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Faith by Design View Comments
By James Breig

AS HOME DESIGNERS known for specializing in “downtown chic,” Bob and Cortney Novogratz can be seen applying their talents during their HGTV series, Home by Novogratz, which has added to the couple’s phenomenal success as interior designers and house flippers. Their success has brought them international fame, loads of money, and three houses scattered from New England to Brazil.

They’ve also received effusive compliments on their work, such as national publications that have praised “the design duo [who] create downtown magic” and lauded how they “have infused entire city blocks with sophistication and style.” But the Catholic pair—married for two decades and counting—looks much higher than lighting fixtures. As they raise their seven children to be religious, they also apply their faith to their work. Bob comments on the latter when he tells St. Anthony Messenger that their TV program de-emphasizes frivolous spending.

“You can have good design on a budget,” he states. “You don’t have to break the bank. Good taste and money don’t always go hand in hand. We have a European design philosophy. Americans are consumers and have too much stuff, so we use a little less stuff.” To that end, they often employ found objects, large family photographs, and unusual flea-market finds to decorate rooms.

The religious side of the family has occasionally been displayed on their TV series, which originated on Bravo and moved to HGTV. One episode, for example, dealt with the Baptism of their seventh child in a house crowded with relatives, friends, celebrities, and a priest.

Cortney’s blogs on their room designs are often packed with words like “chic,” “pop,” and “bold blasts of color,” but she is equally enthusiastic in talking about prayer, Church, and faith.

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James Breig is a veteran writer for Catholic newspapers, magazines, and books. He now authors a syndicated media column for dozens of Catholic  papers.

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Pierre Toussaint: 
		<p>Born in modern-day Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave, Pierre died a free man, a renowned hairdresser and one of New York City’s most well-known Catholics. <br /><br />Pierre Bérard, a plantation owner, made Toussaint a house slave and allowed his grandmother to teach her grandson how to read and write. In his early 20s, Pierre, his younger sister, his aunt and two other house slaves accompanied their master’s son to New York City because of political unrest at home. Apprenticed to a local hairdresser, Pierre learned the trade quickly and eventually worked very successfully in the homes of rich women in New York City. <br /><br />When his master died, Pierre was determined to support his master’s widow, himself and the other house slaves. He was freed shortly before the widow’s death in 1807. </p>
		<p>Four years later he married Marie Rose Juliette, whose freedom he had purchased. They later adopted Euphémie, his orphaned niece. Both preceded him in death. He attended daily Mass at St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street, the same parish that St. Elizabeth Seton attended. <br /><br />Pierre donated to various charities, generously assisting blacks and whites in need. He and his wife opened their home to orphans and educated them. The couple also nursed abandoned people who were suffering from yellow fever. Urged to retire and enjoy the wealth he had accumulated, Pierre responded, “I have enough for myself, but if I stop working I have not enough for others.” <br /><br />He was originally buried outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where he was once refused entrance because of his race. His sanctity and the popular devotion to him caused his body to be moved to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. <br /><br />Pierre Toussaint was declared Venerable in 1996.</p>
American Catholic Blog We have a responsibility to balance the scales, to show love where there is hate, to provide food where there is hunger, and to protect what is vulnerable. If life has treated you well, then justice demands that you help balance the scales.

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Ven. Pierre Toussaint
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