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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Corpus Christi
Touching story from St. Brendan the Navigator parish in Atlanta, Georgia, about the new corpus on the crucifix at their church, and the artist who created it

Face of Jesus
The artist tried to make the face "command a sense of peace."

On June 22, 2014, (the feast of Corpus Christi) the parish of St. Brendan the Navigator in Cumming, Georgia, ran a special edition to it parish bulletin. The article stated: “This particular Solemnity, The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, was selected as a very appropriate time to share the full story about the design and installation of our new corpus in the Sanctuary at St. Brendan’s.” (Click here to read the article and see the entire corpus.)

The pastor of the parish is Fr. Matthew VanSmoorenburg, LC.

The new corpus was created by an unusual artist, a prisoner serving a life sentence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola Prison.

The warden at Angola Prison considers it a mission to help his inmates spiritually. He strongly supports their practice of religion, and says more than 50 percent of the prisoners there identify themselves as Roman Catholic.

Angola is the only maximum security prison in the US with a Catholic Church on the grounds, Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The church was dedicated on December 12, 2013, the
The chapel at Angola Prison
feast day of its namesake. (Click here for a YouTube video of the church dedication.)

One of the inmates at the dedication ceremony said, “…men, broken men (he points to himself), can come to this place, this refuge, and learn to love, experience love, fulfill their potential as human beings.”

Following is a quote about the creation of the St. Brendan’s corpus from the artist:

My name is Marty James Hebert. I
Artist Marty Herbert with St. Brendans parishioners
Marty Herbert with St. Brendan's parishioners Mike and Diana Artzer.
am from the town of Franklin in south Louisiana. When I was 21 years old I got into a fight with a man and killed him. In 1995 I was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to mandatory life in prison. When I was asked to carve the life‐sized Jesus for the crucifix I had some doubts whether it could turn out as I envisioned. I never worked on anything so large and so life-like. I enlarged a picture I was given and made a paper of it. But I also wanted to carve my interpretation of the physical aspects of Jesus. He worked as a carpenter and therefore would have been strong, but in the last years on earth as He was traveling and teaching He would have eaten modestly, taking only what His body needed. I wanted him to look slim but still see the muscle definition in His body. The face was the most challenging. I used all my imagination in how I could make it command a sense of peace. When I began the detail carving stage I would stand it against the wall and spend the evenings looking at it in different angles. I didn’t know how well it would turn out but I knew I’d do my best. I knew it would be displayed in church for all to see and it would represent Christ’s sacrifice for us. I am not a great artist like Michelangelo but I did put my heart and
Signature of artist
soul into 10 weeks of work. I hope it gives reverence and hope to all who see it.

Marty, we think you did a wonderful job!



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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