MARTINSBURG — A simple image drawn by a seventh grader of a baby resting its head on a woman’s shoulder was decided to represent a home for young mothers expected to open in September in Martinsburg.
“It hits the heart right away,” said Kim Roche, executive director of Mary’s Refuge. “It is going to be used literally as the brand of the company” and be recreated on the maternity home’s banner, letterhead, advertisements, tote bags, business cards and pens.
The design created by Saint Joseph School student Grace Lu also features an arc above the mother and child bearing a cross between the two words in the name of the facility.
“I love participating in art contests,” said Lu, 13, of Martinsburg.
Lu enjoys creative endeavors, particularly painting. When she heard about the design contest for Mary’s Refuge, she knew what she wanted to incorporate in her drawing.
“It was for mothers and children,” Lu said.
“They care so much about them, and they want to be with them,” she said of those involved with the maternity home.
For winning the contest, Lu received a $100 gift card during the April 1 assembly in the school gym from Roche and Jean Ridley, a donor who helped judge the entries.
“I’m excited and surprised,” Lu said after the gathering of students in Grades K-8.
Also critiquing the entries, all made by middle schoolers at Saint Joseph School, were Roche and the Rev. Thomas R. Gallagher, pastor of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsburg. The students were invited to submit drawings from mid-February to mid-March.
Members of the Mary’s Refuge team shared the judges’ enthusiasm for Lu’s winning creation.
“It literally reached out and touched my heart. The young lady has insight beyond her years and has real talent,” noted Michael Gormley, board member and donor.
“I have worked with a lot of ministries, seen lots of logos, including our own, and this may be the best I have seen. I absolutely love it,” said Kathleen Wilson, executive director of Mary’s Shelter in Virginia, a partner in care with Mary’s Refuge.
“Wow! The logo hits all the bases of being warm and caring in a 2022 way,” said another team member.
A ministry of Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Mary’s Refuge will be one of 400 maternity homes in the United States, Roche said. The former convent at 111 E. Stephen St. is being transformed into a safe space for pregnant women in crisis to work toward self-sufficiency.
The goal is to take in the first expectant mother on Sept. 8, the birthday of the building’s namesake, the mother of Jesus and a figure highly revered in the Catholic church.
The three-story house built in 1929 contains nine bedrooms. There are several other rooms on the first floor, including a chapel and kitchen, plus three rooms on the top floor for the mother’s house. The main level will include a conference room for house meetings, as well as staff and volunteer meetings/training sessions; a work center; a Montessori-based infant-care room; a living room and an office for staff.
Roche felt it was important for students at the school, a close neighbor of the refuge, to create the design that represents Mary’s Refuge.
“I want Saint Joseph (School) to own it,” Roche said. “They have their imprint all over this.”
For more information about Mary’s Refuge, email Roche at email@example.com.
To donate funds, supplies or construction materials, contact Patrick Michel, deacon candidate at the church, at 304-267-4893 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks, made out to Saint Joseph Catholic Church (with Mary’s Refuge written in the memo line), may be mailed to the church at 336 S. Queen St., Martinsburg, WV 25401.