For over 50 years, I have been collecting rosaries. My earliest recollection of the rosary was that of my Irish grandfather who always carried a black ebony rosary that he brought to America from Ireland in the late 1800’s. He went to church daily and hung his rosary over a pew as he prayed on it during the Latin mass. Of course, everyone in the family carried a rosary, the men in their pockets, and the women in their purses. At First Communion, girls carried a white or pink rosary, and the boys a black or blue one. Rosaries were given as gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and as special awards for academic achievement. For these events, they were often inscribed with the recipient’s name and the date.
I was not a serious rosary collector until the day I decided to gather all my family rosaries, including the ones I bought in the…
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The History Jar
Misericords from the Latin word meaning pity are also known as ‘mercy seats’. These are the ledges or rests in choir stalls so that clergy singing the divine offices could rest their weary legs. The clerical perches were often hinged so the misericord carving could only be seen when the perch was raised. Many oak choir stalls with their misericords were placed in churches during the medieval period; their carvers are largely anonymous and the meaning behind the carvings sometimes lost but they remain a fascinating glimpse of the past.
Hemingborough in Yorkshire has some of the earliest examples of misericords in this country and Exeter Cathedral has a complete set dating from the Thirteenth Century.
The carvers used their imaginations when they created each misericord. Some scenes come from the Bible; others like the foliate green men sporting leaves from their mouths come from an earlier folklore; some…
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