There are many traditions in the Catholic Church that I was not familiar with until I began attending Belmont Abbey College in the Fall of 2009. One of those traditions is that of having a great deal of Catholic art in homes. I came upon this tradition first in dorm rooms at Belmont Abbey. Students decorated their dorm rooms with saint statues, icons, paintings, and prayer cards in them. I saw this in a large number of dorm rooms and was surprised. I began to wonder: “Why do all of these people have pictures and statues of saints in their rooms?”
I quickly noticed as I went to my Belmont Abbey friend’s houses that this Catholic art thing must have started at the home. I have been in some Catholic homes with at least one painting, icon, or statue of a saint in every single room of the house. Many of these houses also had numerous crucifixes and crosses throughout the house. I wondered: “Why do these people have so much Catholic art?” “Are they collectors?”
I suppose they are to an extent but not because it is a hobby, but rather because it is a passion. I began to ask these families about why they had so many Catholic icons and the like. They all seemed to unanimously say that these images represent important people to them. People they want to remember. People who are considered family.
This was not the explanation I was expecting and it greatly struck me. How could St. Paul be considered family? Or St. Michael the Archangel who isn’t even human? I quickly came to find out that many of them had a relationship with these saints. They ask for their intercession. They learn from their life story and their writings. By having symbols of them throughout their homes, they are reminded of their importance. Now I find myself wanting to not only have more Catholic art in my home, but also wanting to develop a greater relationship with those who have gone before me, especially those who are in heaven waiting for me to ask for their intercession.
Do you have Catholic statues, icons, or paintings in your house? Why, or why not?
P.S – Here at the Catholic Company we have some very affordable and beautiful Catholic Art that I myself love!