Sunday, February 27, 2011

St. Anthony's Gifts

I attended a community pasta dinner last night and had occasion to sit with a local 90+ year old "celebrity" known for his boundless energy and unselfish service to our country, our community and our schools. Our conversation ran the gamut from Pearl Harbor, where he was stationed during the infamous attack, to the city's Memorial Day celebration and our respective trips to Italy.

When I mentioned that during my second trip I stayed in Padua instead of Venice, his eyes lit up as I spoke of making multiple visits to St. Anthony's wonderful basilica and spending time in the gift shop and in the presence of his relics. What is it about this gentle Franciscan saint that touches so many people, myself included?

I have handled countless medals of St. Anthony embracing and being embraced by the Christ Child, and every one of them exudes love, devotion and surrender. Most depict Jesus sitting on St. Anthony's arm, but I especially love the scarce, older renderings with little Jesus standing on St. Anthony's lap. Some are a bit crude, but they still convey the deep, intimate connection between them... something we all strive for through our prayers and deeds.

St. Anthony's unique and miraculous power to inspire through oration seems diminished by his more familiar association with finding lost objects. However it is with his help, sitting in his church with fellow pilgrims, that I reconnected with the truth of my spirituality and "found myself" during a troubled time in my life.

What has St. Anthony helped you find today?

Friday, February 25, 2011

A week of extremes...

The phone call came at 5:40 this morning advising that school is closed due to "inclement weather." Quite the understatement as I listen to wind howl and blow horizontal snow. It seems the perfect way to end a week of extreme weather conditions.

Last Sunday we had an ice storm that left us without power from Sunday night through Wednesday morning... a total of about 53 hours. We cooked by flashlight and played "pioneer family" Monday night, huddled around the kitchen stove and snuggling under down comforters. Tuesday morning I allowed myself to be deluded by the bright sun and ignored the fact that the temperature inside was steadily approaching the freezing temperatures outside. That is until my sister got an update from the electric company and helped me grasp the reality that we wouldn't have power until late Wednesday.

I wanted to stick it out but the cats were sneezing, my husband couldn't sleep, and I had to get my family someplace warm. So I spent the day packing for everyone, including the three cats, emptying the refrigerator and freezer, and preparing to check into a nearby hotel for two nights. When it came time to pack for me, the first thing I grabbed was my favorite rosary. Never mind the clothes or jammies or toiletries, I instinctively went for that which would give me the fortitude I needed to see this situation through.

I never did have a chance to use it. We checked in at 5pm, went out for dinner, spent the evening watching TV and making sure the cats were okay and went to bed early. The next morning when my husband stopped at the house on his way to work, the power was back on... twelve hours earlier than projected. So he called in late and drove my daughter to school while I packed everything up all over again.

I pretty much passed out Wednesday night, but not before praying and giving thanks for our safety and comfort. A simple chain of beads perhaps but this week, my rosary once again proved to be my real shelter from the storm.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My first post!

I'm a firm believer that when the time is right, the energy is there to help accomplish something. This blog is a perfect example. I've been thinking about creating one for at least two years and for some reason, today was the day to do it. Sure, there are other things I planned to do but apparently this should have been on the list.

Why blog? Because since opening Vintage Venerations three years ago, I have been on a personal and professional journey like nothing I've experienced before. Every day I learn something new about the history of rosaries, jewelry design and construction, glass making, metallurgy, religious devotions, Church history and the enormous communion of saints who inspire us with their unique lives. I detail the results of my research within the listings in my shop, but this blog is another way to share information, inspiration and my personal experiences as a seller and fellow traveler.

I don't know what will become of this blog but I believe it, like Vintage Venerations, is divinely inspired. So I will get out of the way, do the work that needs to be done, and pray that my words are for the greater good.  And as this blog takes on a life of its own, I hope others make it part of their life and turn it into a community where we can learn, share and encourage our mutual appreciation for vintage devotionals and the beauty they bring to our world.