I had been there before to this basement studio - a small room that used to be the laundry facilities for the motherhouse. I had seen the candles made from recycled wax and listened to the story of how the money is used to support ministries of the Sisters of Mercy, ministries that reach out and touch those who need health care, those who need someone to walk with them out of poverty and distress.
But I'd never been there when I was working my way through a devotional by Sandra Fox, "Lord Renew My Hope." That lens, the hope-colored one, changed everything.
This time I noticed the boxes of broken, burned out candles underneath the worktables. Most were dropped off outside the motherhouse for the purpose of rebirth, of blessing others, and they sat there waiting to be purified and molded.
Purification is a two-step process at Candle With Care. First the old candles are heated until they lose all shape and run liquid. Then, the hot wax is poured through a sieve to remove any dirt or impurities - because it's easier in its heated state to separate the bad from the good. The wax even becomes almost transparent, the color barely there so the light shines through as it pours into the mold.
Most of the candles in the basement shop are made of different colors. One, with shades of purple, is for Lent. Another with browns and oranges and pale blue is just because the artist likes creating landscapes. So, each color is heated and added to the mold, never displaying its full picture, its true beauty until the end when it has cooled and released. When it has taken on the shape of the mold.
Then, and only then, do you see how that faded orange candle becomes a sunrise against the blue sky. Then, and only then, do you see the results of hope through the trying times.
From discarded to desirable. From broken to beautiful.