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Giving ‘Grace’ to Gospel Mission

Theresa Bogacki holds the painted photo of “Grace” donated to the Union Gospel Mission, with Paul Hannu, executive director of the mission. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)

When Theresa Bogacki visited the Union Gospel Mission at 219 E. 1st St., she saw the opportunity to fill a hole. More specifically a hole in the wall.

The 84-year old Duluth resident noticed a blank space on the wall of the mission and decided to donate her copy of the famous 1918 photograph “Grace” by Eric Enstrom.

“I’m downsizing my living space. I thought it’s so meaningful, so appropriate to give it to the mission,” Bogacki said.

The famous photograph was taken by Enstrom in his studio not far from Duluth, in the mining town of Bovey, Minn. The original photo was black and white, but Enstrom’s daughter Rhoda Nyberg created the widely-distributed colorized version by hand-painting copies.

In 2002, “Grace” was designated the official state photograph of ­Minnesota.

Bogacki said it the photo was a common gift to young married couples to place in their dining rooms.

“I tried to give it to my grandson but he didn’t want to take it,” Bogacki said. “Young persons may not know the art’s significance.”

She said she wanted to donate it to the mission because of the work done there. The mission was started in Duluth in 1922 and serves over 70,000 meals yearly. The mission also hosts Bible studies, religious services and special ministries such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Overcomers.

“It’s a safe place for many with open doors, coffee and nutritious food,” Bogacki said. “There was a time where there were no missions or soup kitchens or food shelves. We all need to be thankful for this generosity.”

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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