Vendor Spotlight | Visual Grace

In one of his early Theology of the Body audiences, Saint John Paul II called attention to the profound wholeness--the integration, resulting in true integrity--of the human person: “When the first man exclaims at the sight of the woman, ‘she is flesh from my flesh and bone from my bones’ (Gen 2:23), he simply affirms the human identity of both. By exclaiming this, he seems to say, Look, a body that expresses the ‘person’ can also say that this ‘body’ reveals the ‘living soul,’ which man became when God-Yahweh breathed life into him (see Gen 2:7).”

Even in our fallen world outside of Eden, on this side of heaven, sacred art can powerfully redirect our attentions to the fullness and purity of who we are, through works that glorify the body and stir the soul. Kate Capato, a professional sacred art painter, dancer, choreographer, and photographer founded Visual Grace with the goal of sharing ”artistic expressions of truth goodness and beauty.”

A world traveler and former missionary based in Pennsylvania (and shooting weddings worldwide), Kate’s artistic talents are visibly informed by her love for and understanding of encounter: a desire to truly see and acknowledge each person, made in the Father’s image. With wedding photography in particular, Kate deeply values getting to know her clients’ relationship and personalities, the better to capture their story on their wedding day.

What’s more, her many artistic gifts beautifully influence and complement each other: “Because I am a painter,” Kate says, “I love looking at photography in a similar way by paying close attention to colors and composition when snapping an image.” Together, all the parts of an image add up to an outer, sacramental expression of our inner life, inspiring “the restoration of who we are as Man and Woman.”

From Kate: Due to my experience with mission work and passion for the faith, I have a comfortability with people and a deep awareness of the Sacredness. Many folks say they are very grateful for the reverence I show during a wedding ceremony, though for me it is something very normal to who I am. I also love getting couples to be themselves so will do my very best to learn about their relationship that it may blossom and show.  

An interview with Kate

What inspires your work? How does your Catholic faith play a role in your business? As a professional sacred art painter, I am inspired to create painterly images with meaning in photographs as well. I look for key spiritual moments, even if just simple, and do my best to show them off, as there are so many aspects to life that speak of God’s goodness.

Favorite devotions: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint John Paul II, both artists and lovers of beauty. JPII plays a special role in my work due to his teaching on Theology of the Body and his love of the arts. Our Lady of Guadalupe is quite present in my life as well, a mother of the Americas and an artist in so many ways. Not to mention a witness of profound love and openness. I could go on all day about the two of them.

My favorite thing about working on weddings: I love seeing the bride and groom in this moment of great joy. It is a blessing to get a front row seat and see how the Holy Spirit moves in their lives.

Ministries I’m involved with: The Culture Project, a nonprofit initiative whose mission is to “uphold the dignity and potential of every human person, especially in regard to our sexuality.” 

3 things on my bucket list: Sky dive, ride an elephant, travel to and paint in many different countries!

Favorite place I’ve traveled: Cinque Terra, Italy. It is a beautiful hiking experience that overlooks the sea and brings you into the cute, tiny Italian villages. Every step is breathtaking, not to mention the wine is phenomenal.

Favorite food: Indian

Love means: to will the good of the other.


Editors' Picks | Vol. 14: Catholic Home Décor

At Spoken Bride, we love a good book, a good meal, a standout statement necklace, a heel you can dance in, and the list goes on. And when we make those discoveries, we want to tell everyone. So every month or two, we're sharing our latest and favorite finds in everything engagement, wedding, and honeymoon-related.

Did you know the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide has a Gifts & Home Décor section? In addition to the artists and creators whom we’re proud to partner with, today we’re also sharing additional items that inspire beauty and prayer in your home (non-sponsored).

Framed artwork: Spoken Bride Vendor Michelle Arnold Paine

Framed artwork: Spoken Bride Vendor Michelle Arnold Paine

Stephanie, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief

Vatican Gift Icons: Iconography has been my favorite type of religious art for a long time; I love the immersive nature of the images for both artist and viewer and their many deep, beautiful layers of prayer and symbolism. Icons purchased through the Vatican’s online gift shop can be blessed by the Holy Father at your request--if you and your beloved aren’t honeymooning in Rome, items like these are a wonderful option for acknowledging your unique call as spouses within the universal Church.

Consecrate This House print: To celebrate your first home as husband and wife is to accept the invitation to make the home a domestic church and school of love. This elegant print from a Catholic-owned shop (one of our brides!) inspired by Scripture is a reminder “of God's presence within our homes and that He will never abandon us.”  It would take on a wonderful significance in your entryway, dining space, or another area of your home where your friends and family gather.

Wrought Iron Advent Candle Holder: I’m drawn to simple design for my home and love the clean styling of this candle holder, which could be dressed up with scattered greenery during the Advent season and would fit well with minimalist, rustic, or modern decor.


Jiza, Co-Founder & Creative Director

Monastery Icons: This company offers a wide variety of sacred art, including sculpture, jewelry, and, of course, icons. All icons are written by a religious brother in the U.S.

Lily Porter Niederpruem Art: It’s beautiful when the concept of “Catholic” art extends beyond the literal. For the abstract art lover, Lily Niederpruem describes her colorful, Impressionist-style oil paintings as an invitation to contemplate the spirituality of God at work in the natural world, “because nature shares an intimate relationship with the sacred.” Graphite drawings and watercolors are also available. I have a print of her Luminous Mysteries painting, and I love it!


Andi, Business Director

Sick Call Crucifix: Our dear friends gave us a crucifix similar to this as a wedding gift, along with holy water, beeswax candles, and instructions on how and when to call a priest for the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Although I generally don’t want to even think about needing to use this kit, I do like acknowledging this sacrament in our home and having necessary items ready. It’s like having an emergency kit for our souls!

Outdoor Statues: When my husband and I first bought our home ten years ago, I stumbled upon an Our Lady of Grace statue at a local outdoor shop and immediately brought her home. She’s lived in various places in our backyard ever since, usually with white roses nearby.

Sacred Heart Enthronement: The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a ceremony led by the Legion of Mary, wherein a family makes a formal entrustment of their lives to Christ. My family participated several years ago, and it was beautiful. We love having the image of Jesus’s Sacred Heart right on our mantel, under Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jesus is right there in the heart of our home, watching over us as we play, read, watch movies.

We love the sensory nature of the Catholic faith and the ways it invites us to contemplate the love of God in tangible ways—including those that can be experienced daily in our homes. Be sure to share the items that draw you into contemplation and beauty in the comments and on our social media.

Vendor Spotlight | Telos Design, LLC

Telos is a term from classical philosophy meaning “end” or “purpose.” And what, in our humanity, is our telos? To return to the Father, the source of all truth, goodness, beauty, and love.

Jessica Connolly, a wife, mother, and Catholic convert, brings our ultimate purpose into her business, striving to “[serve] others through design” and to reflect the maker’s beauty and perfect design for all creation.

A graduate of Kansas State University’s School of Architecture with seven years in the architecture field and five years of design school under her belt, Jessica founded Telos Design in 2011, shortly after entering the Church and sensing a call to pursue work that would allow more freedom and flexibility in motherhood. Her professional experience is evident in the clean-lined, geometric sensibility of her distinctive liturgical calendars that bypass pure function in favor of modern type and fine art. We can hardly think of a more original wedding gift for couples striving to live liturgically.

Unless it’s a custom gift--an offering even more original. Jessica finds herself most inspired by the natural beauty of creation; in addition to digital design, she’s also a gifted painter who specializes in personally commissioned works of art featuring brides’ own bouquets and images of the saints. Using acrylics and gold and silver leaf on wood to capture a precious memento from your big day or the spirit of a favorite intercessor, Jessica’s vivid, organic works remind us something else about God: he is almighty and the source of all, yes, but also a father who loves and knows each of us by name. Personally, unrepeatably. Eternally.

Along with calendars and custom work, Telos Design, LLC also offers beautiful prayer art prints and stationary. Jessica's passion for architecture and design extends beyond her business, too--her blog, A to Z Modern, invites you on her family's journey to renovate and furnish their gorgeous midcentury modern home in Arizona.

From Jessica, on her client experience when creating custom art: After working with high-end design clients, nonprofit organizations and surviving five years in design school, I'm used to harsh critics. And I actually work best with an outside editorial eye. So, I appreciate clients who voice their opinions while also supporting a little freedom in design.



An Encounter With Beauty: Thoughts on TOB, Art + Marriage with Artist Michael Corsini

In anything created there resides a spark of the divine. Any work of human hands is due the Creator himself, a reflection of his perfect beauty. And creation brings forth life.

Life-giving, too, is our identity as man and woman, bride and bridegroom. We are the Father, the maker's most cherished creation, loved and willed into existence in a breathtakingly specific way. His children; his fingerprints.

Michael Corsini is a husband, father, artist, speaker, musician, and worship leader whose daily work and family life speak to the intersection of art, creation, and divine intimacy. A convert to the Catholic faith and former brother with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs), Michael's work is infused with the Theology of the Body.

At Spoken Bride, we strive to constantly pursue and share with you all that is beautiful, true, and good in love and marriage. When we recently happened upon one of Michael's sketches for a future oil painting, A Theology of Marriage, we found ourselves drawn in and had to find out more about the image and the artist behind it. Michael answered a few of our questions, and it's our honor to share his truly stirring thoughts on beauty, art, and vocation.

As a man whose life's work is to create, it's evident that your spirituality is informed by a love for beauty. How does this awareness of the beautiful inform your spiritual life, your marriage, and your family life?

Beauty is the theme of my life and is always surprising me. I find that authentic beauty is very elusive, and because of our human condition, it takes effort to seek it out.

But when it’s found, I think the most startling thing is that it has the ability to affect a radical response from human beings. I mean, beauty can make a man lay down his entire life and reveal to him a personal, unrepeatable mission that he willingly gives himself over to at a profound cost. Beauty makes you want to continually be in its presence, and it impels you to act.

Beauty is special too, in a way, for the artist. In my experience, the artist can only make himself available and open so that beauty can be received as a gift, without grasping it, and trying to make it into his own thing.

I think that marriage, the spiritual life, kids, it’s all like this. It’s all about the encounter with beauty, whether we are ready for it or not, whether we respond or not.

Because beauty is so humble, the scary thing, I think, is that it can be easily missed. Something so beautiful can be right before us and we miss the chance to let it enter in and change us. Mercy. Imagine being in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, walking down a dusty street and you nearly bump into a very tired young couple holding a newborn. They are poor, but have a quiet joy in their eyes. It would be easy to pass by and never give it a thought. This is what I mean. There in that moment passes the Source of all beauty, and it’s so small. This is also a source of pain in the heart of the artist. I am aware of my lack of awareness. I think in a way, the whole Christian life is a gradual opening up of the person to beauty.

You hold an M.A. in Sacred Theology from the JPII Institute, work at the JPII Shrine in Washington, D.C., and have several upcoming projects related to the Theology of the Body. Do TOB and the topics of marriage and family have special significance in your work?

Theology of the Body has not only held a special significance in my artwork, but even more so in my life. It is a gift that has illuminated my vocation! In all the most difficult moments of my reaching toward God to know my vocation, Saint John Paul II has been a father to me. Jesus' title of Bridegroom, and the gradual discovery that Christ wished to live his life in me, showed me the intersection of the desires of my heart and His own. Christ actually desires to live his life as Bridegroom in me!

My work is a kind of gathering up of my whole life journey and discovery, which includes these beautiful insights and inspirations as well as all my doubt and sin. When I work or sing, I feel myself alone before God and also part of the great mass of humanity, in all its present condition, reaching toward God. I am very interested in what modern man needs to hear from the Church at this particular moment in time and in the specific questions we pose to God and to ourselves.  

I think TOB gets at this more concretely than anything else as a re-presentation of the faith. A true new evangelization.

Your "Theology of Marriage" tryptych features scenes from our Fall and our redemption in the Gospels. We're eager to delve into the images and symbols you've used! Tell us more?

The central panel is key to reading the entire image. This is the image of the life of the Bridegroom and the Bride. The veil is torn open, and we see into the central mystery of the faith. Christ is on the Cross, pouring himself out. The Bride--Our Lady and the Church--receives this life. Her body is in the form of a chalice.

Through the Cross we see into the mystery of Heaven: the great fruit of the sacrifice. 

The idea is to show an immeasurable multitude in order to express the great fruitfulness of the Bridegroom and the Bride: children! Blood and water flow from the side of Christ and spill into the side panels. Husband and wife are shown giving themselves to one another adjacent to the image of the last supper, where Christ gives his Body and Blood to the disciples. Both are an image of the total gift of self.  

The side panels are an account of redemption history and are also read in light of one another. The left panel begins (top to bottom) with the creation of Adam in his solitude, the Original Unity of Adam and Eve, the Fall (turning from God and one another), the dysfunctional experience after the Fall (manifest as grasping and a lack of eye contact), and finally an image of Shame.

The right panel begins with the fall of David and his repentance. It moves down to the marriage of Tobias and Sarah. Here reading the panels in light of one another (from side to side) you see Eve reaching to the serpent and Adam to himself. Tobias and Sarah, in contrast, rise from their marriage bed with incense ascending to God, in order to extend themselves together to the Father. Redemption also lies in the Annunciation. The image of Our Lady receiving the indwelling Word--without grasping--is the redemption of Adam and Eve's moment of grasping through one another at the forbidden fruit on the left panel. The final image on this right panel is the Nativity.  I think this moment is profound; the revelation of the face of God! Here Joseph and Mary are present at the birth of Christ, in purity, seeing God face to face.  

You are a convert to the Catholic faith, spent five years with the CFRs, and are now a husband and father. Care to share your conversion, discernment, and love stories?

When I was in college I had a profound encounter with a painting called the “Blue Madonna.” Long story short, I--who was not Catholic--had a loose understanding of who Mary was, but I found myself in the Ringling Museum weeping at the beauty of this woman. She led me out of an addiction to pornography and straight into the Church. Dostoyevsky said “in the end, Beauty will save the world.” This moment was a true example of his words.  

With a healing like this, I was zealous. Within two years I had joined the CFRs, which was truly one of the great blessings of my life. Though I loved my brothers and the life, I struggled through novitiate, and every year of temporary vows I wondered how to reconcile the increasing and specific desire for marriage welling up in me.  

I met my wife, Jessie, while I was a friar. She had been volunteering with the community long before I joined, and I was assigned to the Youth Center in the South Bronx for about six months where we served together. But soon I was off on another apostolate, where I was to remain for the rest of my years in the community.  We saw each other only occasionally during that time but remained friends. Jessie really had no idea what was going on with me and my discernment.  

She went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, found a white rose made of cloth, and received in prayer that it was meant for me, this religious brother she knew. As you can imagine, she was terrified to give a friar a rose…so she didn’t. For over a year and half! Meanwhile, I had been praying for a sign.

I was getting desperate for a concrete expression of God’s will. I had asked for a red rose to signify I should pursue the priesthood, and white, marriage.

Thinking how silly it all was, I was still hoping for the white. One of the friars, whom Jessie had confided her rose story to, told her she had better give it to me, because it didn’t belong to her! And so she did. That moment is precious to me. I knew what it meant, and she didn’t. I was overjoyed, and she saw that in me immediately. After I left the community, Jessie and I quickly discovered we had been living truly parallel lives during those five years and that in God’s beautiful providence he wove our lives together. I am continually grateful, even for the suffering of discernment.  

Even for the less artistic among us, can you suggest any resources or concrete ways to cultivate beauty in one's relationship, marriage, and vocation?

How about a farming analogy? I find it fascinating how many times Jesus used references to farming and agriculture to illuminate deep truths about God. In my family we do a little homesteading. It’s our great desire to live that life more intensely, more full-time, so the image of cultivation is very dear to us. We find in this way of life a deep unity with our vocation to marriage. There are many things here that will die or be severely injured if we don't attend to them daily--and not just our kids! It’s a kind of openness to life that is also an openness to being frequently inconvenienced by another being.

Perpetual awareness of weeds growing, produce which needs to be picked at the right time, and providence: to cultivate beauty in our marriage and family, we need to first prepare a place for it.  

And I recommend picking up something on TOB, even if the original text is too daunting. Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West is a good one!     

And lastly, we'd love to hear any wedding input from a groom's perspective! What piece of wedding planning or newlywed advice would you like to share with Catholic couples?

My wife and I didn’t sweat the details too much. We kept our wedding day pretty simple and focused on giving ourselves in the Sacrament. Most of our attention was toward making the liturgy beautiful, and to that we are indebted to many of the Friars and Sisters of the Renewal. We delegated a lot of details to trustworthy friends and family and let a lot of it go. It was the most beautiful day.  

I want to end with the words of St John Paul II, a true bridegroom of the Church. This is the best marriage advice I have heard.

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.” ~ (Pope St. John Paul II, World Youth Day – Rome, August 19, 2000)

About the Author: Michael's latest musical release, All Things Hoped For, was recorded live as an Advent worship meditation and is now available. Listen to it here.

Website | Video

Vendor Spotlight | When Beauty Met Truth

Vendor Spotlight | When Beauty Met Truth

Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed in his 1978 Christmas Day homily that "the human being is single, unique, and unrepeatable, someone thought of and chosen from eternity, someone called and identified by name." If anything, the sacrament and vocation of marriage are so deeply personal: it is a singular person we are drawn to in marriage, a specific love with which we honor and serve that person, and a mirror of the Father's reckless, divine pursuit of each individual human heart.

Read More