Monday, May 30, 2005

Home for Retired Rosaries

I've noticed that if you are known as someone interested in sewing, people are likely to call you up and say casually, "I have these seven boxes of old fabric taking up space in my garage, would you like them?"

I always say yes to these offers, and I enjoy sorting through them and finding interesting things. (Once it was a brown paper shopping bag with all the cutout pieces for a 1930s quilt!) Anything I don't want, I'm perfectly happy to offer to others later, or take to Goodwill.

I'm now becoming known as someone interested in rosaries, and people are beginning to ask me if I'd like their old things from when they "used to be Catholic" :). Of course, just as with fabric, some of these things are junk, but I've acquired some interesting items.

A few weeks ago I acquired a couple of rosaries and some other odds and ends this way. The little plastic bag I was handed contained a wooden rosary, a pink glass rosary, a couple of medals, a Sunday School pin, a "Pardon" crucifix missing its corpus (representation of Jesus' body), another crucifix, and the detached "corpus" from yet another crucifix (no, it doesn't fit the Pardon crucifix, I checked; the holes are in the wrong places).


The wooden rosary is definitely going into my teaching collection as an example of a modern rosary that would not be out of place if transported to the 16th century (see Rosaries for RenFaire). I'm not sure yet exactly what I'm doing with the other bits. There's sometimes a decent market for such things on eBay.

There were also some fragments of silk (?) grosgrain ribbon with two crosses, a heart, an anchor, and a crossbar all of sterling silver.

FAITH hope charity

These last are rather intriguing. I am not sure all five belong together, but the crossbar, heart, anchor and one cross look like they originally formed a "faith, hope, charity" cluster. The heart is engraved with a set of initials, which look like "DWT" (or perhaps F -- it may be clearer when I've cleaned it). The wider cross that may not belong to the set says "I H N" on one side, and on the other side it's dated 1886. (I don't know whether the "IHN" is someone's initials or whether it may stand for something -- "In Hoc Nomine" or "In His Name," perhaps?)

(to be continued)