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Posted by lycan librarian in Books and reading.

     First off, let me stress that the Lycan Librarian is NOT referring to her own when speaking of organized libraries. The Moonlit Library has shelves that are two deep, and the out-of-the-way stacks are covered with cob webs. The piles resting on the floor serve as tables, and as pedestals for art. A book gets placed where it will fit, and often, that is on a chair or the floor. Every year the Lycan Librarian swears, as her New Years Resolution, that the books will be put in order. Ha! But what a thrill it would be to think of a book, get up, and put ones hand right on its spine. But that doesn’t, and undoubtedly won’t, happen here.
     Presently, I am looking for the two books I purchased at the Art of the Vatican Exhibit that was in town a couple of years back. One book is a glorious listing of Catholic Saints with full paged colored pictures, biographies, and odd and interesting little blurbs. I love that book! But I can’t find it. I can vividly recall sitting in this very chair and ogling the pictures as I took a few notes about the various Saints. I can’t, however, remember how long ago that was. The second book is a compilation of Holy Pictures. I have had a Holy Picture collection since I was a child. It began when  the nun who taught me in first grade handed out Holy Pictures as rewards for well done school work. I still have a couple of them, which were obviously made with children in mind. They had cartoonish little pictures of angels performing God-pleasing acts, and on the back were short rhyming prayers that a young child could easily read and memorize.
     My Holy Picture collection really grew once my Italian grandmother learned I liked them. She began to bring them to me from all the funerals she attended. I didn’t, and still can’t, understand how one person could know so many dying people. Funerals were a constant in her life, and she carefully scoured the obituaries in every single day’s newspaper looking for the funerals of anyone she knew. Of course, Italian funerals were social occasions. After the deceased was properly laid to rest, everyone was invited for food and drink. My grandmother brought home clandestine doggie bags (they didn’t have a dog,) and my grandfather often left the affair drunk. The prayers on the backs of the Holy Pictures from these funerals were often written in Italian. Today, I still collect them, but the Holy Pictures are paper-thin and unimpressive. Sometimes there’s an inspirational landscape rather than a Holy Picture, perhaps so as not to offend those attending who are of other faiths. During my childhood, they were like cardstock. They had vivid color pictures of Jesus and the Saints, and were meant to be kept, tucked away carefully in your prayer-book, so you could extract them at every mass and pray for the deceased. The one for President Kennedy that the nuns handed out after his assassination is laminated in plastic. My collection actually rivals many that are in my beautiful book. Since I actually know where the Holy Picture collection is, perhaps I’ll go thumb through them. I’m sure I’ll come across the books sooner or later — probably while searching for something else.
     Happy 2011, and good luck with those resolutions!



1. Wondering - February 12, 2011

Where can one buy Holy Pictures? They don’t seem to print them anymore.

lycan librarian - February 12, 2011

Religious stores and church gift shops still offer them. I recently found some nice laminated ones online of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters, that I bought for my husband and some of his friends to carry when they hunt. I always look for the older ones at garage sales, rummage sales, and flea markets, but, unfortunately, most people seem to view them as trash and don’t even bother to try to sell them.

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