The Chapel’s Gift of Hope…Matt’s Story


(Painting by Gerda Smit)

Dear Reader:

Since Easter is all about hope and its resurrection in all of us, through the sacrifice of Christ, I thought for the next few days that I would share how St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope has brought much hope to those who hear about it…even if they never get to see it.

This is Matt’s story with his gift of hope arriving from this special little chapel (Beverly Barutio built for pilgrims like himself in search of hope and faith) in the form of a happenstance photo on Facebook .

About a week before Christmas of 2012 I received an early Christmas present email from a Matt Oliver. He was looking for the owner of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope and mistakenly thought I was that person….(after discovering the blog.)

He was excited about a painting he found depicting St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope and wanted to share  a copy photo of the painting with me electronically… he had found it on Facebook.

This was Matt’s original first message: December 15, 2012

Hi There,

I have recently acquired an artwork which I have tracked down to being a picture of your chapel. If you’re interested I’d love to email you a photo of the painting.

If you would like me to send you the photo, can you please email me with your email address. 

Cheers, Matt


I remember how excited I was….such a wonderful surprise….especially at Christmas. A God Wink for me!

I wrote Matt back and explained that I was not the owner and who was….Beverly Barutio. I told him about the blog and how it came about and then I shared with him a little about her story and the creation of the chapel as a thank you to God for more time on earth. (I, also, told him how excited I was to see the painting.)

The next day (December 16, 2012) I received an email with two photos attached….one of the chapel which hangs on his bedroom wall…”as an inspiration” and the same photo of the painting he found on Facebook by Gerda Smit.

I had asked him (in my first response) if he had ever been to St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope and his reply astounded me… to his whereabouts.

“Hi Becky”

 “No, I have never been there, or seen it. The artist, Gerda Smit, posted the picture on facebook about a week ago. I saw it and it just spoke volumes to me, that no matter how tough things get (been going through one of those phases) the reason we believe is hope. 

Hope for a better life when we pass from this world into the future. I guess I could say hope is why I have faith. In a world where I am bombarded by the requirement for absolute proof every day, having faith can be challenging, yet I know the moment God shows himself and provides the absolute proof…then there will no longer be a need for faith. 

Anyway, back to the picture. After securing the purchase I asked where the chapel was located…thinking that it may be some small chapel nearby that I could go and see. (Perhaps just to contemplate inside.) Gerda Smit said it was St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope in North Carolina and that she painted it from a picture she found on the internet. (I just did an internet search to put the pieces of the puzzle together.) 

So there you have it, a tiny chapel seemingly in the middle of nowhere, now hangs on the wall of a house literally half way around the world, in the North Island of New Zealand, where we have another wonderful summer’s morning and promises of more sunny weather on the way! A white Christmas is something we’ll never see here. 

Hope you enjoy the picture, and never underestimate just how important a tiny chapel may be. 

Thanks, Matt


Isn’t that an amazing story of how this little chapel is reaching people far and wide? Life is truly about hope and faith….and these two attributes are universally accepted by  all people living on earth as gifts from God which take many different forms….including the form of a little chapel.

I pulled up Gerda Smit’s paintings and they are fabulous! She was once selling her paintings and doing quite well financially when she received a diagnosis of extreme chronic fatigue. She can no longer produce the same quantity of paintings that she once did….and now just, mainly, paints for herself and as a gift to anyone perusing her artworks.

After grieving for the “old me” after her diagnosis….she now says:

“Thank goodness for painting (it is always patiently waiting for me.) My paintings are the breath of my soul. In every stroke you will find me.”   (Here is a link to Gerda’s playful and soulful paintings.)   

Testimony Tuesday with Gerda Smit! – HKC News!

So until the next story of hope tomorrow….Keep the faith….it will take us far.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Today I have a wonderful collection of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope memorabilia (paintings, coasters, notecards) ….through friends as tokens of friendships and lovely gifts. The vast majority have come from Mike and Honey….plus the Summerville MS Society for telling stories at their annual Christmas luncheon and friends like Sam and Donna Clark who visited the chapel and made a photo of the cross.







IMG_0574Mike and Honey had a local artist do this original pen and ink sketch of St. Jude’s for my birthday that the first year of the blog…2010. Wow!


I love my new basket of petunias….they make me smile every day on the way to the mail box. One symbolic meaning for the petunia reads: According to some sources, petunias are also a symbol of not losing hope. What an appropriate thought to end the blog on today!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The Chapel’s Gift of Hope…Matt’s Story

  1. Ging Edwards says:

    Hi…somehow I missed your message yesterday and I was in a tizzy…much better today after trading the blog. The explanation of hope and faith is beautiful. Thanks forever for doing this blog for us everydsy…it is truly life changing.


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    So glad the blog isn’t lost any more for you….Johnny Johnson said his didn’t appear one day and he always frantically checks on me to see if I am okay….never thought of the blog as a health indicator….but it’s comforting to know that it is like a lighthouse letting everyone know the light is still on and shining …and the operator is still writing.


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