Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Embroidered Stole: Golden Maltese Crosses

White & violet brocade fabrics designed to allow for a "reversible" stole

It's such a treat to work with talented seamstresses across the country! I am always amazed at the ideas, vision, and array of beautiful fabrics that take shape into exquisite treasures for priests and the altar through their skillful hands.

One such seamstress recently contacted us with a special custom project: Maletese Crosses embroidered in gold metallic thread on stole she is creating for a a priest.

The small gold cross will rest, as always, on the neck of the priest...

And as usual, this special request gave me the opportunity to learn more about my Faith and the symbolism in her art and liturgy. The Maltese Cross' history and symbolism can be found in last week's blog post... while the meaning of the stole is shared below:

"A liturgical vestment composed of a strip of material from two to four inches wide and about eighty inches long. It has either a uniform width throughout, or is somewhat narrower towards the middle, widening at the ends in the shape of a trapezium or spade. A small cross is generally sewed or embroidered on the stole at both ends and in the middle; the cross, however, is prescribed only for the middle, where the priest kisses the stole before putting it on... Stoles for festivals are generally ornamented with embroidery, especially what are called 'vesper stoles'... At the ordination of priests the bishop draws the part of the stole that rests at the back of the candidate's neck forward over the breast and lays the two ends crosswise, saying: 'Receive the yoke of the Lord, for His yoke is sweet and His burden is light.'... The giving of the stole to the candidate at ordination in Rome was intended to convey a double symbolism; first, that the elevation to the clergy of the Roman Church occurred de benedictione S. Petri, and secondly that by ordination the candidate entered the service of St. Peter, that is of the Roman Church." - From the Catholic Encyclopedia online
This "Penitential" side of the stole will be used for while
hearing confessions... during Lent... Advent...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Mighty Maltese (and the 3 C's)

So, we had a little guessing game over on our Facebook page last week. The question arose (thanks to a recent custom order for embroidery on an handmade stole): What do the 8 points on the Maltese Cross symbolize?

To be quite honest, I didn't even know that this particular question existed until I began working on the project. "A Maltese Cross?" I asked? "Must have something to do with heraldry..." I mused, quite shamefully disinterested.

But the little promptings of Catholic Culture Conscience (didn't know there was such a thing? Well, I think we just found it!) prompted my curiosity into action. I noticed a comment in the email body from my customer about the 8 Beatitudes. "A type of cross isn't created without some reason or symbolism," I thought. The results of my curiosity to learn more about the Maltese Cross did not disappoint.

And so - to satisfy your own Catholic Culture Conscience (we'll call it the 3 C's around here) - Behold! our findings...

The Maltese Cross is a symbol of the Knights of Malta, based after a cross design from the First Crusade. In the 16th century, the 8 points of this cross represented by the Knights the "eight points of courage" namely:

Glory and Honor
Contempt of death
Helpfulness toward the poor and sick
Respect for the Church

The Order of St. John taught that these 8 points also represented the 8 Beatitudes of Jesus Christ, given to us in the Sermon on the Mount. Today, the Maltese Cross can be found in symbolism of aviation, medicine, and on flags, crests, documents, and clubs around the world. 

The most interesting of these, of course, is it's application as embroidery designs in a family business workshop in the USA. :) For pictures of the stole embroidery, visit us next week!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Message from the Sacred Heart

Happy feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
 Such love from God deserves a return, don't you think? He only asks for one little thing...

A MESSAGE from the Sacred Heart!
What may this message be?
"My child, My child, give Me thy heart;
 My heart has bled for thee."

This is the message Jesus sends
To my poor heart today,
And from His throne in Heaven He bends
To hear what I shall say.
A MESSAGE from the Sacred Heart!
What may this message be?
"My child, My child, give Me thy heart;
 My heart has bled for thee." 

A message to the Sacred Heart;
Oh! bear it back with speed:
"Come, Jesus, reign within my heart;
Thy heart is all I need."
This prayer I'll pray while here I pine,
From Heaven and Thee apart;
Nor cease, dear Lord, till I am Thine.
Forever, Heart to heart.
A MESSAGE from the Sacred Heart!
What may this message be?
"My child, My child, give Me thy heart;
 My heart has bled for thee."