Our Story


  Van Horn Family, 2024

It all started with a nearly-wrecked car and 40,000 bees on the I-10 Interstate Bridge over Pensacola Bay...

A friend of a friend was attempting to transport his beloved bees in the back of his sedan from Jacksonville to San Diego in a cross-country move like only a half-crazy beekeeper would attempt to do. Crazy because that’s a long drive for anyone, and crazy because that’s 40,000 live bees inside his car. 

About six hours into the trip, near Pensacola, Florida, a semi-truck swerved in front of him, forcing him to slam on his brakes. The sudden braking caused those 40,000 live bees to be set loose in the car. 

However, the world is not without heroes, and the hero of the day was my friend, Frank. Frank, a beekeeper himself, lived off the interstate in Pensacola and came to the rescue. In short order, he was able to capture and calm the hive (beekeeper magic). 

He ended up keeping some of those bees and, with those bees, started teaching me the craft of beekeeping. 

At the time, while Frank was patiently showing me the ins and outs of beekeeping, I was serving as the Executive Director of Fraternus. Fraternus is an organization that helps mentor Catholic boys to grow up to be virtuous Catholic men. It’s an organization doing work that the world is sorely in need of, and I was doing all I could to help it grow nationally (read: lots of travel for me).

After I married my wife, Emily, in 2010 and soon with more mouths to feed around the dinner table, my priorities started to change. I wanted to be home with my children and work with my family, not just for the family. (But, more on how the industrial revolution pulled men out of their houses later...)

By 2013, with the help of friends, family, and a loyal base of neighborhood customers, my serious bee hobby became a beekeeping business. Soon, we were head deep in producing, marketing, selling, and delivering pure Florida honey throughout our region.

The early years of “making it full-time” were equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. We were raising a growing family, managing bees, fulfilling online orders, and doing the farmers’ market hustle. We found the work deeply satisfying, yet wondered how to make this around-the-clock work sustainable for our family.

By 2020, we were managing approximately 400 colonies of bees and exclusively selling our honey locally when we were approached by another family in the area offering to buy the retail honey business we had built. Selling that part of the business allowed us to focus solely on beekeeping, the craft we loved most. We also decided to transition to bulk production and pollination, which afforded us more family time in the off-season and a simpler, agrarian way of life. 

During this same period, we were uncovering beautiful traditions in the Catholic faith that, for various reasons, were unknown to us before. The chanting of the Traditional Latin Mass, the rhythm of our family rosary each day, the ember days of fasting and prayer…our eyes were opened to these timeless treasures. We also discovered the liturgical role and symbolism of beeswax candles, especially in the sacrifice of the Mass.

So, in 2022, with a stockpile of beeswax accumulated from a decade of beekeeping and more time to pursue creative projects as a family, we founded Ambrosian Candle Company.

Our mission with Ambrosian Candles is not to be the biggest candle company, nor the fanciest. Rather, we work to craft beautiful and pure beeswax candles to assist other families like ours to pray, fast, and feast intentionally and joyfully. Our hope is that these 100% beeswax candles will, in their own little way, inspire all people to let the light of Our Lord fill their homes and communities.

Fiat Lux!