can do to make our lives better through Saint Joseph,” remarked one guest.

John Klein, executive director and one of the founders of Joseph’s House, took the opportunity to thank donors and volunteers with handcrafted pottery bowls created by local potter, Margo Schreiber of Haddonfield. Donors and volunteers were thanked for “filling the emptiness” often felt by the more than 500 homeless men and women who pass through Joseph’s House every year.

Shelter guests of Joseph’s House receive not only food and shelter but referrals to community partners and programs, leading them out of homelessness and onto greater self-sufficiency. Last year Joseph’s House helped transition 42 percent of its guests onto stable and/or supportive housing.

To learn more about Joseph’s House, please visit jhoc.org or call 856-246-1087. 

Related news

— Brother Mickey McGrath currently has work on display at the Villanova University Art Gallery. “The Love Which Moves the Sun and Stars: The Art of Brother Mickey McGrath and a Collection of Papal Artifacts” includes many pieces that were directly inspired by the pope’s words or deeds.

The exhibit, which will be on display until Aug. 10, includes more than 50 pieces: acrylic paintings, pen and ink drawings and digital drawings on cloth, paper and glass.

The gallery is located in the Connelly Center on the Villanova campus. On campus parking is available. More information at www1.villanova.edu/villanova/studentlife/artgallery/CurrentExhibit.html

— Brother Mickey McGrath will present The Church as Maternal Womb of Mercy: A Celebration of Mary at Saint John Church, Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Collingswood, on May 10, at 7 p.m. There will also be a May procession and Marian hymns.

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