Goodhart creating sculptures for front of Holy Family Home

Goodhart creating sculptures for front of Holy Family Home

North Providence resident Ed Goodhart shows the progress that’s been made on three new cement sculptures to be installed on the front of the Holy Family Home for Mothers and Children. Next to Goodhart is the in-progress image of Mary. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Ed Goodhart’s latest sculpture project has consumed more than 200 hours of his retirement time and left him with nicks and cuts up and down his arms.

“Like Arnold (Schwarzenegger) said about lifting weights, it’s the feeling afterward,” jokes Goodhart as he manipulates and twists metal in the garage of his home at 27 Twins Lane.

The warmth and pride he’ll feel when he sees his statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph on the front wall of the Holy Family Home for Mothers and Children, at 979 Branch Ave. on the Providence/North Providence line, will be payment enough for this labor of love, Goodhart told The North Providence Breeze.

After doing numerous sculptures in plaster, Goodhart, 69, is going with cement for his three life-sized members of the Holy Family to be secured on the wall of the shelter, which is located next to St. Edward Church in Providence.

The sculptures will “portray a feeling of faith, strength and hope for the residents beginning their journey toward stability,” as Goodhart’s daughter, Michelle, puts it.

As he works in his garage, Goodhart gains inspiration for his work by listening to songs of the Vienna monks.

“If I was making a statue of Elvis, I’d listen to rock and roll,” he says.

Because these statues are being completed for a building where children live, Jesus is depicted in his childhood, all three statues will have smiles on their faces, and Jesus will hold Mary’s hand, said Goodhart.

The Holy Family Home for Mothers and Children is one of many ministries run through St. Edward Church of Providence and the St. Anthony Church and Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in North Providence. The home is located next door to the St. Edward Food and Wellness Center. Both received the Lumen Gentium Award in the category of evangelization this year.

The Rev. Edward Cardente, who oversees all three churches, created the Holy Family Home for Mothers and Children in 2015. Former North Providence Police Chief Ernest Spaziano is the director of the facility.

The home is meant to provide a safe, caring and nurturing place for women with children who find themselves in danger and don’t have the ability to improve their situation. The building can house 12 women at any time.

Each of the three statues Goodhart is creating will have sparkling crystal halos. His goal is that the sun will reflect on them and create what he calls the “apparition of Branch Avenue.”

A former boilermaker who lives near the Wenscott Reservoir, the St. Anthony Church parishioner found a second career in retirement creating art for others, often charging nothing for thousands of hours of work.

The Breeze reported last year on Goodhart’s delivery of a 300-pound oak likeness of his great-great uncle, St. André Bessette, delivered to the St. Joseph Oratory at Mount-Royal, Canada’s largest church. St. Brother André had petitioned to build that church at Montreal’s highest point during the height of the Great Depression. Goodhart also previously completed an altar piece for St. Patrick Church on Smith Street, among others.

Goodhart said that because the three life-sized figures he’s working on now won’t all fit inside the alcove on the front of the Holy Family Home, the image of Jesus will be placed in the center recess and Mary and Joseph will be carefully secured to the walls on either side of him.

The front of the Holy Family Home for Mothers and Children, located on the Providence/North Providence line.