Interview: “The Saints, Young Adults and Evangelization”
We came across the work of the young graphic designer, Cassie Pease, when we saw her “poster” of St. Josemaria Escriva on Pinterest. The pin linked to her website (www.cassiepeasedesigns.com) where we discovered her portfolio, which is filled with many other “posters” of saints and popes. On this Feast of All Saints, we are grateful to Cassie for taking the time to do this interview with us as we discuss graphic design, evangelization, and the saints:
Q: When did you become interested in graphic design? What do you enjoy most about it?
A: I got into graphic design when I was about 12 years old. I would play around in Microsoft Paint with photos of my favorite characters from movies and tv shows and try to turn them into cool website backgrounds. The thing that really drew me to graphic design was the ability to take something ordinary, like a photo, and use it to create something functional and beautiful.
Q: Why was it important for you to put it at the service of communicating the teachings and examples of the saints?
A: There is a great peace and joy that accompanies designing graphics that carry a deeper message. The saints inspire me so much to keep striving toward Heaven and to open myself up to Christ. If I can use the talents that God has given me to help the saints inspire others to grow in holiness, I’m happy.
Q: In many ways, your “posters” are examples of evangelization, of spreading the Gospel message, especially among those engaged in new media. What have been some of the reactions and responses to your work?
A: The response to these graphics has been incredible! Many of the designs have gone viral through Facebook and Twitter and have been shared and viewed by thousands of people. I’ve received many messages of support from people around the world who have shared with me how they are using my designs to encourage their youth groups and parish communities.
Q: How have the lives and teachings of the saints impacted you? Is there a saint that you have particular devotion to and why?
A: The lives of the saints have taught me how important it is to rely on God. They endured unspeakable hardships and accomplished amazing things, not through their own power but through their faith in Jesus Christ. I have a special devotion to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. His cheerful example of service to others is something I try to imitate.
Q: What does sanctity, or holiness, mean to you or look like for you?
A: Sanctity means constantly striving to follow the will of God in your life. It is through silent prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments that we receive the graces needed to bring the light of Christ into our homes, our workplaces, and to the whole world.
Q: St Josemaria Escriva advises in “The Forge”, no. 113: “Don’t wait until you are old to start becoming a saint. That would be a great mistake. –Begin right now, in earnest, cheerfully and joyfully, by fulfilling the duties of your work and your everyday life.” Do you think the goal of sanctity, of becoming a saint, is on the radars of other young adults, like your friends, family, and colleagues? Why or why not?
A: I know quite a few people who are striving for sainthood and really do live out their faith. Unfortunately they are the minority. It is very counter-cultural to stand up for the teachings of the Catholic church, but as more young people rise to the challenge they will inspire others to do the same.
A: I first heard about St. Josemaria Escriva at a FOCUS conference in 2011. Since that conference he has been popping up randomly in my life. Most recently, my twin sister joined a religious order and in the chapel of the convent she found his book “The Way” and started reading it. She liked it so much that she wrote to me about it and requested that I buy it for one of our close friends who was struggling with his faith. I bought the book for myself as well and it has been a joy to read!
Q: We know that you are still getting to know more about St. Josemaria’s life and spirituality; however, do you have a favorite point from “The Way” that has been most meaningful to you and why?
A: I don’t know if I have a favorite excerpt (there are too many good ones to choose from!) but I think one of my favorite things about St. Josemaria’s writings is the tone that they are written in. His advice is very “no-nonsense” and straight to the point. It feels like I am reading practical advice from a friend.
Q: Lastly, where can people see more of your “posters” and how can they also help to spread these “messages from the saints”?
A: Nearly all of my designs can be found on my website (www.cassiepeasedesigns.com) and most of them are available to be used as backgrounds on computers and cellphones or on Facebook. In November, I will be launching an online store where people can buy my designs as posters.
This article is intended for the free use of readers, and may not be copied or reproduced without permission from the © St. Josemaria Institute (firstname.lastname@example.org). Images provided courtesy of © Cassie Pease
Father C. John McCloskey, III, STD is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei. He currently is Research Fellow of the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, DC.
His articles, reviews, and doctoral thesis, all of which are archived at Catholicity.com, have been published in major Catholic and secular periodicals, including Catholic World Report, First Things, L’Osservatore Romano, the Wall Street Journal, National Catholic Register, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and ACEPRENSA.