Review: Artesanato Costa Sacred Art, with Blessed Carlo Acutis statue

On this second feast day (October 12) of Blessed Carlo Acutis since his beatification on October 10, 2020 in Assisi, Italy, The Catholic Man Reviews‘ moderator, Vincent Pham, Ivy Pham take time to speak about Artesanato Costa and their statue of Carlo Acutis.

If you have been following our blog for the past year or so, you may have noticed that The Catholic Man has a devotion to the Blessed Carlo Acutis. With review of four English titles (with one or two more coming in the near future) about the young Blessed, you may have a sense where this review is heading, but hold those thoughts! Today, we are reviewing an article related to Carlo Acutis, but it is not a book about him. Unlike the other the other reviews, this article comes to us from Brazil. Thanks to Artesanato Costa in São Paolo, Brazil, we have for feature on our blog today a beautiful 30cm statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis.

Why all the way from Brazil, you might be asking? Since the beatification of the young Blessed on October 10, 2020 in Assisi, the devotion to the Blessed has grown all around the world, particularly in Brazil. It was in Brazil that the miracle needed for Carlo’s beatification took place. A search of “Carlo Acutis Brazil,” or “Devotos de Carlo Acutis Brasil” (Devotees of Carlo Acutis in Brazil) on Google or on social media pages can reveal to one the extent and numbers of devotees there are. One of the leading figures of this devotion in the country is Fr. Fabio Vieira. He served for some years as postulator for the cause, particularly for the stage leading up to Carlo’s beatification (as the miracle for the beatification came from Brazil). Now that his role of postulator has concluded, after October 2020, he has returned to Brazil and is now the Rector of the Shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Remedies). It is here that he has set up his “headquarters” for the Devotos de Carlo Acutis Brasil and has been travelling all over the country in recent months following the more relaxed COVID-19 measures. He continues to share and promote the story of the young boy Carlo and inspires other young people to follow in the young Blessed’s path to holiness.

Carlo Acutis’ “arrival” from Brazil to Toronto

On May 3, 2021, devotees of Carlo Acutis celebrated what would have been his 30th birthday. It was then that I saw a beautiful statue depiction of Bl. Carlo Acutis being circulated throughout social media. I immediately had to search for the company behind the production of the statues, and found that it was Artesanato Costa. To be fair, there have been small statue depictions floating around on the online market, mainly from Brazil, but they were not up to a premium, quality standard, probably an effect and result of quick mass production. These depictions that I saw came very shortly after Carlo’s beatification and the production was probably in response to the growing number of devotees.

Artesanato Costa only launched their statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis well into 2021 and in my opinion, the wait has paid off to be a handsome, premium product that urges one to reflect on the life and spirituality of Carlo Acutis. Carlo Acutis would say, “Non io ma Dio – Not I but God,” and so such depictions of holy figures like Carlo direct one not to the individual, but rather, to God as all the saints point to God. Yet, beauty is such an important factor that builds into this. A beautiful work of art only reinforces the need for one to ponder the Glory of God, and in this context, the beauty of art through depictions of the saints. I think this is the goal that Artesanato Costa has in mind in their creations as they continue to serve in this ministry of producing beautiful Sacred Art.

Late August, I brought the statue to be blessed by a priest, and one of the people standing near us remarked to how ordinary the depiction of Carlo is: a young man, with a polo shirt, jeans and tennis shoes… an image anyone can relate to. Personally for me, as a university student, that is very much visible on the university campus in the hundreds of thousands of students who walk the streets and enter the classrooms. Artesanato Costa’s depiction reminds us that sainthood is not for the extraordinary people, but like Carlo, for the ordinary, because in sainthood, it is through the ordinary that one reaches the extraordinary. I think it is so important to be reminded as such. I have kept the statue of Carlo Acutis on my desk in my bedroom (and soon, after today, it will have a more prominent place, like a “side altar” in my room) to be constantly reminded of how holiness does not require that I aim for grandeur tasks, but rather, being faithful in my current vocation as a son, a student, a lay person in parish ministry… and such depictions of the saints should remind one so. It is not merely decoration for an altar or the home, but should prompt some further action.

I was quite amazed when I saw the images of the statues by Artesanato Costa on Fr. Vieira’s social media pages, as well as that of Devotos de Carlo Acutis Brasil. However, I do have to say, the pictures do not do them justice. The detail on the statue is simply amazing. I have received statues which lacked details and they were, in bare terms, “cheap-looking.” Not the case with Artesanato Costa’s statue – there is much detail in the figure, from the face, his backpack, and down to even his tennis shoes. All the elements are in great harmony with one another. One thing I can be certain of, every statue has been given “individual” treatment of love and care that they deserve. For me, a very life-like statue.

Fr. Fabio Vieira visiting the studios of Artesanato Costa (@padrefabiovieira)

What would I recommend? Honestly, not much – all I would recommend would possibly be darker hair on Carlo since in the photographs, he has nearly all black, if not, black hair. He had a lighter, golden-brown in his younger years based on photographs I have seen.
** Update: After the publishing of this post, the hair on the statue will be dyed in a darker colour. **

Another consideration I would keep in mind would be size. Currently, the statue is available in 30cm and 60cm. The one used in this review is 30cm. When the statue arrived, I was honestly a bit surprised at how tall the statue was. I am used to 15cm statues. The tallest statue to date is probably the ~40cm wooden crucifix I have reviewed on this blog some years ago. The larger size, I think is appropriate in order to give it the full treatment of details and such, because features such as pupils of the eyes become very difficult to detail well on smaller statues. However, if one day, Artesanato Costa would consider making smaller sizes, I think they would be welcomed. I would love to see one of about 15cm for use in the space where I do my school work.

My sister, Ivy Pham who have been a familiar face and contributor of our blog shares similar sentiments, but is a bit more critical with her review of the statue, considering her passion in the arts:

I think overall this is a very well done statue. There is a lot of detail in it: creases in the fabric, fingernails, texture in his hair, shading and highlighting. There is what I interpret as “dirt” on his shoes and bag which I think gives it a realistic, well loved aspect. There is also just the slightest dusting of pink to his cheeks. I really like this detail; it helps gives the whole piece a youthful feel and I think that is very representative of Bl. Carlo and why his legacy is so attractive to many people, particularly young people. Often times with statues, there is a bit of “painting outside of the lines” and that is present with this statue, but it is very minimal so it does not distract from the overall piece. His facial features are very well done; I would imagine a lot of care was taken to achieve such a high level of precision. He even has pupils painted in with great detail. I am particularly taken by the base. The colour chosen for it is a great choice. It is a different colour from the rest of the statue but is still from the same colour palette so it doesn’t take away from the main features. I think the border at the bottom is absolutely beautiful. It just adds a little something without being overpowering since it is quite small. My biggest qualm with this statue is that Bl. Carlo has disproportionately long legs. From what I know, Bl. Carlo was quite tall, but I think his legs in this statue are a bit too long compared to the rest of his body. It doesn’t take away very much from the piece as a whole but I think it is something some people will notice if they took some time to truly look at the piece.

Overall, an excellent, job well done by Artesanato Costa, who through their art, has brought Carlo Acutis to 3-D form for his devotees all over the world. Devotees of Carlo might want one for their home altar or prayer space in their home. Youth groups might want to consider purchasing one for their youth group space in their parish. For me, this statue has another purpose – to hold my third-class relic of Bl. Carlo Acutis. How perfect!

Interested? You can check out more details about this 30cm statue of Carlo Acutis and purchase here. You can also check out details about the 60cm statue here.

You can check out Artesanato Costa’s great work and other products on their website at If you want to see even more beautiful Sacred Art, I highly recommend their Instagram @artesanatocosta and their Facebook @ArtesanatoCosta62. Unfortunately at the moment Artesanato Costa cannot sell and ship abroad, but soon this will be possible. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact their wonderful, caring staff via Whatsapp at +55 11 5670-5600.

Blessed Carlo Acutis, pray for us.

Official product images courtesy of Artesanato Costa – Please click on them to enlarge

Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a sample of this statue to provide an honest review of the title on our blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Artesanato Costa for the opportunity for us to review this statue of Carlo Acutis on our blog. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.


Book Review: Carlo Acutis – The Boy Who Knew by Corinna Turner

“Carlo Acutis is a model of holiness for our times.” I have heard variants of this line over and over again and reading about Carlo’s life online and reading Mgr. Anthony Figueiredo’s book, Blessed Carlo Acutis – 5 Steps to Being a Saint kept confirming that fact. As a young adult, almost 10 years apart from Carlo, his life of holiness serves as an inspiration for my own spiritual life. With the celebration of his 30th birthday this past Monday May 3, I was able to see how many people all over the world are devoted to this young man, and more importantly, how many people are striving to imitate his way to holiness. 

The question I have is, how can we make the story of Carlo Acutis known to younger people, particularly teenagers? The problem is this, there is just not much english material on Carlo Acutis (yet), let alone materials specifically geared towards a young teenage audience. However, it was probably with these concerns in mind that Carnegie Medal Award Nominee, Corinna Turner inaugurated her short-fiction series, “Friends in High Places,” featuring the lives of saints told through the lens of fictional characters. This series opened with Carlo Acutis – The Boy Who Knew which was launched just days before Carlo’s beatification in Assisi

I honestly did not know what to expect in this short novel, not even 100-pages thick. For one thing, I rarely even review fiction on this blog. However, upon reading the book, I was amazed at how Corinna was able intertwine fiction and non-fiction together seamlessly. 

In October 2020, a boy from the UK named Daniel learns of his diagnosis with leukaemia. Daniel seems to have mixed emotions. His parents seem torn spiritually over this diagnosis: His mom, motionless, did not know what else to do but turn to the possibility of prayer, while his father who was not even a practicing Catholic falls into deeper spiritual hopelessness, seemingly giving up on faith in God altogether.  Upon learning of the diagnosis, none of Daniel’s parents attend the Saturday Vigil Mass at church but Daniel. Yet, he does so alone, carrying in himself an anger towards God. 

However, it was in God’s providence that at the end of Mass, he has the opportunity to speak with Father Thomas, a young lively priest. Corinna is able to make the reactions of the characters seem so genuine that even Father Thomas, upon learning of Daniel’s diagnosis seems to have had a bit of loss of words. I would be if I were a priest. Being able to quickly recollect himself Father Thomas introduces Daniel to a figure named Carlo Acutis. 

Daniel has a hard time at first to develop a curiosity to learn of Carlo. He does not want to learn of someone who has died… he was trying to find a sense of accompaniment in his darkest of times – he wanted to find an assurance of life, not death. Yet, ironically, it is in with little bit of curiosity that eventually took him over, that he was able to find a sense of hope, a new sense of life. 

Corinna frames her storyline around the Novena to Blessed Carlo Acutis. Diagnosed with leukaemia, at a point between life and death, Daniel realizes that there is nothing else he can do but to pray, and to live life to the fullest. Anyone who has made novena to Blessed Carlo would be very familiar with the quotes and prayers outlined throughout the book. However, reading it in the context of this short-fiction piece really gives you a different perspective of it. It is as if through Daniel, the author was trying to break-down the novena for the reader and that has really influenced how I reflect on the quotes and prayers of the novena. If you have never made the novena before, reading the book really gives you a brief overview of Carlo’s quotes and his spirituality through the lens of Daniel, a young person… such a simple spirituality that anyone can grasp, even someone with the slightest bit of will because it is the will that you put in that God can stir something within you. This we see clearly in Daniel. 

Here’s the fascinating thing I found – the figure of Daniel, in letting God take on the steering wheel of his life, even just that sliver of hope that he had gave him a new meaning to life. He himself becomes a “Carlo Acutis” as he strives to develop for himself a prayerful life in the midst of the ups and downs with his health, his own self and his family, eventually coming to the realization that in God is his only hope.

Given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from Father Thomas to go to Assisi to attend Carlo’s beatification in Assisi, despite his barriers of physical health, he deeply desires to go to be near his spiritual companion whom he has only encountered within a matter of days. His parents were busy too accompany him on a one-day notice to go from the UK to Assisi (or did not seem to bother making the effort to do so), Father Thomas accompanies Daniel on this pilgrimage. It was a life-changing experiences for Daniel as on this pilgrimage, he is able to truly have an encounter with Carlo, his spirituality and his life. It is as if everything in the story culminates or “solidifies” with this pilgrimage. At the moment of Carlo’s beatification, the fears and anger that Daniel had seemed to have faded away. Daniel now understands that he has not a dead friend, but a spiritual companion who is truly alive, and intercedes for him and thus no matter what happens, he was to place his total trust in God. 

Daniel returns with Father Thomas to the UK and it is as if Daniel is a new person. He comes back to seemingly stir a conversion in his parents, and his friend Razim. This may have not been an instant conversation, but we see in these three figures, along with Daniel, a sense of change and willingness to be open to the Gospel, to God’s will. The story culminates in prognosis day, the last day of the Novena to Blessed Carlo Acutis. Daniel concludes this novena and heads to the hospital with his parents. The story with Daniel and his parents heading in to discover his prognosis. The story ends there – we do not know what happens after, what the results of the prognosis was… What we do know is that Daniel and his parents went in to learn of the results of the prognosis in a sense of total surrender to God, knowing that Carlo would be their spiritual guide and God was watching over them. 

What a beautiful story – thought fictional, just seemed so real. For me, reading this book affirmed in me that holiness and totally surrender to God requires that we just have within ourselves even just a sliver of hope in God. We do not know what will happen to us, especially during this time of pandemic. Death can come in a matter of hours, days, years… but as Carlo Acutis said, “conversion is nothing more than the raising of one’s gaze,” and when we look up to the top, towards God, we will find hope and that no matter what happens to us, we come to understand that God is greater than all evil, all failures of this world. 

On another point, Carlo Acutis – The Boy Who Knew introduces the story of Carlo Acutis and his spirituality in a very unique way, through the lens of a fictional character that seems so real, so relatable to someone of our times. Corinna Turner was really able to tell the story well – as I read, I was able to read the novel as if I were in Daniel’s shoes. 

At the end of the book has a section that contains the Novena to Blessed Carlo Acutis, and the prayer of Canonization. Unfortunately, I must critique this section, in that the texts still state, “Servant of God Carlo Acutis,” or “Venerable Carlo Acutis,” and not been updated to reflect “Blessed Carlo Acutis.” I hope these texts will be properly updated in future editions of the book. Meanwhile, one can find the updated texts at 

Update: I was advised that the book was published before the updating of these prayers in October 2020. Future editions will hopefully be featuring the updated texts. For now, a PDF of the novena can be found here:

Overall, a job well-done by Corinna Turner in telling a story of both a fictional character’s worrisome nine-days, but also many of the key elements of the life and spirituality of Blessed Carlo Acutis. It is my hope that this book will reach the hands of many young people, especially teenagers. 

The book is available in both e-book and softcover versions. 

Please also checkout the official page for Carlo Acutis – The Boy Who Knew here.

Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a review copy to provide an honest review of the title on our blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Ms. Corinna Turner for the opportunity for us to review this title on our blog. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the book. 

Book Review: Blessed Carlo Acutis – 5 Steps to Being a Saint by Mgr. Anthony Figueiredo

On Saturday October 10, 2020, in the Upper Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, the Venerable Carlo Acutis was beatified, the second last step before canonization. Days prior to Bl. Carlo’s beatification, I kept seeing news stories of him on my Facebook news feed. I knew a little bit about who Carlo was prior to his beatification, but never bothered to read up much about him.

However, on Friday October 09, 2020 I was browsing YouTube and came across a livestream of Eucharistic Adoration of youth on the vigil of Carlo’s beatification. I had a bit of an idea about what was happening, though not much because the program was in Italian. Yet, there was still something that lingered with me about the Carlo. The next day, I was able to follow live up until the Gloria (so the Beatification rite, and presentation of the relic) since I was at work that day. However, when I got home, I watched the rest of the Mass (with English commentary).

That night of October 10, before going to sleep, I wanted to know more about who Carlo really was. I scrolled through Amazon to see if there were some English titles about him, and there was a free e-book, Carlo Acutis – Servant of God: Life Beyond the Border by Francesco Occhetta and I read it in its entirety. Upon completing it, I turned off my iPad with teary-eyed.

The story of Bl. Carlo Acutis is truly a remarkable one. If you want to read more about the life of Carlo, I suggest you go online and do a Google Search… you will be able to get much of his biographical details. However, what I was more excited after Carlo’s beatification was the fact that there was now a young model of holiness, close to my generation that I can relate to and ask for his intercession and I pray for the day of his canonization.

Blessed Carlo Acutis: Five Steps to Being a Saint by Anthony Figueiredo
Click the cover to read a sample

However, I think the reading of Bl. Carlo Acutis’ life is not complete without taking into consideration his simple spirituality. There are a good number of Italian publications about Carlo’s life and his spirituality, yet not many, if any titles in English until now, that speaks of his spirituality. It was therefore an excitement for me to know in early 2021 that Mgr. Anthony Figueiredo, a monsignor currently serving in the Diocese of Assisi wrote Blessed Carlo Acutis – 5 Steps to Being a Saint and published by the Catholic Truth Society.

I was very excited the day my copy of the book came in the mail because this title is the first of its kind – that is, in terms of English publications on Bl. Carlo. It is a beautiful, high-quality publication. Don’t get yourself wrong – it is not a small, black and white biography of a saint. The book is colourful, with many quotes and photographs of Bl. Carlo Acutis. I think this is important because it brings his spirituality alive.

Yet, what is this spirituality of Bl. Carlo? Right from the start of the book, Mgr. Figueiredo made it a point that Carlo was a very normal young man. For me and for many young people, Carlo is someone who you can picture walking down the street with a sweater and jeans. Yet, what was extraordinary in this ordinary young man was his holiness and how he constantly strived towards it in the setting that he was living in. He was able to be holy, while maintaining his hobbies and pastimes that made him original. Based on Carlo’s life, Mgr. Figueiredo presents the reader five steps to holiness:

  1. Frequent reception of the Eucharist
  2. Eucharistic adoration
  3. Guidance of a spiritual father and regular Confession
  4. Devotion to the Blessed Mother through recitation of the Rosary and discovering the lives of the saints
  5. Acts of charity, small or large

Now, don’t think you read this list on my review here and think, “That’s it! I don’t need to purchase the book!” Well no. If you just read this list above, you are missing out on a lot of the “meat” of the book. Even though the book is only 86 pages, Mgr. Figueiredo really frames these five practices in very practical terms in the context of Carlo’s life.

In our lives, we often make excuses for our busyness to justify our lack of practicing these five steps to holiness. Or for some, Catholic piety and holiness can be achieved on the surface: “I’m good – I go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. I confess once a year.” While such an observance is fine, I would think Catholicism then would only be something on the side, and not really a challenge or a striving because such a spiritual life would be too shallow.

Mgr. Figueiredo challenges his readers to go beyond a textbook Catholicism so to really develop a relationship with Jesus in our daily lives. That is what I think I was missing in my spiritual life prior to Carlo’s beatification. While I participated in youth groups, altar serving, choir… all sorts of ministries in the parish, what I lacked was a deeper spiritual life like that of Carlo. To put it in Venerable Cardinal Van Thuận’s terms, I seemed to care more about the work of God, rather than God Himself. Carlo strived to live, “Non io ma Dio – Not I but God.” He wanted to truly have a close relationship with Jesus, with Mary and saints because he knew his priorities, he knew what was the most important. Yet, that never meant that he had to give up his computer programming skills, nor his love for Pokémon, games or friends. That is what makes this young man so admirable – he was able to be that normal guy down the street, while being a saint. The “5 steps to being a saint” that Mgr. Figueiredo proposes are not difficult. Like any relationship, these five steps require commitment to make Jesus at the centre of your life.

A section that I love and appreciate about this book is, “Sayings of Blessed Carlo Acutis.” For months, I have been striving to get a collection of Carlo Acutis’ quotes because they are so simple, but knocks on the heart. Carlo seemed to like to use analogies and honestly, these quotes stick with you. Consider this, “Holiness is not the process of adding, but subtracting: less of me to leave more space for God.” Or, “The Rosary is the shortest ladder to heaven.” These are just two of a wide selection of quotes that I dare say: for the first time, compiled and translated into English in one place.

At the end of the book, all I can say is, “Thank you Mgr. Figueiredo. Thank you Carlo. Thank you God.” I completed the book in one sitting and still continue to refer to the book, re-reading parts of it because Carlo makes holiness so “attractive,” not in the earthly sense, but “attractive” because there is something so much more to holiness that worldly things cannot offer. That is, in striving for holiness, we become saints and sainthood is our goal because in sanctity, we encounter God Himself.

This book should get into the hands of as many youth and young adults as possible because Carlo’s spirituality is indeed a spirituality for everyone, and particularly young people like myself today. Hopefully there will be many, many more english titles about Bl. Carlo Acutis in the future because Carlo’s life and spirituality is one that touches that of young people of the millennial generation because Carlo himself was a teenager of the millennial generation.

You may purchase a copy of Mgr. Figueiredo’s book here.

Visit an English site about Bl. Carlo Acutis by Mgr. Figueiredo here.

Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was sent a review copy of this title to feature a sincere review of this title. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. We thank Catholic Truth Society Publishing for this opportunity.

Update – February 5, 2022: Wanted to share this video produced by the Newman Catholic Students’ Club (NCSC) of the University of Toronto as part of a new video series, based on some of the reiews I have done on this blog. I thank the NCSC for giving me this opportunity. Shout out to Julia A. for producing, and editing this video.