“Hello!” to all you folks in the “SaintsforSinners.com Family.” And “Greetings!” to the others to whom we are introducing our web site offering our uniquely hand painted saint medals and serenity stories. We are happy to announce that SaintsforSinners.com is finally fully functioning and back in business to stay!
It is amazing we are able to send this note to those of you who have been a part of SaintsforSinners.com, some of you since its wobbly beginning almost 10 years ago. After Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing flood destroyed our home, “office” and local Post Office, we thought we had also lost our mailing list. But, through a stroke of good fortune, our dear friend Emily Dewey recently found a copy of the mailing list in a drawer. Emily moved to Saint Augustine with her husband Jonathan, right before the hurricane and the flood. It is nice to able to reach you again. Let me try to bring you up-to-date about all that has happened since last August.
When Katrina hit and the floodwaters came, we had evacuated to Houston, Lafayette, and Mandeville for several months. Since our computers were destroyed and the saint medals and supplies as well, it seemed it was time to close down the web business. But then what followed was a sort of “Divine Intervention” …
While we were living near Lafayette I went out driving one day. At some point I realized I was in Iberia Parish near Ann Street, the home of the Rosary House Religious Supply Store. Even though I had decided SaintsforSinners.com had to shut down, I went into the store to see if my favorite worker, Rita Norris, was there. We had become friends over the years and I longed to see a familiar face. She was working and I went to see her and we talked and cried about all the devastation, death and destruction that had affected so many people in the South. During our talk, Rita shared with me a story about her life. Years before, Rita and her husband Donald bought their first home. They were so excited to be new homeowners. And then the unthinkable happened: less than a month later, her husband suddenly passed away.
Rita said she had no earthly idea how she was going to survive and pay her mortgage. She had to borrow money to pay her next month’s note. But, after that she said she was able to pay her bills and never had to borrow money to pay her house mortgage again. And now her home is paid in full. Another lady came by and told me about losing everything she had in Hurricane Andrew. Then she went on to say that everything worked out in the end. It was uplifting to hear these two ladies talk about their perseverance. A few minutes later I knew I had to keep the business going, even if it meant going into debt. Soon I was busy collecting saint medals once again! The owners of the store gave me a nice discount and I went to the nearest craft supply store to replace my enamel paints and other utensils. Visa. It was ready when I was!
Then some other amazing things happened. A lot of you were sending e mails via SaintsforSinners.com and even began leaving phone messages asking how we were doing. It was comforting to hear from you and to know you cared about how we were! And some of you just placed orders and said “Send the medals when you can.” And soon the financial deficit slowed, thanks to the kindness and interest of many of you.
It took a while but eventually we bought over 100 different Saint Medals. The stories were safe because they were already on the World Wide Web! Our web designer, Connie Zimmermann helped us establish a new SaintsforSinners.com Pay Pal Account and saved us money already! We love Pay Pal!
We eventually got back home and I uncovered all the bins of medals, thousands of them, and 99% were ruined. I tried and tried to “fix” them but it was an exercise in futility. A few medals were in two closed plastic Ziploc bags and survived! I also kept all the flood medals, thinking that someday I will think of a suitable way to use them. I vowed to never throw them away. I know that someone – probably one of you in the SfS.com family, is going to have a great idea about how to use the flood medals…
I am also happy to be able to report that although the latter part of 2005 was rough, 2006 has been excellent! We celebrated Mardi Gras by riding bicycles throughout the city with “The Mystik Krewe of BikeUs!” I gave away medals all day long and a writer named Ann Konigsmark interviewed us and wrote about SaintsforSinners.com in her paper, “USA Today,” repeating our view that we would not let a flood take away our Mardi Gras! The very next day, a writer from the “Southampton Press” in New York, Jamie Holthaus, wrote about the web site, calling it “rather offbeat” (true enough!) and recommending to her readers that they “check it out” to find their saint! Some orders came in and we got to the point where we could often send the medal packages out almost immediately! We found new Saints! We found new paints! We wrote new stories. We revised the web site and added lots of new photographs. We began selling our hand painted medals at Fund Raisers, Fairs and Festivals and a few retail stores are also selling our medals.
It has been going well and we had some big excitement at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival where we met many members of Bruce Springsteen’s “Seeger Sessions Band,” including his wife, Patti Scialfa. They all wore one of SaintsforSinners.com’s newer additions, the Miraculous Medal and Bruce wore our hand painted Saint Peter during his incredible performance. The Associated Press kindly let us a use a photograph of Bruce wearing our medal and it is on the web site. It seems Bruce kept wearing Saint Peter throughout his European Tour! WireImage.com also let us have a picture of the best selling author and comedian, Greg Behrendt, wearing one of our medals at a Cosmopolitan Magazine Party. We have humbly learned of the great value of the kindness of strangers!
In closing, I would just like to say “Thank You!” to everyone in the SaintsforSinners.com family who sent so many kind messages and in various ways. I promise to stay in touch in the future and have already mailed a copy of this mailing list to other towns to keep it safe and sound no matter what the hurricane season brings our way. Please come on back and visit the web site and tell your friends and family about the rebirth and renewal of SaintsforSinners.com!