Thursday, April 14, 2011

Holy Cards, Saints, Coffee Tables and 1960s memories

It started with my sister Colleen requesting prayer cards. 

She had bought a glass top table and started putting beautiful pictures of Jesus, Mary and the saints under the glass. She made a request to the two younger sisters of our mother. Auntie Martha is a "collector" of all kitchy stuff from the 1950s, so she is sending her holy cards, first communion cards, confirmation cards and more.

Then the topic of St. Philomena came up.

Auntie Martha remembered that St. Philomena got "booted out" of the church back in the 1960s. (Actually the Holy See ordered her name removed from the liturgical calendars.)

This brought up this wonderful memory from Auntie Ann:

"Yes, I remember St Philomena being “delisted” because so little verifiable info was available on her. I always thought that it was weird that Our Lady of Mercy School (in Dayton, Ohio) had a statue of St Philomena. They actually screwed a bronze plate over the words “St Philomena” and renamed the same statue “Our Lady of _____(Good Hope?)”, but still not Our Lady of Mercy, the namesake of the parish!

The hunt for spare holy cards brought back memories of early grade school and Mary Jo McGrath’s extensive collection of holy cards. She had a daily missal (about 2” thick) and I only had a Sunday missal (about ½” think). The daily missal had 2 or 3 colored ribbons to mark your place, whereas mine only had 1 (I think). How she managed to amass such a number of holy cards at such an early age, I couldn’t fathom, but I was envious! 

We had some sitting down time during our daily mass, and she used to have me “grade” the holy cards, one against another, by putting one on each knee, while I tapped the my appropriate knee for the “prettiest” one. This would go on through all the cards, until the best one was picked. After a few days of this, I grew bored with the whole process and stopped “playing”. Don’t need to remind me that at this time I was not paying attention to the mass!

For confirmation I got a “Lives of the Saint” book, one for each day of the year. I turned to my birthday, January 26th-boring! So I went through the whole book & read about the martyrs. The more gory and horrific their deaths, the more I enjoyed it! So much for whatever influence someone thought I would get out of it. 

PS I did not really envision such deaths for my annoying little sisters!
Your table will be pretty and fun to talk to the kids about."

Thanks Colleen, Martha and Annie for sharing! I love our Catholic heritage remembered.

1 comment:

  1. St Philomena, she is one of my favorites.... a woman was bringing me a kitten and i was trying to come up with a big long italian name that rolled out of my mouth. saw the cat and it reminded me of a prayer card of st philomena... yes... the big eyes and dark hair parted on her forehead. my cat philomena has soften harden hearts and brought love back into a family distancing from each other.... the saint's work in funny ways... i credit st. philomena for blessing me with this kitten that brought love back into my home.