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97-year-old Christian artist raising money for suffering believers

by Premier Journalist
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A 97-year-old artist in Portugal is utilizing her creativity to craft recycled religious artwork, supporting distressed Christians by repurposing salvaged materials.

Maria Antónia Cabral constructs traditional Portuguese devotional images, known as "registos," from items that would otherwise end up in landfills. The proceeds from the sale of her art are dedicated to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Mrs Cabral, who is currently preparing an exhibition of her work at Benfica Town Hall, Lisbon, said: “There are so many desperate situations in the world, so I am eager to help in any way I can.”

The "registos" she produces hold significance in traditional Portuguese piety, with their origins dating back to the 18th century.

Typically featuring saints in ornate frames, Mrs. Cabral's versions are uniquely crafted from salvaged materials, such as old clothing, curtains, and even repurposed IKEA boxes made of smooth cardboard.

She told ACN that her interest in “registos” began in her teens.

She said: “When I was a teenager, I’d go to the market in Nazaré with my mother, and the fishmongers there had traditional handicraft images of saints in framed boxes on their stalls.

“They were so simple, but I loved them and later learned to make them myself.”

Mrs Cabral went on to become one of the first 10 women in Portugal to obtain a degree in architectural design.

Driven by compassion for suffering Christians globally, Mrs. Cabral connects her eco-conscious artistry with the mission of ACN, an organization that entered her life several years ago.

Mrs. Cabral's unique "registos" have become sought-after gifts for baptisms, First Holy Communions, birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions, reflecting her commitment to combining artistic expression with philanthropy.

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