The "Why" behind CORDA

Why behind CORDA Catholic candles


The “why” behind CORDA is simple: to craft beautiful products that help deepen our faith. If you’re like me, you love how our faith is sacramental: that the things we see and touch and smell and eat and hear truly make visible an invisible reality.

Perhaps my love of sacramentality is why making each candle by hand is so important to me. Someone asked me recently why I decided to make candles, of all things. Well, St. Joseph told me to! For years, I had work that paid the bills but required me to sit in front of a screen all day, every day, clicking buttons and pushing keys. There was no creativity in my work and it was completely draining rather than lifegiving. So, all throughout those years, I asked St. Joseph (the patron saint of workers) to help me, someday, somehow, find work that was creative, would let me work with my hands, and would help support my family. 

Then one day during Mass I was thinking about how St. Joseph provided for his family through the work of his hands and praying in thanksgiving for him. And, in that moment, the idea to make candles with scents connected to saints and the faith came to me, and I also immediately had ideas for four saintly scents. It was a crazy moment! I couldn’t get the idea out of my head or heart, so I shared it with my husband. He immediately loved it and told me to do whatever I needed to get started. And so began many months of research, development, and preparation to bring this idea to life...

It seems perfect to me, actually, to make saint and faith inspired candles, because candles have long been used by the Church as a symbol for Christ, the Light of the World (Jn 8:12). In a special way, we see this at the tabernacle, where the living flame of a lit candle tells us Christ is truly present. And did you know that the ingredients of liturgical candles matter? They must be mostly pure beeswax, because this natural wax symbolizes the pure flesh of Christ received from his mother, the Virgin Mary. In addition, the candle wick is thought to signify the soul of Christ and the flame his divinity. Once you start thinking about how candles are used in the Church, you’ll start seeing them everywhere: for Advent and Easter, for Baptism, for the Anointing of the Sick, on the altar during Mass, for special feasts such as Candlemas, and for devotional purposes to symbolize prayer, such as candles placed before a saint statue.

In our domestic churches, we can also use candles to remind us of the Light of the World, who promises that “he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And Jesus also tells us that we are the light of the world (Mt 5:14), because we are called to bring him to others. We see this so clearly with our friends, the saints. Their love for God brought the light of Christ to all they encountered, in all the particular circumstances of their own lives.

It is those particular circumstances that inspire me to create CORDA’s scent combinations and names that honor the saints and connect us to them in a real, concrete way. The unique scents are a fruit of love and prayer, and are designed to remind us of other men and women who said “yes” to the Cross and to the will of God, and that now they see him face to face. And, they continually pray for us before the throne of God! May we give “thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12).

Hearts up,


  • Jeanne R Thoms

    Amen, Donna! Thank you, Anna, for sharing your story—and for your devotion to St. Joseph!

  • Donna Barry

    This touched my heart. It made me thin how my gifts could be shared. It gave me inspiration to follow my heart. You are truly a light to inspire working hands in faith.

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