Saint Gemma~ Please Pray for my Wretched Soul

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An All Saints Pew~I refinished an old church pew donated from the Chicago Archdiocese and a bit of artistic help from eager third graders...this was the end result that fetched $750 during a live auction at the boys' school.


While I would not proclaim myself a "holy roller", it is definitely not a stretch in saying I am a well-educated-God-fearing-guilty-catholic.  Eight years of parochial elementary school followed by four years of learning fear at the hands of habit-wearing nuns will do that to a kid.

My fascination with the saints goes back as far as I can remember.  To this day I can recall the annual All Saints Day Mass at St. Mikes where I attended elementary school.  Still groggy and nursing a sugar high thanks to the Halloween haul from the previous night, we kids would file into the adjoining church and take our seats in the reserved pews; boy, girl, boy, girl.

If anyone was tempted to nod off, they were startled awake by the blaring sounds of "When The Saints Go Marching In" through the speakers.  The school band's trumpets rang out as students dressed like various saints marched in.  During the homily, the "Saints" would tell us a bit about themselves and why we should pray to them ~ I was hooked.

The everyday was a bit boring at my all-girls high school.  After a year of filing in and out of the cafeteria I became used to looking at the statue of St. Francis standing by the doorway.  His "bleeding" foot bothered me and my other smart-ass friends.  We applied a bandage and left dead birds who met untimely deaths thanks to clean windows on the third floor at his feet.  Hey, he liked animals, and the animals loved him.

Soon after my oldest entered grammar school at "Our Lady Wrapped in a Blue Ribbon", I volunteered to help with the big Dinner Dance/Auction.  My job was to help the kids create sentimental items for the live auction...the idea was to tug at parent's heartstrings in hopes of hitting the motherlode via their wallet after they got liquored up at the annual Dinner Dance.

The third graders at OLWBR had a tradition of dressing up like saints during the all-school mass on November 1, just like when I was in school.  Unlike my experience, the saints didn't march with "their song" filling the room accompanied by trumpets.  Instead they paraded in their beautifully made costumes to a dismal, dreary "funeral" number accompanied by the music teacher sadly singing names of dead people.

At this mass I decided how I would tug at the heartstrings via the third grade wallets.  I refinished a church pew and decopaged pictures of the saints on their big day.  The next year we had the kids draw a picture of what they looked like and slapped those on a refinished pew.  Parents paid big bucks for a cumbersome piece of furniture, but the end result captured the memory, was sentimental, and definitely was one-of-a-kind.

Eight years later I still pray to my saints.  Google a trouble and your go-to-guy will pop up, then start praying.  Lose something, Anthony.  Bratty Kids, St. Monica.  Got a pimple?  Shout out to St. Germaine Cousin ~ she has been answering requests from unattractive people for centuries.

There are plenty of people we can pray for beside just have to be a bit are some ideas to get you going.  It is what Jesus would do--I know it.






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