The Catholic Marketing Network Annual Trade Show is 3 hours from my house, so I drove up to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to see what it was about.
Sharing with you some great finds that got me excited. Everything below is produced by faithful Catholics in small businesses whose mission is to promote the Faith. If you purchase from the links, Virtue Connection may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. The first “find” is a lady who makes rosaries from fresh roses!
FIND #1: Love for her brother blossomed into a business
Julia Miller, founder of FreshRosary.com writes: “The first fresh rosary I made was for my brother Marty’s funeral in 1997. A Naval Reserve Officer, he’d been in Texas, participating in his annual “active duty tour,” when doctors discovered a glut of cancer in his liver. He was 40 years old.
“Marty held a true devotion to the Rosary, which he prayed daily. After he received his final sacraments, we wanted to honor him with one last, heartfelt recitation of the Rosary, and just before the final Amen, we witnessed heaven come to earth and retrieve his soul.
“We were sweating, and weeping, with seven of us in his small, overly warm ICU room. Maybe someday I’ll find better words, but Marty’s face lit up like a child seeing Christmas for the first time, and I’m certain I saw his soul leave his body – it was like he was wriggling up and out of a turtleneck with his arms at his sides. Right then, a cool breeze circled the ceiling, although the nurse said there was no air conditioning in the room.
“At the funeral, among other flower arrangements in red, white and blue, I displayed a Rosary of fresh roses for my brother.
“Since then I’ve made too many fresh rosaries to count, but each one is meaningful, because it honors a soul beloved by God, and it connects surviving loved ones to a beautiful and ancient practice of prayer.
“My hope is that the heart of every person who encounters a Fresh Rosary will pause a moment to consider Heaven, and God’s great love for each soul, that he should send his son, Jesus, a carpenter born of a humble and faithful woman, to build us a bridge to heaven for the desire to lead us there.”
FIND #2: A comic book with serious theology
Kevin and Mary O’Neill and their seven children created hundreds of scenes with Legos to create their Catechism of the Seven Sacraments. It’s published as a Catechism for children, but I couldn’t stop turning its pages and marveling at how good it is—for any age.
Here’s a review from one mom:
“As soon as I opened it, my son took it from my hands, and started reading it immediately. I could barely get him to do anything else (eat, sleep, go to school) until he had finished it.
“A few weeks later, I was driving with my son, and he started telling me stuff about Passover, and Jesus being the Lamb of God and all the connections between Passover and Holy Week. He’s 7, in first grade. I recognized that he had his theology correct, but I could not for the life of me figure out where he had HEARD that stuff. So I asked him, ‘Where did you learn that?’
He said, ‘It was in my Catechism book.’
‘The Lego one?’
“Oh, well, then. So my seven year old is basically reading Scott Hahn in Lego form. I was a reasonably well-catechized kid, and I was an adult before I heard any of the theology he was explaining to me.”
I highly recommend this book, which also helps readers understand how the Sacraments are the fulfillment of so many things in the Old Testament.
FIND #3: He comforts me, I comfort Him
As I pass Hugs from Heaven’s booth, Jennifer Angelle, owner and a Cajun native of Louisiana, comes right for me, saying “Do you need a hug?”
“Sure,” I say, “Who doesn’t?”
Then she put in my arms the softest stuffed doll I’ve ever squished. Jennifer’s mission is to make hug-able “pillow dolls” for children in the hospital, or anyone who needs a little comfort from Jesus and His Mother. As I hugged the Jesus doll, I felt as if I were not only being comforted by Him, but also giving Him comfort. Sweet! See more at HugsFromHeaven.com
FIND #4: Holy mints!
And last but not least, Seral-Lourdes.com makes lovely medals of the Immaculate Conception. But they also make—are you ready?—mints made from Lourdes water! I tried one and they aren’t bad—and I guess I feel a little holier… :).
I enjoyed chatting with Jean Aimé Boutelier, Director of Seral and a committed Catholic, who said his mission is to make high-quality products that spread the message of Lourdes. You can order his mints at https://www.directfromlourdes.com/lourdes_water_mints
So what do you think? Scroll down and let me know if you like knowing about “Catholic finds” I run across. (And I promise to have sharper pictures next time! :)