Saint Clare of Assisi Catholic Church’s mosaics are a labor of love
Mosaics are like the perfect puzzle — when the pieces are placed together they create a beautiful piece of art. Mosaics will be an important accent when construction of Daniel Island’s Saint Clare of Assisi Catholic Church is completed next year.
The mosaics will be handcrafted by the tireless dedication of local volunteers.
Several years ago, Daniel Island resident Catherine August began researching religious architecture artwork. The artist found inspiration from Basilica di Santa Chiara in Assisi and started to work on her designs for six mosaics. After reviewing her ideas with Saint Clare’s pastor, Father Gregory West, and church committee members, August began laying the groundwork for the future church’s mosaics.
August was able to help cut costs by using a company in Atlanta and picking up the tiles to avoid the shipping costs. Volunteers were able to reclaim tiles from other projects to save even more money.
August is quick to give others credit. “I have wonderful volunteers …This has been a terrific way to get other parishioners involved.”
Community members have been eager to lend a helping hand. Bishop England baseball coach Mike Darnell recruited his players to help transport heavy tile boards for sorting.
Daniel Island parishioners Janie Still, Micki O’Connell, and Stephanie Iauco painstakingly started the process by sorting tile pieces into like colors, cleaning off gummy residue, removing the netting from previously used tiles, and cutting the tile squares into a number of different shapes.
“I have such a small part in the creation of these intricate masterpieces!,” Still said. “Catherine has been the mastermind behind all of it…The amount of time she put into researching the creative process, designing the artwork, getting the materials, guiding us on what to do…is all a huge testament of her love for the Catholic church.”
Working on the project can be time consuming, but volunteers are happy to help bring the project to life. “We knew that much of the work needing to be done was tedious and just required time…They are going to be incredible! Mosaics are part of the liturgical tradition of Catholic Church architecture. They are as modern as they are historical. Helping with this project has been so special for us,” Still added.
O’Connell had a lot of fun working on the project and enjoyed learning about the “symbolism involved in liturgical architecture.”
The first of six mosaics will be completed and installed in the 22,000-square-foot Gothic Revival structure’s narthex (entrance) in time for Saint Clare’s grand opening. The remaining mosaics will be installed later, giving members the chance to be an integral part of the project.
August hopes parishioners will participate in creating the next five mosaics and provide a real sense of ownership and accomplishment. “I’d like to have as many people involved as possible so when people walk through they can look down and say ‘I laid this stone, scraped those tiles. I’m a part of this church. I helped build this.’”
To make a donation to the project go to https://www.clare.church/blessed-to-build-campaign.html.
Editor's Note: This article was update to note that St. Clare Basilica is actually called Basilica di Santa Chiara and is located in Assisi and not in Sicily.