Aleteia sits down with Catholic artist Fleur Nabert to talk about the new spiritual jewelry line she is launching in the United States, and about how St. Therese has inspired her in her work and in her life.
Aleteia: You are a well-known Catholic artist in France and, for the Feast Day of St. Therese of Lisieux, you are launching in the United States a spiritual jewelry line inspired by this universally beloved saint. You have the same name (fleur means flower, like the Little Flower) and the same citizenship — tell us more about your special bond with Therese!
Therese has been my best friend in Heaven for years! It all started when the former Rector of Lisieux asked me in 2011 to entirely redesign the Chapel “Our Lady of the Smile” in the Sanctuary of Lisieux, where Therese was born. As a sculptor, I created the statue of Therese; a Tabernacle surrounded by the golden silhouette of the Virgin Mary, the complete liturgical furniture, benches, colors, from top to bottom in white and gold, in peaceful harmony. That is how I discovered the treasures Therese carries in her heart. But the adventure was just beginning!
When was your first interaction with the American audience ?
In 2013, The Magnificat Foundation, commissioned me to create the first Family Reliquary with Therese and her blessed Parents to be venerated on the American soil. Displayed during the amazing Magnificat Days in Philadelphia 2013, Memphis 2014 and Brooklyn 2018, how many thousands of families have we seen kneeling, praying, crying, entrusting Therese with their burdens and hopes? She was aware of her “efficiency” and told us in advance “after my death, I will send down a shower of Roses from the Heavens.” It fell upon me that I had to find a way to make this promise visible in our everyday life.
But how can you capture and embody such a spiritual promise in everyday life?
As you know, I have decorated many churches and chapels. Saint Paul reminds us that the human body is also the temple of the Holy Spirit. So I was drawn to decorate our physical body with meaningful ornaments. As a Catholic woman, I was constantly looking for jewels combining spirituality with beauty and femininity. Apart from my classic baptism medal, I never found it. I wanted earrings that could be original, elegant, enlightening my outfit, and meaningful. The Rose Collection was born. I launched it in France during lockdown, and it answered the unmet need of many people who literally jumped on it and wrote me letters detailing how it changed their life, as if Therese would herself whisper in their ears, “Always surrender to Love.” Inner and outer beauty are reunited, and remind us of Therese’s words “my way is all Confidence and Love.”
I handcraft everything in my studio here in Paris. Real rose petals, gold leaves and diamonds are enshrined in a sculpture-like jewelry creation. It always start from Therese’s quotes, like “If the Angels were to sweep Heaven, the Dust would be made of Diamonds.” All pieces receive the unique attention to detail that each of my six- foot-tall bronze sculptures also receive. Each and every of my projects aim to show a path to God through beauty.
So you think that beauty could save the World?
I think love can save the world, but beauty heals it because it is the reflection of goodness, the face of God. When I rediscovered faith, at the age of 22, Magnificat Magazine became my best help: a little oratory, always in my pocket, filled with pure treasures of liturgy, spirituality and beauty. Magnificat counted a lot along my journey of elevation to God through prayer and contemplation of beauty. Every time I see someone reading Magnificat, like yesterday in a train, I am tempted to interrupt and tell this person how lucky we are to be “Magnificaters.”
What is next for you Fleur?
I hope to properly celebrate Therese’s Feast Day with all the people who love this sister in Heaven. For the upcoming weeks, I will concentrate on these creations for the American audience, making sure everything is ready for our shipping operations from France, and then I will look for American Catholic retailers. There are also other projects I will be working on, e.g. large thermoformed stained glass windows for several churches, yet also at the same time home-sized glass icons – something that does not exist yet and that I am truly excited to begin working on.
Spring 2021 will be also a great moment, as I was deeply honored to have won the contest to create the statue of French King Saint Louis on the facade of Saint-Louis-des-Français Church in Rome, a splendid church with a very famous Caravaggio painting. An incredible challenge I am very moved to take on!
Discover The rose Collectionwww.littleflowerjewels.com;
and Fleur’s artworkswww.fleurnabert.com