Thursday, May 21, 2015

Religious Relics Collection

Religious relics are not really something I set out to collect, they just happened to be an influence in my growing up. Many times the way a collection gets started is seeing something one remembers from their past and wanting that tangible something again. Such was the case of the St. Rita medal, shown below.
My given name is Rita, after St. Rita of Cascia (Italy). She is the patron saint of impossible causes (celebrated, incidentally, on May 22). I had the above medal as an adolescent and wore it many years. It got lost somewhere in my adulthood, and finding a medal exactly like the one I had was very special for me. The missal (a book containing Catholic texts), I received for my First Communion, also got lost through the years, but I found another one just like it at an estate sale. I wanted that memory again, and so I bought it (see below).
I have previously shared my mother's car keys that she carried on the day of her (ultimately) fatal car accident. I keep those, and will never forget that day.
When we cleaned out my mother's personal effects after her death, I also retrieved a prayer book of hers, "Moments with God", along with a cross that belonged to my father, I cherish these items as symbols of their strong faith, a foundation they provided me as I was growing up.
Whenever I'm at an estate sale or auction, especially, and I see religious relics, I have the urge to scoop them up, a sort of rescue type thing. That's how I've come upon most of what's now become my growing collection, along with the more memorable items noted. The Infant of Prague statue (below) was an auction rescue, as was the rosary. I have many rosaries, all beautiful in their own right, of various type beads, medals and crosses.
The Blessed Virgin Mary statues and Madonna catch-all box were estate finds, as were the triptychs (three-part, hinged display of images).

Then, occasionally, some things online will draw me to the point of purchase. Such were these items pictured below  - the unique, Stanhope Rosary (a tiny viewer image within the rosary, dating from 1880) and the pocket-size St. Anthony. Each of these came from bloggers with online shops who live in and sourced the items in France.

From the same blogger I purchased the St. Anthony (the name of the parish I grew up in), I also purchased a St. Rita benitier (holy water font). The Lamb and Child benitier pictured with the missal (second photo in this post, above) was found in an antiques store in Ohio.
Collecting holy cards was something we used to do as kids. Sadly, I don't have mine from childhood / adolescence. Even sadder is the fact that the recent holy cards I now have, I have collected at funeral wakes as tokens of the memory of those who have died.

At another estate sale, I came across this item pictured below. It is a pocket-sized (only about 1" tall) statue of Mary, holding Jesus, and tucks away into the metal, screw cap container. I learned it was typical of soldiers during WWII to carry these. My father served in WWII but I don't know if he had one. I had never seen one before this discovery, about 6 or 7 years ago.
I am not one to engage in or debate religious views, but these items are sentimental to me for reasons mentioned and more. I keep them close to me for my personal viewing and contemplation. I thought this month - the month of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary (also the month when many children receive their First Communion), along with this particular week - the feast of my namesake St. Rita, was an appropriate time to share them.

 As always, thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply

Sharing with any given number of these fine hosts: