2021: A Year For, Of, About, and With, Many Changes!
Happy New Year! I am late with writing our first newsletter. I kept scrapping everything I wrote but it’s time to get one done.
2021 is a Year for Lots of Changes with more to come – with prayers for cathartic hopefulness.
And, Overall, a Shifting Prepositional Tone with the 2021 SaintsforSinners Newsletters
A few more chapters of the book rob is working on have finally been finished and he has created a nice outline that’s possible to follow and begin moving further toward completion. So far, the stories of Saint Bernard, Saint Rosalie, along with Saint Maria Goretti, Dismas and the Miraculous Medal have weaved together fairly seamlessly. We offer thanks to the weaver’s saint, Anastasia, for helping us band anecdotes, undo knots, connect dots and whatnot to recall a simple story of a simple life. Again, with hopefulness and catharsis themed in a way that’s all kinds of exciting! Easy? No. Exciting? Yes!
So, as we said, our bit of change is that there will be a tone of Reflection tied to SaintsforSinners Newsletter in their 2021 versions. The new tone has the goal of writing kindly with the reader and less ceremoniously to the reader.
Of course, Those Sacramental Ornamentals – the saint medals and the saint stories will obviously continue taking Center Stage. The saint medals – it’s all about the saints and their medals, always was, shall always be. News of what we are doing with freshly designing their painting and presentation, and also, this is NEWEST: sharing, showing, and displaying vintage medals we have collected throughout the years. As you know, we’ll have a Saint Medal Show at Paperwhite Stationery Boutique in Baton Rouge. We have so many items, icons, cards and medals from cities across the country and Europe.
When COVID is under control, we’ll have saint medals from Mexico's Mexico City, paying homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego and also, Peru’s Saint Rose of Lima, (one of her schools, incidentally, being one of Bruce Springsteen’s Alma Maters). Hmmm – was that school tied to his song, “Rosalita?”
MORE ABOUT 2021
One Saint medal(s) quite curious is Saint Joseph’s Medals
Pope Francis Has Declared 2021 the Vatican’s Year of Saint Joseph. His saint medals are as varied as are his stories. First of all, he has two, not one, renown hagiographic images.
Saint Joseph’s Two Medals:
Saint Joseph with the Hammer is a great patron for builders, workers, laborers, and carpenters. It serves to remind about the qualities of fortitude, strength and resilience. I mean imagine coming home after 40 days away and learning of the Immaculate Conception. Of all prayers known, “Mary Conceived Without Sin Pray For Us Who Have Recourse to Thee” says it all.
As if that’s not enough to try and comprehend, the other medal, of Saint Joseph holding a lily, the original fleur de lis, and the Christ Child is also known as the Patron Saint invoked for a A Very Happy Death. A Happy Death?
How can this be so?
Our friend Kryste texted Tuesday morning. She has been with SaintsforSinners for many, many years. She found us, or maybe we found her, right before, during, or after, Hurricane Katrina and the Flood. Neither of us can recall the precise date, but it was very close to, around or about, August 2005. Since then, Kryste has bought and gifted more medals than she (or we) can count, and we have had visits and become friends. All thanks to the Old Age Saints!
Yesterday, Kryste was looking for a Saint Jude medal for a family member and another for a friend whose Dad died yesterday. For her friend, Saint Joseph, being 2021’s celebratory saint, the patron of fathers, and known for invoking “Happy Death” was apropos. Is there ever a happy death, though?
Maybe there are instances of “Happy Deaths” ….
Dying During Sleep, the way Many Say they’d like to “Go;”
Dying Content, After Living a Life Well-Lived;
Dying of Old Age, Loved Ones Surrounding;
Dying with Some Form of Peace, perhaps finally easing pain.
It’s never easy facing death and it seems always ever so difficult to talk about, but after Kryste’s messaging, I decided to broach the subject with my niece, Casey, who was, quite coincidentally, visiting in the Studio. She lost her brother Nick, my nephew Nick, after he lost his battle with heroin addiction. Could it have really been 4 years ago? It often seems like yesterday.
We talked about a lot of it. I played the song from “Dear Evan Hanson” for her, “If I Could Tell Her.” I explained how I thought the song and its lyrics offered a message. We confronted some heavy stuff together and I think it made us both feel a little better. With remembering comes healing. Casey and I understand each other more than before. Part of the grief over losing Nick was unlocked by speaking the unmentionables.
Kryste gave me the push I needed to play “If I Could Tell Her” for Casey. I had been holding it alone in abeyance for months and months and now finally, a touch of catharsis. I played the song, thinking it was for Casey. Now I see it may have been more for me. I let “If I Could Tell Her” go and that finishing was a good finish. I held on to it for so long.
Kryste’s Other Saint medal for Today, Saint Jude
Yesterday, I finally figured out Saint Jude with more clarity! Before today, for me, understanding Saint Jude was as easy as nailing Jell-O to a wall. Yet now, I have better understanding. Saint Jude is known as the Patron of Impossible Situations and Hopeless Causes. I was pulling together hundreds and hundreds of medals Tuesday morning and had a relic related to Saint Jude. How there can be anything reliquary from Saint Jude is baffling. On my table, however, is a relic from Saint Jude. That’s what it says: “SAINT JUDE RELIC” from the Rosary Shrine of Saint Jude (212-535-3664).
I was moving Saint Joseph medals and other Saint Christopher iconography and had to make space for these Saint Jude treasures. That’s when things finally unfolded. Before today, Saint Jude was the patron of hopeless causes and impossible situations whom my mother prayed to after my brother Kevin was paralyzed in a car accident. She even had a Saint Jude statue put in our backyard.
The prayer on the Saint Jude relic on the table goes like this:
O Holy St. Jude, help me when I feel hopeless and alone. Come to my aid in this great need, and ask God to assist me in my troubles and sufferings, particularly for (here state your request). Amen.
So, I’m sure most of you have had this all figured out already, but I finally realized Saint Jude is the patron saint for, not of, hopeless causes and impossible situations. Saint Jude offers endurance during the toughest times. He doesn’t fix anything. And like Saint Joseph, there are no cures in the proverbial carpenter’s toolbox. He steps in and helps us cope and make it through trials and tribulations.
Brushing Up on Shining Medals and Digging through the Saint Medals Dug Up after Katrina.
The other day, Casey’s 5 year-old boys, Dean & Louis were in the Studio with us, running around like 5 year-olds. They had two of our gold boxes and were putting medals in them and saying things about the “coins” and also saying “we’re rich!” After they all left, I was gathering up the boxes of medals the boys had gathered. In one box, they had gathered a bunch of flood medals. Rectangular Saint Christopher medals with a surfer on the back. That immediately made me think of Steve P.
Steve has been buying medals for years and last year he kept buying Saint Christophers for his son and daughter, both surfers in California. (ASIDE: Still waiting for that photo, Steve!) He buys the saint Christopher where we paint the staff and turn it into a surfboard. Now, I had these oddly shaped medals engraved with the words “I AM A SURFER.” No need to create then paint a surfboard. It’s already there. So, we painted two and made one surfer a man and the other female, representing Steve’s kids. And off they will go to Steve who will surely pass them along. Soon, those painted saints can literally and figuratively say “I AM A SURFER” in the Pacific Ocean.
THE NEW MEDAL OF SAINT URSULA
We’ve finally made Saint Ursula, Patron of the Little Mermaid, presentable and ready to visit the USPS and ultimately, mailboxes. Mary D. who has been asking us for Saint Ursula a lot, can finally get the medal she wants. And soon, we will figure out what Saint Ursula can help us with, besides advertising for Disney.
THE NEW STORY OF SAINT PEDRO CALUNGSOD
It was a bit of relief when the Story of Saint Pedro was written. It is done. We should have written his story earlier, especially since we went to his canonization at the Vatican. That was one of the most unique canonizations we have attended. A group of 7 saints were all canonized together. That was a long day but the weather was great and greater still, was looking all around Saint Peter’s Square and seeing folks from all over the world celebrating canonizations together. There was even a New Yorker in the midst, Saint Kateri Tekakawitha, my friend Holly’s favorite saint. Kateri is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.” She could not see very well and her name can be loosely defined as “She Who Bumps Into Things.” Yet, she gave great insight and foresight to all those celebrating her Canonization in Rome on that October day.
It is done! Finally, the first newsletter of 2021.
Happy New Year, in this, The Year of Saint Joseph. We celebrate the very Happy Death of the year 2020. Tomorrow we will follow a recommendation by waking up early to see the sun rise.
Thanks for reading to the bottom line. Please forward, copy, paste, post and spread the word!
Tags: bruce springsteen, dear evan hanson, immaculate conception, lily of the mohawks, our lady of guadalupe, our lady of the miraculous medal, our lady undoer of knots, pope francis, saint anastasia, saint bernard, saint christopher, saint christopher the surfer, saint dismas, saint joseph, saint joseph the worker, saint juan diego, saint jude, saint kateri tekakawitha, saint maria goretti, saint pedro calungsod, saint rosalie, saint rose of lima, saint ursula, saintsforsinners