~Click on the Image to Enlarge~
During my search for handmade chaplets I discovered a wonderful shop “Food for the Soul by Artisan Holly Blinn”. As someone who collects prayer beads I could tell right away that her prayer beads were different from others I’ve seen. Like any rosary-addict, I found myself wanting to know more about these beautiful handcraft works of art and the person who creates them. What follows is my review of Food for the Soul’s pink tourmaline Chaplet of St. Agatha.
About the Quality and Craftsmanship of this Chaplet:
· 8mm faceted pink tourmaline
The quality of these gemstone beads are simply breath-taking. Each bead is of the same color and clarity. When dealing with natural gemstone beads –especially those of the tourmaline family- it can be difficult to find beads of the same color-tone and clarity. These are the clearest and most vibrant pink tourmaline beads I ever had the pleasure of seeing in person. Pink in its self is an uplifting color, yet this shade of pink is somehow more uplifting than other shades I’ve seen (and as a pink-oholic I would know!) The faceted design of these beads give the pink tourmaline a mystic look and feel – which adds a wonderful touch to this chaplet.
· Lead-free Tibetan silver bead caps and spacer beads
The bead caps are seated firmly in place and are just the right size to highlight the 8mm beads. Personally the design of the bead caps reminds me of flowers – again a wonderful uplifting touch for this chaplet.
· 20 gauge nickel silver wrapping wire
This gauge is very strong and durable ensuring that the chaplet will last a life time. As someone who works with wire as a hobby I am amazed by how well the artist created these unbreakable links. Although I lack the skill to ever create such links, I am greatly impressed by how prefect each of the artist’s links are. Even the ends of the wire are hidden which is amazing.
· Lampwork glass pink ribbon bead
The pink ribbon bead adds a beautiful touch that will give Breast Cancer Survivors hope and strength.
· Italian-made nickel silver medal & crucifix
The medal and crucifix are beautiful detailed and strong – which is expected for Italian-made religious products.Memorial:
A Brief History:
There is little reliable information about this martyr, who has been honored since ancient times, and whose name is included in the canon of the Roman Catholic Mass. Young, beautiful and rich, Agatha lived her life devoted to God. When Decius announced the mandates against Christians, the magistrate Quinctianus tried to profit by Agatha’s purity by trying to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her. Handed over to a brothel, she refused to accept customers. After rejecting Quinctianus’s advances, she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, her breasts were crushed and cut off. She told the judge, “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?” She was imprisoned again, then rolled on live coals. When she was near death, an earthquake stuck. Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died.
•in prison at Catania or Palermo, Sicily
•martyred c.250 at Catania, Sicily by being rolled on coals
•against breast cancer
•against breast disease
•against eruptions of Mount Etna
•against natural disasters
•against volcanic eruptions
How to Pray the Chaplet of Saint Agatha:
Invoke St. Agatha’s aid on the Medal
"Lord God, you showered heavenly gifts on the virgin Agatha. Hear the prayers of those who recall her devoted life and who ask her to intercede for them in their necessity. (Make your Petition). Help us to imitate her virtues during our earthly life and enjoy enteral happiness with her in heaven. Amen"
On each of the sets of 3 beads pray one of each – Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
On the crucifix say the Apostle’s Creed.
The crucifix is symbolic of the love of Christ, his death and resurrection, and the hope of eternal life. It is a powerful symbol that recalls the price which Christ paid for his love for us.
The medal of St. Agatha is symbolic of her powerful love for Christ and her devotion to her faith. She is a symbol of feminine will power, strength and courage to stand firm in what you believe is right.
The first known use of the pink ribbon as a symbol of breast cancer awareness was in the fall of 1991, when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors. It is a symbol of strength, hope, and faith.
Pink tourmaline attracts love in the material and spiritual world. Providing assurance that it is safe to love, it inspires trust in love, and confirms that it is necessary to love yourself before you can hope to be loved by others.
Artisan Holly Blinn of Food for the Soul"When Dina asked me to write a short bio for her blog, I wasn't sure what I would say. All I could think about was how uninteresting it would be. I never got to go to college, nor have I had any great adventures in my life. Then I got to thinking about all the awesome people who have been a part of my life, like my Grandmother who gave me a strong foundation in faith, my Godmother who always loved me even when I was feeling pretty unlovable, my husband of 42 years, two grown daughters, one granddaughter, and several life-long friends who've stuck by me through good times and bad. I guess I have had a pretty wonderful life!
I got married when I was just 18 yrs. old and was a stay at home mom until my kids were nearly grown. After that, I worked a few different jobs, some good, some not so good, but never anything that made me feel fulfilled. Then in 2009 I lost my last job and I knew I'd reached a point where it would be hard to find work because all I'd been trained to do included physical labor. I was 56 by then and my body was pretty broken down. I'd been crafting all my life and a dear friend of mine talked me into learning how to make jewelry and getting a computer and learning how to use it...not an easy trick for an old dog like me! I soon found out that selling jewelry is a fiercely competitive business. I was spending more money than I took in. Then one day I saw a gorgeous rosary in a catalog and something clicked. I quickly sold the first two that I made and a new business was born! I immersed myself in research to learn all that I could about rosaries, chaplets, the saints (did you know there are more than 10,000 of them?!) and Anglican prayer beads. I've now been doing this since Feb. of 2010, and the more I do it, the more I continue to learn. I feel as if my whole life has been a path leading me to learn more about my own faith, as well as helping others along their own path. The best part is that my circle of friends has grown exponentially. I have been truly blessed to meet some of the most wonderful people from all around the world, enriching my life beyond measure. Yes, I do have a wonderful life!" by Holly Blinn.
This chaplet feels delicate to the touch, yet it is amazingly durable. The wire loops that hold the beads will not bend under normal pressure. Due to this I cannot see the chaplet ever breaking from normal usage. Ms. Blinn’s work is simply amazing. The wire loops are perfectly formed, and the ends of the wire that wraps around the loops are nowhere to be found. I cannot imagine how she made each of the wire loops identical, but it is very impressive. As someone who makes rosaries I have to say that I am beyond impressed with her work.
As for the chaplet itself, I’ve found that praying the Chaplet of St. Agatha is a relaxing spiritual experience. Something about this saint seems to be calling to me. The look and feel of the chaplet is also very inviting. The pink tourmaline really highlights this chaplet for me as tourmaline is my all-time favorite gemstone (and pink is my all-time favorite color).
If you are looking for a high quality rosary, chaplet or custom prayer beads, I highly recommend Food for the Soul. Not only is the work exquisite my package arrived very promptly. Over all this shop offers many options. The artisan is very friendly and kind. She is wonderful to work with and will help you create what you are looking for (if you don’t already find it in her shop).
Check out Food for the Soul for more amazing works of art