We are all given different talents by God, and we are all called to use our unique talents to reach out to others and spread the pro-life message. Cindy Ann Howard, who holds degrees in art education, elementary education, and Bible studies, is an artist and founder of VitaArt, a pro-life outreach that uses jewelry to teach others about the sacredness of every human being’s life.
The VitaArt pendant is a symbol that represents the unity of the pro-life movement and reminds us that we are all made in God’s image and likeness. Although we may shed tears of joy, sadness, or shame throughout our lives, we know that we were created by a loving God who is ready to enfold us in His merciful embrace.
We sat down with Cindy to learn more about her incredible ministry.
Culture of Life Studies Program: How did you get started in pro-life ministry?
Cindy Howard: As a young girl, I had a tender heart for the marginalized and for those without a voice. When I was 22 years old, I saw how my earthly achievements paled in comparison to the revelation of Christ’s indescribable gift of salvation. At that moment, I knew deep in my heart that every person is made in the image and likeness of God and that the life of every human being is sacred.
In my 30s, prior to raising children, I volunteered at a pregnancy resource center and prayed outside an abortion clinic. My desire to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves stems from my love for life and my own personal pain of being emotionally abandoned by my stepmother. It’s God’s healing grace accompanied by deep gratitude and joy for life that overflows into passion for spreading the pro-life message to others. It was from this passion that Vita, the symbol for life, was born.
CLSP: How were you inspired to create the Vita pendant?
CH: On Mother’s Day 2009 my husband gave me a simple bag of clay. In joy, I began reflecting on how God formed us in His image from the dust of the earth, from a lump of clay. Desiring to honor God with my art talent, I immediately had the vision of sculpting a preborn child who would speak of God’s amazing gift of life.
My heart was flooded with a sea of emotion and I knew this life was to be held in a gentle teardrop. Friends and family encouraged me to design a pendant from this ceramic piece, so I did. I turned that simple gift of a lump of clay into a beautiful pendant that now has a voice of its own—one that allows our Creator to speak to the heart, whether in celebration, remembrance, or honor.
The VitaArt symbol represents life in many forms. The teardrop shape represents both joy and sadness—tears of joy for the birth of a new baby or an adoption, and tears of regret and anguish for the innocent preborn, the miscarried, or for a stillborn baby.
CLSP: How is VitaArt more than a jewelry shop?
CH: VitaArt is a symbol for life. It is jewelry with a purpose. Jewelry stores sell you pretty things; VitaArt reminds you that the real pretty things in life are precious.
On the VitaArt.org website, we equip you with the answers to some of life’s difficult questions. You will find a resource tab that includes images of the developing preborn child, a guide to pregnancy centers, mental health statistics, and post-abortive healing programs.
CLSP: How has the Vita pendant changed lives? Can you share one or two personal stories?
CH: The Vita pendant has given voice to the preborn as people recognize the shape of a baby gently held in a teardrop. It has also given voice and healing to women suffering in silence. There are so many more than we realize.
After my friend received her Vita pendant, she shared these words with me:
What a very special gift you gave me yesterday. In many ways it has completed my healing process and allowed me to finally be at peace with the situation. God clearly spoke to me and said “It’s over . . . the grieving and hurt you have carried for years has come to the surface and transcended into My house (God’s house). It is forgiven!”
My dream is to have the Vita pendant move beyond our safe circle of likeminded friends and speak into the darkness with truth and love.
CLSP: The ability to spread the pro-life message through art is incredible. What are some of the blessings you have received as a result of your ministry?
CH: To speak for those who don’t have a voice and to touch women’s hearts is a blessing in itself! I’ve also had the privilege of meeting people I highly admire, such as Abby Johnson, Rick Santorum, and David Bereit. It’s been a joy to present Vita—the symbol for life message—to audiences and in turn encourage them to speak for life.
CLSP: What encouragement do you have for people who want to use their talent in order to spread the pro-life message?
CH: With an open Bible, communicate with God, telling Him how thankful you are for the gift He has given you. Ask Him for inspiration and guidance. Once you know what you will create, gather a prayer team and commit every step to the Lord. Find people who have strengths where you have weaknesses, and always strive to bring glory to God through your endeavors.
CLSP: What are your future plans for VitaArt?
CH: The future plans for VitaArt are reflected in two scriptures: Matthew 6:9-10 – “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I Chronicles 4:10 – “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me.’”
With these scriptures as the standard, the future plans are to grow VitaArt’s influence to speak for life as far as God decrees.
CLSP: Tell us about the Life Organizations featured on your website. Do you see your ministry as a connecting link for the pro-life movement?
CH: Yes! I see Vita as an umbrella of life interconnecting the branches of the pro-life movement, which includes crisis pregnancy centers, educational and news organizations, social and political activists, medical mobile units, adoption agencies, and post-abortive healing programs. May VitaArt, a symbol for life, encourage the pro-life movement to speak in one accord.
To learn more about Cindy Howard’s ministry, visit VitaArt.org.
Laura Kizior is the Digital Media and Communciations Manager for the Culture of Life Studies Program. Her work has appeared on Verily.com, CatholicMom.com, LifeSiteNews.com, Celebrate Life Magazine, TeachersSavingChildren.org, and in the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance newsletter.