Anne Basile, “Empty Spaces”

Anna Basile’s Video Message: The Church Waits for Our Return

Anna Basile, who grew up in St. Luke’s, recently revisited the church to explore the space that fed her youth and spirit and rediscover the joy and peace it brings to us all…especially now. She is presently completing her graduate studies in theatre, which led her to develop a film of her clown-spirit’s whimsical jaunt through St. Luke’s. In the process, she finds that the church is okay and ready for our return. Please read her words below and enjoy her film. 

My first role in the St. Luke’s community was in the angel choir, under the direction of Mrs. Rigg and Valerie Nicolosi Niemerg. I grew up in the choir loft under Mrs. Rigg’s watchful eye, and developed a passion for music that carried me through much of my adolescence, and carries me still today. In many ways, the church came home with me. My mother’s mosaic, which now hangs in the front hall of the church, spent a few years in our old TV room before it found its final home. I traveled to Boston, New York, and Washington DC with the choir, making new friendships and widening the sense of community I had at St. Luke’s and beyond. I traveled to El Pedregal as a missioner during my junior year of high school, and tried to capture the transformative and meaningful experience it had been in an account of the trip in front of the congregation. Since leaving Rhode Island for college, I have been welcomed back to St. Luke’s every Christmas Eve to sing with friends and former choristers. We are spread across the country, but every Christmas it is a pilgrimage made with joy and a sense of homecoming. I am currently entering my fifth and final semester of a graduate program in Philadelphia studying Physical Theatre and Devised Performance. Although clown is a portion of what I’ve studied at school, many affectionately refer to the program as ‘clown school’. And for my final project this past Spring semester, I chose to complete a deeper investigation into what the art of clown could bring to this tumultuous and lonesome time in all of our lives. It made sense that in the face of great loneliness and the feeling of being uprooted that I would return, once again, to the space which has held me for so long: St. Luke’s. I hope you enjoy this ode to the building itself and all of the ways it sings to us, even from a distance.