Month: June 2013

Much More Than a Statue: The Meaning of Catholic Figurines and Icons

Catholic Figurines
St. Patrick Statue

For centuries, Catholic figurines and icons have been images of faith and inspiration. Typically depicting the Saints, Mary, or Jesus, Catholic icons and figurines are full of deep spiritual meaning and symbolism. This includes the types of colors used, the material used and even the way the image is depicted. Gold, wood, or canvases are popular choices, and common elements like wings or halos are also present.

Though they’ve existed for centuries, Catholic icons and Catholic figurines are becoming more popular as a tool for remembering and honoring specific elements of faith. They are also used to help convey and teach key points about the faith to new Catholics and children. Similar to setting out a holiday scene depicting the birth of Christ, many families use Catholic figurines to show and explain biblical events.

How can you use Catholic figurines?

  • As an element for remembering your personal devotions. For example, the St. Patrick figurine is popular now in homes for its beauty and meaning.
  • To honor or remember a loved one. If a family member or friend who has passed away had a favorite or cherished Saint, a Catholic figurine of that Saint makes a loving gesture of remembrance in a home or garden.
  • To honor religious service. Remember favorite teachers, priests or clergy with a figurine gift they will enjoy for years to come.
  • To help tell a story. Share a Catholic figurine that has beautiful detail, color and symbolism – as well as interactive features, such as Our Lady of Grace triptych, as you explain biblical moments to others that have deep meaning for you.
  • Share a Catholic figurine or icon on a greeting card or Holy card. Messages of blessings and peace on a greeting card are a wonderful way to share a Catholic icon painting. Many online Catholic stores have great selections.

Take a moment to study these items and reflect on them when you see them. There’s more than meets the eye – every color, brush stroke, surface and element is intended to remind you of the great hope that comes to us from our Heavenly Father! The Printery House, a monastery in the hills of northwest Missouri, offers Catholic icon greeting cards, Holy cards, Catholic figurines and icons, all to support the work and mission of Conception Abbey. Check out these beautiful pieces today!


Christian Birthday Cards: Yes, They Do Still Matter

Birthday Cards
Birthday Card Assortment

It just doesn’t seem like people send greeting cards via good old mail much anymore. To many, it seems so much easier to jot off a text or Facebook post wishing someone congratulations, or thanks or even an invitation. Birthday cards, which were once a pretty big part of birthdays, are often now a single line on Facebook or a hashtag message on Twitter.

You just can’t compare how a person feels seeing your bright envelope and handwriting among a zillion birthday greetings online. Sending an actual birthday card is like a little part of you reached out and gave the person a big hug.

We can’t explain how it happens, but somehow more than ink gets stuffed inside those birthday cards. Sounds a bit dramatic perhaps – but you know that there is an experience to getting a card and it is hard to put into words.

The other great thing about birthday cards is that they can help the birthday celebration go on and on. At our house, birthday cards are displayed on the kitchen table for at least a week. Then they move to the kitchen window sill before being lovingly stored with all the cards from previous years. For a week or two there is this riot of colorful paper screaming out “You are loved!”

Christian birthday cards remind us that someone loves us and they remind us that God loves us. The reminder of His love is enough to lift our hearts even if the social network birthday wishes are few and there was just that one, single card in the mail. His love is more than sufficient. Talk about packing the envelope!

It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. The same could be said about writing personal cards: ink is mightier than online typeface. A Christian birthday card that can be held in the hand, read and re-read, and saved for future comfort simply cannot be replaced.

So, while it may currently be in vogue to be too busy to pick out a card, pen a message, affix a stamp, address it and drop it in the mailbox, the pendulum is about to swing back. The emptiness of hurried electronic greetings is too unsatisfying. Sending a Christian birthday card to a literal mailbox makes a difference. The Printery House makes it easy to order birthday cards, and the few minutes you spend writing a line or two inside is invaluable.

Holy Cards: Feed the Need to Inspire and Give Hope

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Holy Cards 2
Holy Spirit Stained Glass

While many of us have gathered around a rack of cards that sing popular songs and other noises, sometimes a card that’s artistic, personal and faith-filled is what the moment calls for. Holy Cards fit the need. They’re small (think vintage Valentines), beautifully created and full of faith with prayers to be treasured. Send some this summer, and you’ll be sending something that’s actually part of a centuries-old tradition.

As early as the 15th century, Catholics were sharing Holy Cards with one another, circulating artistic paintings of their icons of faith while also creating what many consider a very valuable piece of cultural history. Sometimes flowers or keepsake items were attached to them, and they were even sent to children. Today, many Holy Cards show an image of a Saint and also offer a prayer that can be recited.
You can you use Holy Cards to inspire and send a message of hope and here are just a few ways you can do that:

A Baby’s Baptism

Send a beautiful Holy Card for a baby’s baptism, and you’ll know that the family will likely press it alongside other keepsakes into a baby’s album of this wonderful day.

For a Memorial

A Holy Card is often used to send a treasured prayer to honor a loved one or a friend’s passing, and these remain a meaningful part of the memorial process for many Catholics today.

For Confirmations

Celebrate and honor a confirmation with a beautifully-created Holy Card, sure to be tucked away into a memory box. Many feature delicate renditions of the Saints.

For a Religious Anniversary

Holy Cards are perfect for thanking and commemorating a person’s service anniversary to the church or their entrance into a faith profession. They’re small enough to place in a frame near a work desk, for example, serving as a constant inspiration.

For Artistic Works at Home That Share Your Faith

Decorating with Holy Cards can be a fresh new way to use these historic pieces. Place several in a windowed frame for an eye-catching collage. Create a “wallpaper” border of the Saints with several Holy Cards placed together in a continuous stream of faith. Press them into clear-coat for a beautiful table top.

As you look for new ways to send something you believe in, look for unique Holy Cards created by the monks and artists at The Printery House. Your purchase helps support the centuries-old tradition of Holy Cards, and supports our work of Conception Abbey – a monastery nestled in the rolling hills of northwest Missouri.

Catholic Gift Stores Provide Unique Wedding Gifts

blesshomeWhen you believe in a couple and you believe in their union, the gift is more than just a quick stop at a big-chain store.

The customs associated with modern weddings have certainly undergone some changes, but what never changes is the joyful wishes guests want to convey to the happy couple. If the couple is Catholic, then Catholic gift stores could provide you with the kind of unique wedding gifts that express those joyful wishes loud and clear.

For many years brides and grooms have used bridal registries to help guests select an appropriate wedding gift. It can be helpful to remember that registries are simply gift suggestions. Wedding experts now say that the trend is moving away from gift registries. Couples are marrying later, and often already have many of the basic necessities needed to establish a ‘house’.

But even if the bride and groom are very young and setting up house for the very first time, sometimes it can feel a bit impersonal to purchase a gift from a list of suggestions. More and more often wedding attendees are choosing to give gifts with an individual stamp. And when the new couple is Catholic, gifts that reflect and support their faith are coming into vogue.

Rather than the conventional electric mixer or knife block, young Catholic couples may be happy to receive gifts that they can use to solidify their grounding as a union of faith. A new family Bible, for example, may not make it on any gift registry, but is a gift that provides blessing each day for years to come. Catholic gift stores offer wedding edition Bibles, study Bibles and even gift-appropriate illuminated Bibles.

While young couples often think about having enough bath towels for company or enough coasters for dinner guests, they may not think about how Christian art can contribute to the faith-filled environment they want their home to be. Wedding guests don’t need to buy major art pieces, but wall crosses or small, framed Bible verses can help cover blank walls in the home with the promise of God’s favor.

Finally, for years it was customary to give newlyweds gifts that only saw occasional use. China and silver patterns were chosen by the couple with great care, even though those items were put to use one or two times a year at best. Why not give them a crèche instead? Brides and grooms may little think in June how welcome Christmas decorations will be in December, but when the holidays roll around they will be excited to actually be prepared. Advent candles and Lenten supplies are other ways to help new couples establish a joint life of faith.

Catholic gift stores offer all sorts of personal gift options that are off the beaten path. Online stores like The Printery House make it easy to shop for unique weddin presents. Remember that it is still customary to send gifts to the bride’s (or new couple’s) address two weeks before the big day, so don’t wait too long before getting your summer wedding gifts.