This afternoon, I had the pleasure of visiting Al Gerritsen’s woodwork shop. I commissioned him to carve me a magpie, to add to my collection. It was such an enjoyable visit and I felt in awe of his humility and his great talent, both. The smell of his shop brought me very close to the young child, Jesus…and what it must have been like growing up with a father who was a carpenter. It was fun to see Al’s nativity under his front yard tree. I am blessed that Fred and Catherine shared theirs with me.
Today I learned that Al was a Franciscan during the 1950s and 1960s. I also learned that he apprenticed with John Nugent in Lumsden, Saskatchewan. After Vatican II, Al was one of the artists who helped develop the liturgical spaces within churches, turning those altars around to face the people and creating visual art works that spoke of the connection between the Creator and his people.
Here, find a slide show of some of what I noticed and heard stories about in the studio. Magic!