year of mercy candleToday we welcome a guest post from our friend and liturgical artist Gina Switzer.  Gina has an amazing ministry of making personalized baptismal and Paschal candles.   I love giving the baptismal candles as gifts to all the new babies in my life – and so excited for Emily’s newest to receive hers in just a few weeks.   If you are interested in learning more visit

Sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself to get it “right”. This Year of Mercy was one of those times.

As an artist and designer of Paschal and baptismal candles, my goal is to create beautiful candles that express Christological themes suitable for meditation, particularly at the epic life moments of baptisms and funeral Masses

I prayed. I studied. I sketched. Finally I had a plan! The images were to be wood cuts.   I transferred the drawings to the boards, but somehow couldn’t get myself to make that first cut. Something inside of me was unsettled about that design and I couldn’t figure it out. Soooo, I took a break!

I flew to visit my son and his family in California. On the plane, reading Divine Mercy for Moms I had one of those AhHa! moments. Michele and Emily’s practical approach to living mercy through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy struck me as the obvious solution to the candle design. The rest of the flight was spent creating a completely new design in my head. Within a week of my return, the prototype was complete!

Months of agonizing over this Year of Mercy candle gave way in a flash to the use of an image I had painted over 20 years ago after the consecutive deaths of my brother and my father and the diagnosis of my son’s brain tumor; a time of profound mercy and deep conversion for our family. It was an image of Mary nurturing a sick child in a foreign land. To me, she was tending to my father and brother in purgatory and to my nine year old son after brain surgery. As I contemplated the image in my head on the plane, I was astounded by the myriad of connections with Pope Francis’ call for this Jubilee of Mercy. The painting hangs in my dining room right in front of my face but it never occurred to me to use it on my candle until I read Divine Mercy for Moms. Thanks Emily and Michele!