catholic collectibles

Holy cards, or prayer cards, were a hot collectible item for Catholic kids. They were handed out in religion classes as rewards, or given as presents on special feast days and celebrations. We prized the colourful cards. But then again, it was a time before the visual over-load of today`s technologies.The old school variety portrayed martyrs with the instruments of their torture and death. Yet they still looked peacefully to the heavens, crucifixes and lilies clutched to their bosoms. Some cards depicted bible stories, others simply had a prayer or inspirational message.

If you visit any Catholic book or religious supply store, you will probably find a stand of holy cards. They range from the traditional to the more contemporary. They are still a perfect gift for catechists to give their students, or for relatives to tuck into a card for a child. At international gatherings, they are an easy and affordable gift to bring. Cultural representations of Mary and local saints reflect the global nature of our faith.

Holy cards make the perfect bookmarks. Pull down any old bible or prayer book from your family`s shelf, and you`ll probably find a card or two inside. My mother-in-law tucks them into the corner of picture frames or pins them on her notice board.

Just like family photos, holy cards remind us that we are part of something larger – a communion of saints that extends across time and place.

2 thoughts on “catholic collectibles

  1. For more than 30 years now I have dabbled in a particular “Catholic collectible” – leafs of Gregorian Chant. These are hand copied pages copied by monks in the scriptorium of a monastery during the middle ages. Some have “illuminations”, fancy artwork lettering, usually at the beginning of a page or new paragraph. The music notation are squares drawn on music staff lines. They are usually done on handmade paper or velum with ink made from vegetable dyes. We have a piece of this chant framed and hanging over the piano in the living room. Over the years I have given some of these framed leafs of chant as gifts, some I have sold to a antique dealer here in our town who specializes in European antiques. I used money from the sale of this framed Gregorian chant pieces to fund my attendance at conferences when I taught blind children. I took what monks had illuminated in the past, to illuminate the future for my blind students.

  2. What a cool collectible, Ray! I`m a lover of calligraphy and can easily get lost looking at and mentally tracing the fine lines of hand-written letters – especially the illuminated ones you speak of. The Gregorian Chants would be gorgeous examples, I`m sure. How generous of you to `illuminate the future for my blind students`. All too often collecting is done for personal ownership and hoarding. What a gift! 🙂

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