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!



4 responses to “Much More Than a Statue: The Meaning of Catholic Figurines and Icons”

  1. Monica Jones Avatar
    Monica Jones

    Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

    1. Bro. David Wilding, O.S. B. Avatar
      Bro. David Wilding, O.S. B.

      Dear Monica,

      We appreciate that you probably belong to a tradition that interprets the Bible differently than we do. Please refer to the following links for the official Catholic teaching on holy images, and for specific teaching regarding the passage you quote. You might also search Wikipedia or Google for “iconoclasm” which will give you a more detailed description of the history of this issue., #476

      God Bless!

  2. Cindy Smigliani Avatar
    Cindy Smigliani

    My mother had a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Fatima. A font is between them.
    I’m not sure if I am right about. I believe could be over 100. Years old or more. Not sure what they represent? Can you enlighten me? Thank you for your help,
    God Bless,
    Cindy L Smigliani

    1. Bro. David O.S.B. Avatar
      Bro. David O.S.B.


      It is hard to tell what this is without seeing it, but depictions of Mary under two titles at the same time are rare. My best guess is that what you have described as Our Lady of Fatima in this piece is actually St. Bernadette, the visionary of Lourdes. The font between would make sense since this vision involved the appearance of a miraculous spring. The use of “Lourdes water” is a popular devotion among pilgrims who have visited the site.