Hello , I am planning to build a home shrine to my patron saint. I am moving to a larger house (my mom’s who died last year. ) i have a question I guess about proper decorum. The shrine/altar (difference?) will be in the corner of my old bedroom. It will not be large but also probably will have paintings of my saint (Joan of Arc) and perhaps a statue elsewhere in the room. Even though the house is larger than my present one the room will be multi-use, probably a library/game room. (as in board games) (I would not play ping pong in a room with my saint’s altar.) I don’t see much problem if I am alone in the room (with my saint I guess) but my question is about guests (which may be few anyway). I don’t have a lot of friends (one died recently) but the ones I have are all Protestant. ( You can probably see where I’m going with this.) They may have a problem with the shrine but I do not plan to accommodate their objections, if any, about that. (I am Catholic, it is my house, she is my Saint and that is that). My question is about, say, entering or leaving the room. Should I acknowledge my saint when and before respectively. (By a sign of the cross or something.) I was thinking that might be a bit much. I sort of settled on when entering the room for the first time that day and leaving the room for the night. (Of course when alone I can do what I feel best.) I would not be putting on airs and still respect my saint (which I consider most important). Does anyone have an opinion on this? …I do not dislike Protestants. My Mom was a Baptist. But after having my faith attacked by them (Baptists , not my Mom though , she raised us Catholic because my Dad was Catholic) for close to 50 years I feel I should not just bend to their will. (Joan certainly would not.) Nor do I wish to be rude or unnecessarily offend . …I am 61 years old and have never had a patron saint. I chose her, or, I’d like to think, she chose me. I pray to her daily and she helps me. (prays for me) It is not magic but I feel I have a friend in Heaven (and a holy and powerful one.)
You should read The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home, Book by David Clayton and Leila M. Lawler. It’s a beautiful book which explains why we all need a prayer corner and suggests how to set one up. It is about using what you have and repurposing, not about going out and buying furniture and such. The book also has some pictures of saints that can be removed and used, if liked. I set up my little oratory, or I should say I refined it after reading this gem of a book. My oratory is the table next to my bed and that is all I use it for. It definitely has helped me center my prayer life.
I have this book and also recommend it.
I think the way you have chosen to acknowledge your Saint is fine, once when you first enter and once at night. It is not an altar with the Blessed Sacrament that you might need to be acknowledging each time you pass.
I do icons in egg tempera. They get scattered throughout the house. The guest room has eight. (Six are mine-- two are Christmas presents to gift.)
I have plenty of people who stay in that room. Regardless of religious background, I’ve never once had anyone say, “I can’t sleep in this guest room. It makes me uncomfortable.”
Have your shrine the way you like it. People who like it will like it for what it is. People who are apathetic towards religion will notice it, but probably not think too much about it, because it’s yours, and they like you. People who it would make uncomfortable— probably wouldn’t be your overnight guests in the first place.
Thank you everyone for responding. I like all the answers and feel better about what I am doing, that I am not going off the rails or something. I will check out the book. And it is indeed not the Eucharist. Was thinking along those lines but didn’t put it so well. And Midori, you are right. Kind of analogous to a Miss Manners question. The person said their friends didn’t believe them when they said something. She recommended “Get some new friends!” In closing, was thinking that since we play war games (board games, sometimes miniatures) maybe I should acknowledge Joan prior to starting a game. Then perhaps she can help me move my armies. Ha! In fact I will likely be playing solitaire mostly. It is in no way as good but c’est la vie. Perhaps Joan and I can set up a game in Heaven. …I am new (returning after long absence) and replied to my own post to try to reach everyone. Hope that is correct.
Yes. Great comment. But they are hard cases. Someone on perhaps this forum (on another thread about Protestants accusing Catholics of worshiping saints and statues) , said “Their minds have been darkened.” …But you never know. God works in mysterious ways.
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