The Illustrator

Twenty-five alumni from 25 years of the Catholic Studies program: Erin Kelly.

Artist and designer Erin Kelly doesn’t like to get too comfortable when it comes to her faith.

She’d known about the Catholic studies major before choosing St. Thomas, but she was worried it would be “too safe.”

“I thought, ‘I’m already Catholic; what more do I need to know?’” But then a friend invited her to Mass at Sitzmann Hall. “I quickly became drawn to the building, the professors and the program. I saw it was anything but comfortable; in fact, every day, every class was so challenging and emotional and pushed me to be uncomfortable – in the best, most beautiful way.”

Kelly, who since graduating St. Thomas has been active in communicating “that Catholic thing” in writing, design and art, noted just how important beauty is in forming the soul and how difficult it is for organizations to find truly Catholic creatives who can effectively communicate the deepest and most beautiful truths of the faith. Her companies specifically serve Catholic organizations and individuals, helping them to communicate their message and mission to modern audiences through targeted storytelling.

“[Josef Piper once said], and I agree, that ‘man’s ability to see is in decline,’” she says. “I also think our ability to create is in decline. There isn’t much space for art, creativity, silence, musing, leisure or hobbies these days … But the joy of creating is good for the soul, as is the beauty of the art itself. It calls us outside of ourselves. It makes our world a little bit bigger. And it’s OK and even good to use modern communication methods to bring beauty into the world. We have to speak in a language that our audience can understand to lead them to the beauty. … Beauty is a vehicle for communication and conversion.”

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