Prayer Corner Update

So, I recently found it necessary to tweak the prayer corner, namely Sister Stinky's portion of it. I've noticed that the old set-up - a small table set aside with some materials for her to look through - just wasn't serving the purpose I'd intended. Instead of it being a special place where she could pray or think about God, it just became another corner to pull out her catechetical "toys" and scatter them everywhere. It was set-apart enough.

Then, one evening, while we were praying with Sister Stinky before bed, I noticed that she seems to prefer standing on her own during prayer time these day. I also noted that when she stood in front of the bookshelf that our prayer table is on she couldn't see the prayer table...she only saw her toys! So, after some tweaking, here's the result:

A beautiful icon (that I found for 50 cents at a local church rummage sale), an Infant of Prague statue (from my parents that may have actually been from when one of them was small), and inexpensive statues of Mary and St. Joseph from Catholic Supply (a great supplier that I highly recommend!). She has always loved icons, and recently has started enjoying holding, carrying around, and...ok....even playing with little statues.

Now when we gather to pray in the evenings, this is what at her eye level - several beautiful reminders of God and the saints. It has already opened the door to some beautiful catechetical moments. She is learning to say "icon" and also learning who is depicted in our particular icon. She is even learning to kiss the icon, as a sign of love for her dear Jesus. And she loves holding the little statues.

As I was crouched beside her while we were praying the other day, I suddenly had a moment of pure clarity in regards to these sacramentals. Although I love icons, statues, and all religious images, I sometimes feel uncomfortable at the thought of having to explain my beliefs about them (i.e. that we venerate them because they are reminders of God, whom we love, and of His saints, and that we certainly never worship them). But, in that moment of clarity, I saw it so clearly. I have had some good friends who have had to be in long distance relationships for a period of time, and I often think about them and feel a pang in my heart when I think about how difficult that time of separation must be for them. I know even in the brief times that the Abbot and I have been apart, I have felt such solace having pictures of him with me, or other such reminders of him. I know how it feels to long for the beloved you are separated from.

This is where icons and other religious images come in. They are precious reminders meant to ease the pain of separation that we are called to feel when we realize that we are not yet with Jesus in heaven (and when we are not currently receiving Him in the Eucharist or in His Eucharistic presence). Admittedly, this is a real work of grace, because it is too easy to forget about God and heaven, and to go about the busyness of our day. But, when we stop and gaze at the beautiful religious images in our home or church, it is a reminder that we are not made for this world, but for the world to come.

I'm happy to be able to carve out a little corner of Sister Stinky's world that can remind her of that.

Here's where it's located in the big picture:


  1. 1) super awesome icon find!!
    2) sooooo cute that she is learning more about icons!!!
    3) that is a REALLY great comparison to the long distance relationships; i've never thought of that before. it really hits home for me - for the first 2 months when i was in italy, i was just talking to john on skype phone. when my mom visited, she brought with her a webcam he had bought for me. SUCH a big difference!! it was crazy awesome to see him after several months.

  2. What a great way to create sacred space and not lose it in the middle of all the other toys!


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