The roots of Creator Mundi began when Hildegard Letbetter was a small child in Cologne, Germany during World War II. Although devastation permeated her physical surroundings, the power to experience the simple forms of beauty through faith – brought hope. Though the Cologne Cathedral was heavily damaged during the war, Mass continued to be offered and beauty in the midst of devastation remained within the church. It was here that Hildegard found her way to the transformative power of sacred, religious spaces at an early age.
“One evening in May, 1946 after the final throes of World War II, the Catholic Cathedral bells of my home city of Cologne began ringing out their call for the Maiandacht (May Devotions in honor of Mary).
“I carefully clasped in my little fist the treasure that I had found in the rubble, now the only playground we children had at this terrible point in history. The ringing Cathedral bells reminded me to hurry if I wanted to see flowers, smell incense, and sing hymns honoring the Mother of God.
“I stumbled over the rubble and hastened up the stairs to where my mother was waiting for me with a washcloth and a prayer book.
Mutti (mommy), look what I found!” I opened my fist to show her a small shard of china decorated with a tiny painted blue flower and two green leaves.
‘Mutti, isn’t it beautiful? May I keep it?’
‘Hildegard,’ my mother responded, ‘this is indeed a very special gift. It is a Forget-Me-Not. It found you for a reason. It is indeed beautiful! Yes, you may keep it.’
‘May you always find beauty!’ I heard my mother exclaim as I skipped down the stairs and hurried off to church to see flowers, smell incense, and sing hymns honoring the Mater pulchritudinis (Mother of beauty).
“This small flower has been a symbol of both love and hope over the centuries. It was one of beauty to me as well.
“I spent the rest of my childhood in Cologne and, as an adult, I came to the United States with my teaching degree in hand. I became aware of the limited availability of quality religious, sacred art that I had been surrounded with and treasured so much in Germany. During my frequent visits back home, I began to gather and bring back to the United States small pieces of bronze, religious, sacred art from the monasteries and artist workshops that I had visited so often in my youth. As others discovered the special quality and meaning within each piece, my endeavors grew into a small family business which in 1987 became Creator Mundi Inc. We hold dearly our Catholic heritage, roots and traditions while reaching out ecumenically.
“My hope and prayer for you is that you find your own treasure among our ever-growing and changing collection of distinctive, religious sacred art and gifts. Distinctive sacred art that is artistically beautiful, culturally authentic and biblically based, creating lasting heirlooms for your family. May our pieces stir and awaken your mind and your soul.”
Hildegard Letbetter, Founder and Owner of Creator Mundi, Inc.