You come from a big, Irish Catholic extended family — how did that upbringing inform your identity today?
There was a lot of joy in our family, a lot of humor, and I think even as a kid I would attribute that joy to our shared life of faith. I always found security and safety and comfort in my faith; we moved quite frequently when I was a little kid, but there were always two constants in my life — my parents and sister, and my faith.
Bringing that faith with you into adulthood can sometimes be a struggle. How did you navigate that?
One of my favorite scripture passages — one that resonated with me in my adulthood — is the Gospel story of the lowering of the paralytic to Jesus. It’s a story of friends bringing someone to Jesus, and I have for sure been deeply influenced by the group of wonderful, strong, holy female friends who I met in college and a few friendships I’ve made post-college as well. There was this pivotal moment on my first Sunday as a freshman in college — you’re faced with that decision where no one is there making you go to church. You can do whatever you want. My roommate invited me out to brunch. But I had this girlfriend I knew a little bit from high school, and she invited me to go to Mass with her. I can tell you, that was it for me. That was evangelization. That little, little invitation literally changed my life. Maybe without it I wouldn’t have gone to Mass, maybe I would have felt nervous, maybe I would have gone to brunch instead because I wanted to make a new friend, and then a year later I would have looked back and realized I hadn’t been to Mass in a year. Sometimes, I think all you need is someone to literally hold your hand, and I’ve been very lucky to have people doing that for me consistently.
You have a lifelong passion for art. How did you get started in graphic design and how does that shape the mission of your business?
I started in graphic design by designing wedding invitations for friends, and then it just evolved from there into doing it professionally at my job at the archdiocese, picking up random projects here and there. I saw where other Catholic organizations needed help, too — there was a real lack, and there exists to this day a real lack of understanding of the Catholic audience and the Catholic message. Organizations I’ve worked for are literally begging for someone to help them and understand them and communicate the Truth — capital “T” truth — and the truth of their organization in a beautiful way, and in a way that modern audiences can understand.
Most of us in Milwaukee remember Timothy Cardinal Dolan as our 10th archbishop (now the Archbishop of New York). To you, he’s “Uncle Tim.” What is it like having a Catholic “celebrity” in the family?
Growing up, he was the fun uncle who popped in a few times a year and he always had a present from whatever trip he had been on, but as I got older, those trips got way bigger and the presents were from way fancier places, like Rome. He’s still the guy sitting on the patio having a beer at your birthday party — and then he’s on the “Today” show the next morning. But we know him as the world knows him — he is wise, he is warm, he is kind, he is funny, but he’s also deeply caring and conscientious, especially when it comes to passing on the faith.
How does he prioritize the passing on of the faith in your family?
He has many nieces and nephews — there are 13 of us and 16 in the next generation — and he has given every single one of his nieces and nephews, and now every single one of his great-nieces and nephews, every single one of their sacraments — baptisms, first Communions, confirmations, weddings, everything. My daughter Rose is four months old. A week after she was born, he was here in Milwaukee for her baptism. That blows me away. I think it’s such a strong illustration of how much he deeply loves the Church, deeply loves her sacraments, deeply loves his family, and how he, in a very specific way, is present to the people he loves and teaches the people he loves about the faith.