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Immagini Sacre: Memoirs of a Forgotten Faith


Discussion at present about pre-Conciliar Catholicism usually facilities on the sacred liturgy, the flash level for dialogue concerning the place of the Church’s conventional liturgical rites in our personal day. What we frequently overlook, nonetheless, is that there was a whole extra-liturgical pietistical custom that fell by the wayside after the Council as properly.

A major instance of that is holy playing cards. We nonetheless have holy playing cards at present, after all, however they’re vastly completely different than they as soon as had been. Today’s holy playing cards are low cost and disposable. Sold in bulk and printed on laminated plastic, they usually really feel like mass produced non secular merchandise relatively than the pietistical aids they had been meant to be. They are left in baskets behind the church to occupy toddlers at Mass, used as bookmarks, and customarily tossed apart with as little regard as a enterprise card.

Antique holy playing cards, against this, had been lovely items of artwork in their very own proper. Images had been taken from portray or etchings achieved by famend artists, whose names had been usually included on the cardboard. The footage had been framed in intricate lace borders produced by lace reducing presses that (by and huge) not exist at present. These holy playing cards weren’t the merchandise of capitalistic mass manufacturing however had been painstakingly created by Catholic studios using expert craftsmen. Holy playing cards got and obtained as presents on particular events (First Communions, Confirmations, and so on.). They could be used for personal devotions and had been thought-about invaluable presents that might be retained for years, generally for all times.

Thankfully, this heritage has not been completely misplaced, due partly to the trouble of a captivating publication known as Immagini Sacre. Immagini Sacre is a brand new Catholic journal devoted to preserving what it calls these “memoirs of a forgotten religion.” Published by Catholic Printing Press, Immagini Sacre can greatest be described as a publication devoted to the pietistical aesthetic of classic holy playing cards. It is an enchanting area of interest that I admit I had little data of till I made the acquaintance of Lisa Pellegrini, founder and editor of Immagini Sacre. Lisa had spent years gathering classic holy playing cards, some extraordinarily uncommon at relationship to the late Baroque period; I used to be privileged to as soon as see Lisa’s assortment in individual, which I think about should be the largest such assortment within the nation, maybe the world.

Immagini Sacre presents these lovely photos in lavish, full-color illustrations. The photos are accompanied by pious exhortations, generally taken from the unique textual content of the holy card, generally from different basic non secular writings. These beautiful illustrations are the center of the journal, which is an try to recapture the candy piety that characterised these pre-modern devotional objects. These playing cards had been highly effective aids to prayer; one holy card known as Le Petit Fleur Du Divin Prisonnier (“The Little Flower of the Divine Prisoner”), printed by the French printing home Letaille in 1840, was given to the younger Therese of Lisieux. This card was instrumental within the improvement of her spirituality and was the reason why she took the name “Little Flower.”

Because Immagini Sacre is devoted to the visible artwork of the classic holy card, it isn’t primarily {a magazine} to be learn. There are prayers and pious reflections all through, however the core of the journal is its illustrations. Immagini Sacre is {a magazine} to be checked out, not learn. It is supposed to hearken again to the period of a extra contemplative sort of non secular literature, which centered on the “pious gaze.” Immagini Sacre does the Church an admirable service by recovering it for us.

It is value mentioning that Lisa’s firm Catholic Printing Press not solely reproduces photos of classic holy playing cards however sells reproductions of the playing cards themselves. Catholic Printing Press holy playing cards are made by individually within the Pellegrini workshop utilizing the normal lace material technique. They are completely distinctive and are a great various to at present’s low cost, mass produced holy playing cards.

Head on over to Catholic Printing Press and subscribe to Immagini Sacre. It is a labor of affection and a piece of magnificence that reminds us what a stunning aesthetic we as soon as had—and which, God prepared, we might at some point have once more.

Images courtesy of Catholic Printing Press



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