Work of art finds a new home

A work of art from the other side of the world has a new home in the Mid South. When St. Augustine decided they needed a new nativity scene, they went across an ocean to another continent to get it. From a village in Africa, each statue is a beautiful work of art crafted by African carvers for St. Augustine in south Memphis. Two years ago, the church decided it was time to replace the old nativity. Father John Geaney, CSP, St. Augustine said, "We go to catalogs and we realize everything here is not designed with an African atmosphere in mind. So the next best place we could find was Africa." For two years, Father Geaney communicated via email with African carvers until they came up with an African- inspired interpretation of the nativity. Because St. Augustine is the only fully African American Catholic parish in Memphis, Father Geaney wanted the statues to represent them. "The statues looked like our people. That's important. That the culture in which we live, reflects who they are." The church is already considering commissioning more carvings from Africa. The nativity will soon be put away until next Christmas.