When I was a little girl, I really struggled with making good friends. I moved around a lot growing up (I haven’t lived in a state longer than 4 consecutive years so far), and I always felt uprooted from every community before my roots could go deep in any one place.
This community churn made it easy for me to make friends, but really hard to make GOOD friends. I didn’t know what it was like to go deep, let others truly know me, see my flaws, and love me through them. Before I could truly let God see me, know me, and love me, I needed to be seen, known, and loved by His people first. I found that kind of friendship in my now husband, Marcellino, and his twin (Anthony) in the dirty mess of high school mission trips. 6 hour bus rides, late night affirmation circles, communal meals, worship, adoration, intercessory prayer, all of these peeled back the walls of my heart and showed me what it looks like to sink deep.
More and more, God has been showing me that that mission trip high wasn’t just a piece of candy He gave me to get me to commit to Him. I really believe that He was planting His deepest dreams for me, dreams that were too painful for me to dream on my own. After my time as a missionary came to an end, I entered into the often superficial malase of young adult living with those dreams lying dormant until Marcellino and Anthony asked me to help plan the first CC Summit that happened exactly 3 years ago.
A change in how I saw community in the Church
The team that came together to risk the community’s insane maiden voyage at the 2017 CC Summit found something we’d all had in common, but didn’t know how to put a voice to until the four days had almost passed. It was that same dream God had put in me in those sweet summer mission trip moments when we would talk late into the night of our burdens, our shames, and our loves. In the late night airport drives with Cat to pick up an attendee who’s flight got delayed or the Uhaul runs with JP that turned into their own epic sagas, I found something strange happening. In fighting for the same dream together, we were finding each other.
In fighting for the same dream together, we were finding each other.
At that first Summit, I felt in my heart a spring of water push up out of the dry desert clay and begin making a garden of the wilderness inside me just as those mission trips did so long ago. The thirst in my soul is for the Church to look like family again, and when I look around at the men and women who’ve heard the call in Catholic Creatives and answered it, I don’t just see temporary friends, I see brothers and sisters.
To you who have invested in the community, day in and day out, working thanklessly to make our conversations valuable, I want to say, “Thank you.” You have sought out individual relationships and made spaces for reconciliation, even when claws came out. Those of you who have given feedback, advice, and your precious time to keep the online Catholic Creatives community running, thank you. Those of you who have fought to make everyone in the group feel accepted, understood, and heard, yours is the work of building family. I have found a place to belong, a place where my gifts are welcomed and my thoughts are welcome even if they aren’t always understood.
A thank you to some very special community builders
Today, I want to give a special shout-out to the CC Facebook Admins.
As it’s easy to imagine, it is very hard work adminning groups and facilitating conversations. It’s especially difficult when it is a group of 3000+ people and even harder in an online forum. Added to this the reality that most of the people there have all experienced wounds in some form from within the Church, their jobs, relationships, etc. and as hard as we all try to approach others well, sometimes those wounds still come out.
The job of the Admins has been a largely thankless one, but the CC Facebook group has been the forum that’s kept us engaged with one another in the in-between. Without you, I don’t know where we’d be.
So to the following people I am going to affirm: thank you. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for helping my husband not feel so alone. For helping my brother Anthony feel like he can rest some days and not have to make sure people aren’t tearing each other up on any given Facebook Group thread. And most of all, for being the hosts for countless people, giving them hope that real community is out there. Thank you for teaching me what it means to love, support, and be positive in the midst of hurts, and for being some of the most crucial catalysts and shepherds this beautiful community has.
Regular day job: Aerospace Engineer for Lockheed Martin
Fun fact: He has met President Donald Trump and Queen of England
Admin Day: Thursdays
CC Birth father of: Theoretical Thursdays, which took Show Off Tuesday’s place as most engaging day in the CC FB Group
JP is one of my favorite human beings, no offense to other human beings. You will never meet a more loyal friend. He is a community builder at heart and loves hosting get-togethers for his friends and creating unique experiences for them - like that time that he painted his face with pink and blue for him and his wife’s Gender Reveal Party. JP has been one of the most integral members of Catholic Creatives - giving us pushback when he thinks our ideas/responses are whack, being a boss Mover & Shaker at both CC Summits, and encouraging us when we doubt ourselves. Thank you for everything that you are.
Regular day job: Business Owner / Web Designer at Highland Creative
Fun fact: He is SCOTTISH.
CC Birth father of: CC Slack
The thing about Sid is, he has a wit that is disarming, as well as thought-provoking and charming. Sid has sparked some important conversations in Catholic Creatives and has devoted so many of his gifts to helping the CC online community flourish. He’s also a dang impressive designer. Thank you for bringing humor into tough discussions, and for being such a dear friend whose opinion we rely on.
Regular day job: Designer at Disney
Fun fact: On the side, she writes Catholic children’s books
CC Birth mother of: The Themed Saturday night Gala at the Summit.
If you ever want to meet a real-life princess, you need to meet Fabi. She dresses like a princess, walks like a princess, dances like a princess (literally is a semi-pro ballroom dancer), and just is a princess: she is charming, bubbly, fun, loyal, and full of loving-kindness that she gives freely and willingly. She’s someone that when you talk to her, you will just feel your heart get warm because you feel so loved and celebrated. Fabi - thank you for being a dear sister friend and for fighting hard for ways to make this community blossom and thrive.
Regular day job: Business owner at Likeable Art
Fun fact: His paper cut-out at the 2018 CC Summit was the most popular person there
CC Birth father of: The Created Book (the biggest collaboration to date that has featured a majority of people in the CC Community)
If there was one phrase I could use to describe Cory, it would be: humbly epic. Cory’s brain is a beautiful organism of creative genius, and the way he brings his ideas to life are masterful and innovative. We’ve learned so much from Cory through the growth of Catholic Creatives, and he has given us irreplaceable feedback and support over the years. So grateful for the way you lead with beauty and do so in a gentle, kind, fatherly way. Thank you for your friendship.
Regular day job: Creative Manager/Graphic Designer at System76
Fun fact: Designs her own tattoos, and has designed one for JP Quinn
CC Birth mother of: The CC pillars and it’s future brand language. She helped Marcellino and Anthony shape the CC Pillars and create a brand architecture for Catholic Creatives that has only now just begun to unfold with CC Events. Also the CC Birth mother of the Saturday night 2017 Summit dance party.
Kate is a fiery force of nature, and her energy is palpable when you talk to her. She has been a great support and friend in the Catholic Creatives community. Not only to us, but to so many other people. We are so grateful for the ways you have uplifted us and emboldened our hearts in the midst of doubt. Thank you for all that you are.
Blog by Augusta D’Ambrosio
Tribe builder who exclusively reads children’s literature. Casually wears fur coats. Married to Marcellino D’Ambrosio, and loving every minute of our freedom + meaning-filled life. Further up, further in!