Common Good Profile
He and his wife Robyn, a pacemaker nurse, have a daughter, Eliza (1), and a son, Robert (3). Purkapile says that becoming a parent has only heightened his appreciation for working in a business that is built on creation. “Having the opportunity to bring life into the world and holding your own baby,” he says, “it’s a really profound experience of participating in creation, and to see the goodness and the dignity of life, to be able to participate in that. Even at the ultrasound, going to hear the heartbeat before meeting our son ... how can someone deny the beauty of life, even at this stage? [Being a father] has given me such an appreciation for so much of what the Church is fighting for.” “My first and most important obligation is to my family, loving my wife and forming my children to be good Catholics. At the end of the day, the work that I ammost proud of and brings me the greatest joy is building a family with my wife, Robyn, and enjoying the children that we have and the joy they bring to our lives.”
construction at a technical college. There he learned more detailed woodworking skills that set him on his current course. But there would be a few detours first. He served for a year with Net Ministries and then felt called to the priesthood, which brought him to the University of St. Thomas to study for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin. A critically important part of his formation as cabinetmaker was the St. Thomas Catholic Studies Rome program. His time in Rome fostered a love for beauty and its power to communicate theological truths. “Seeing how much detail went into making those churches,” he recalls, “it was so incredible. It gave you an appreciation for people who had an eye for that – the painting, the architecture, the stonework, how many different people had to have these skills in order to complete the vision – it might take generations to complete a building but it was built to last.” Purkapile also grew in appreciation for what he calls the mystery of
beauty and its imperative role in the life of the soul. “What draws us to a certain church or piece of artwork,” he wonders, “What makes something beautiful? Our culture really struggles to define this, but even nonbelievers are going to visit the Cathedral of St. Paul. Why does that draw people in? There’s a mystery to it. Something transcendent.” Purkapile enjoys a taste of this transcendence every time he finishes a project. “It brings me a lot of satisfaction after installing a job and getting to see the whole project come together and transform a space,” says Purkapile. “I don’t know how many times customers have come to see the project in its final stages and comment on how much it changes the space for the better. That, for me, is what I enjoy the most about what I do and is really what brings dignity into the workplace.” After discerning out of seminary, Purkapile started working for various cabinetmakers. He soon launched his own shop, Capstone Woodworking.
St. Thomas Lumen Spring 2021 Page 5
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