The Little Flower (Saint Therese of Lisieux)

Submitted by Michele vandenHeuvel

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Client: Rev. Vincent Chavez, Shrine of the Little Flower - St. Therese Parish

Location: Albuquerque, NM, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $42,000

Project Team

Artist

Michele vandenHeuvel

Bené Bronze

Industry Resource

Samuel Sievert

Midnight Arc Metalwerke

Overview

The Little Flower is a life-size bronze sculpture of St. Therese of Lisieux, seated on a 4 foot long bronze bench. She holds a bouquet of flowers, with one hand extended outwards, so visitors can sit with her, visit and hold her hand.

Goals

My goal when sculpting this piece was to create a sculpture of the beloved Saint that was welcoming, accessible, touchable and interactive. I wanted the Little Flower to become “real” to the visitor sitting with her. These “welcoming” factors were most important considering that the sculpture was to become the “center” of a walking labyrinth in a rose garden designed by Rev. Chavez that he designed and created behind the church.

Process

Early on in our discussions of the creation of The Little Flower sculpture, Rev. Chavez and I shared the same vision that the sculpture would be a welcoming, warm interactive piece for the parishioners of St. Therese and visitors.

Her creation, from acquiring the funding, to my sculpting time, to the casting of this sculpture, has been nothing short of miraculous. Due to word constraints, I cannot describe the miracles here, but have them in written form; I would be happy to send the story to anyone who is interested in reading it. Rev. Chavez and I are still overwhelmed by how the events of the creation of the St. Therese sculpture unfolded.

My son, Samuel Sievert, is my welder and production manager, and worked closely with Mr. Bill Weaver, his staff and Shidoni Foundry in Santa Fe, NM, who cast the sculpture. The installation of The Little Flower into her garden at St. Therese Parish was celebrated on her Feast Day, October 1st.