Keeping a Catholic home (art, statues, crucifixes)


#1

Hello! I am new here and hope I am posting in the right spot :)
First, I will state the basic question and then follow with some background/explanation.

Are there "rules" or guidelines about where to place garden statues, crucifixes, etc. in a Catholic home?

I am a mother of 4 children (school age and younger). My mother was Catholic, my father Protestant, so growing up I was baptized Catholic and went to CCD until 5th grade, my family was not very devout. My mother never placed Crucifixes, garden statues, etc in/outside our home, so I didn't grow up with that...
My husband grew up Catholic, with Catholic parents, but I don't think his did either....

I would like to place a statue of Mary in my front yard, but I'm unsure if I will be doing it "right". I've looked on the internet and found sites that talk about special flowers that are recommended for a "Mary garden". I am not a wonderful gardener at all...the people who lived in our home before us planted some nice plants/flowers, and I would prefer to just maintain those, rather than dig them up and plant new...but i was unsure if it's ok to put a Mary statue among plants/flowers that don't have specific meaning or significance to the Blessed Mother. I hope that doesn't sound like a ridiculous question :o but I just wouldn't want to place something and find out that it was considered disrespectful or wrong in anyway. Are there any other "rules" about placing a statue of Mary in front of my house that I should know?

Kind of the same question about crucifixes inside the home. Growing up, we never had a single crucifix in the home, and well...now in my own home, we don't either :o
How do I "begin"? Is there a location in the home that is most important, so I should start there?

Thank you for any help/insight any one can offer. To be honest, I'd be very embarrassed to ask these questions to any of the Catholics I know in real life.


#2

I don’t think there is any rule about placing a statue of Mary in a garden that doesn’t contain specifically “Mary” plants! I don’t see too many statues of the Blessed Mother outside, I mostly see Saint Francis statues, but then again, I don’t visit too many other Catholics’ homes…

I would check with your homeowner’s association by-laws however, if said statue will be visible from the street or to the neighbors. If you don’t have a homeowner’s association, good for you!

A lot of Catholics have a crucifix by the main door that is used for entering and exiting the house, sometimes with a holy water font for making the sign of the Cross. I’d put one in every room, in some way…I have crosses near my front door and in my living room but they are not crucifixes. My MIL complimented the crosses when she visited last Christmas but called them “crucifixes.” :eek: Ummm…no…

Do you have a place where you pray? Start there! If it’s next to your bed, put a crucifix within eyesight.

My husband is really not Catholic so I feel that I can’t be as “out” as I’d like to be…I don’t want him to feel under attack in his own home. There’s a lot of Christianity on display in the house but not too much that is “in your face” Catholic.


#3

A small statue as part of a garden would be a nice touch. I would do something like that if I lived in a home, not an apartment.

I do keep some statues in my apartment in various areas too. It reminds me of my faith on a daily basis.


#4

I don’t know that there are any hard and fast “rules” about having crucifixes in a Catholic home but it is traditional and goes back hundreds of years.

I have a crucifix in most rooms of the house and statues of our Lady and St Francis in my front garden.


#5

I have lots of religious art and decorations in my home. A pretty statue of the Blessed Virgin outside by my fence. A 16 inch very old plaster statue of her on my fireplace mantle right now with a crown of flowers (it’s May!). A crucifix (sick-call set) on the living room wall. A pretty silver Russian holy water font with a picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on the wall leading up to the stairs. All these things help remind me where my thoughts should be focused when I’m sitting on the couch unwinding, watching tv, or just relaxing in the evening. Once my 8 year old grandson told me I was “REALLY Catholic!” :slight_smile:


#6

I have a picture of the "last supper" in my dinning room. I also have a picture of Jesus in the living room but I want to replace that with a picture of the "holy family" and I want to place the picture of Jesus near the stairs so that everyday people will always be reminded of Jesus whenever they wake up and go down the stairs :)


#7

You can put a statute of Mary anywhere you like as long as its done with respectful intentions, the particular plants nearby do not matter. Here at my house we have a St Francis shaded under a tree surrounded by some ferns and other plants. A Mary garden is just a garden devoted to the Holy Mother. It has flowers, herbs, and other plants traditionally associated with the Her. In a Mary garden a statute would be welcome and I assume necessary. Crucifixes in the home can also go where you like. You could put one where most of the family can see it when entering and leaving the home, one where you pray would be good. A lot of Catholic homes I've been in have a small wall crucifix over every bed in the house. Anyways, you can place crucifixes, statues, and icons where you like, as long as its done with love for God. Peace.


#8

Frankly I think it would be better to place the statue of Mary in your backyard instead of your front yard -- I don't know where you live, but a tremendous amount of people do not like Catholics and can't understand our devotion to Mary.
As far as religious statues, etc. in the house I have a Crucifix in my bedroom and a number of beautiful statues of Mary in various rooms. I also have a beautiful Last Supper in my dining room.


#9

We have a statue of Mary on a stand beside our front door. We know that she prays for the Jehovah's Witnesses and LDS missionaries that stop by. In turn, they also know just what they will soon encounter when I answer the door!

We have a crucifix over our front door on the inside, both as a blessing and reminder. Also, a wall-mounted statuette of Mary on the way to our garage. There are also other small displays of faith throughout the house.

Go to Google Images and type "Virgin Mary Garden" You will see some great ideas. I can only advise you to start small and allow it to grow from there.


#10

As part of a military family, we moved quite often. My brother knew were "home" when my mother placed the Last Supper and Renoir paintings of the Angelus and Harvest in the dining room. The Agony in the Garden was placed by the front door. I prefer Jesus Looking Over Jerusalem.
Many Catholics place a water font near the front door, as well as in bedrooms beside the door. A nice touch is for each child to have a holy water font depicting the Saint after whom he/she was named. A crucifix may be placed over the bed, or near where you choose to pray.
I like having a prayer corner where I keep my Bible, prayer books, and rosary. You can use a small table to create a home altar complete with crucifix, candle, and Marian statue.
My mother had a picture of St. Therese of Lisieux in her room plus a statue of the Infant of Prague. I remember a Guardian Angel picture in my room as a young girl.
As with any other art that you choose to display, your choice of Catholic art will change as your tastes develop. There are no hard and fast rules.


#11

My favourite thing I have is a ceramic tile I bought in Rome: it depicts a dove and has ‘Veni Sancte Spiritus’ on it. I like finding little things like that that just speak to me.
I also have lots of candle holders depicting Christ and the Blessed Virgin and with Scripture written on. I’m not allowed them in my current home since it’s rented and candles are against our contract but I keep them at home on my dresser.
With non-Catholic family I can’t have things anywhere other than my own room but I can’t wait to have my own home and put things around it.


#12

My mother kept a Kitchen Prayer in her kitchen. It came to me after her death, but unfortunately was among the items lost during a move. I have yet to find another like it.
"Oh God of pots and pans and things…make my grumbling cease…I may have a Martha’s hands but I have a Mary heart…"
One of the tiles that I took home with me, after my brother died, has a dove and simply says "Peace."
Abbey Press had many “little things” when it was in business. Now go to Monastery Greetings for items from various religious communities.


#13

I have crucifixes over the front door on the inside (foyer) and same over the door of each bedroom on the inside. I also have a small statue of the Infant Jesus on my kitchen windowsill....just as a reminder of my relationship with our Lord and His protection. There are no "formal Catholic rules" as to where to put religious icons. I just decided to make our home a Catholic home, but of course these icons won't mean a thing if you don't walk the talk (we do though) :thumbsup:


#14

The following comes from A Catholic Book of the Hours and Other Devotions, available on Amazon. It describes a Catholic tradition of maintaining a home altar (on a shelf or table) in the living room or dining room as a place for the family to gather at the beginning and end of each day, as well as before and after meals. Following ancient tradition, the crucifix is placed on the east wall. "Look to the East, Jerusalem" (Baruch 4:36). Items are for this home altar include a crucifix, Bible, icons, holy water, candle, and flowers. The book mentions keeping a candle perpetually burning. For safety reasons, I would only have the candle lit while in the room.
I have my own prayer corner in my room where I go first thing in the morning. Then again, I live alone. I do like the idea of a home altar in the living room for families. When I married, my youngest brother gave my husband and me a family Bible. We placed the Bible on a special table, the type designed to hold Bibles or other large books. On the shelf below, we placed busts of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This Bible stand had a special place in the living room.
We also had a plaque with the Prayer of Saint Francis where it could be read as we left our apartment.

Things to have in a Holy Home: Bible, rosary, Crucifix (sick set), Nativity scene, Patron saint statue, Advent wreath, candle snuffer, purple cloth for Lent [personal notes].

.


#15

It sort of depends on your neighborhood. If local vandals find front-yard art or gardens to be tempting targets, then don't use front-yard decorations that would add sacrilege to their crime of vandalism. For instance, if you do have a statue of Our Lady in the front of your house, you might take it in from about 10 days before Halloween until Halloween night is over. You can put her back on All Saints' Day (well, unless Halloween falls on a Friday and you think local pranksters may be making a three-day weekend of it). It's about removing a near occasion of sin.

It is a good idea to place religious art where you can see it when you pray. If you say prayers with your kids when they are in bed, try to place a crucifix or icon or have a shelf for a rotation of items (an altar with flowers and a Marian statue in May, a Creche during Advent and the Christmas season with a Christ Child that can be added on Christmas Eve, etc.) where they will see it when they are in bed praying. The same with any banners for their First Holy Communion. Some families have a family altar in the place where they have family prayer, too. Many Catholics have personal prayer corners that are decorated so as to keep their attention where it belongs.

Other than that, I'd place for religious art so that you are inspired during your daily work: a statue of Our Lady so that you will see it while doing dishes, a crucifix in the laundry room, an icon of St. Jospeh the Worker over the garage workbench, that kind of thing. That is how I would choose the size: Find the spot, then find the artwork that will go there. You might also want to consider having something where you will see it during your important family gatherings, maybe in the dining room. Some of my siblings have a crucifix over the door to every bedroom; I think that is very nice.

Jews are traditionally required to hang a mezuzah (a small case with a scroll containing Deut 6:4-9 and Deut. 11:13-21) on their doorposts. I know a couple who have a small crucifix hung on the doorframe of their front door, right where you would expect a mezuzah (although upright, and not at the angle typical of a mezuzah). So this is the kind of thing that you can invent to suit your own sense of where you want things.

Just try to make it somewhere that you will notice it regularly, both so it has the maximum inspirational value and so the item isn't neglected. It somehow looks wrong to see a crucifix with cobwebs on it or a big family Bible on a high shelf with enough dust to show it isn't used very often.


#16

[quote="EasterJoy, post:15, topic:240995"]

Jews are traditionally required to hang a mezuzah (a small case with a scroll containing Deut 6:4-9 and Deut. 11:13-21) on their doorposts.

[/quote]

My (Catholic) wife sometimes expresses a desire to hang a mezuzah on our front doorpost. I guess she finds that particular prayer to be inspiring.

She has a dedicated prayer room in our house where she has many religious symbols and pictures on the wall and on shelves. Even though I am not Catholic, I wouldn't object to having a few religious symbols in the rest of the house, but she seems to be content with having them in her prayer room.


#17

[quote="DebChris, post:14, topic:240995"]
The following comes from A Catholic Book of the Hours and Other Devotions, available on Amazon. It describes a Catholic tradition of maintaining a home altar (on a shelf or table) in the living room or dining room as a place for the family to gather at the beginning and end of each day, as well as before and after meals. Following ancient tradition, the crucifix is placed on the east wall. "Look to the East, Jerusalem" (Baruch 4:36). Items are for this home altar include a crucifix, Bible, icons, holy water, candle, and flowers. The book mentions keeping a candle perpetually burning. For safety reasons, I would only have the candle lit while in the room.
I have my own prayer corner in my room where I go first thing in the morning. Then again, I live alone. I do like the idea of a home altar in the living room for families. When I married, my youngest brother gave my husband and me a family Bible. We placed the Bible on a special table, the type designed to hold Bibles or other large books. On the shelf below, we placed busts of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This Bible stand had a special place in the living room.
We also had a plaque with the Prayer of Saint Francis where it could be read as we left our apartment.

Things to have in a Holy Home: Bible, rosary, Crucifix (sick set), Nativity scene, Patron saint statue, Advent wreath, candle snuffer, purple cloth for Lent [personal notes].

.

[/quote]

I agree with all of this.

Each of my children have a prayer center in their room as well. They have the tall book shelves, and one shelf at an appropriate height has their bible, statues of the Holy Family, their patron saint, their rosaries, and any other religious items they want to display.

We set these up starting in second grade for each one (the year of their 1st Eucharist). Their teacher that year was a nun, and she requested that each student have one.

We have crucifixes in the living room, crosses in various rooms, a St. Francis of Assisi statue in the back yard, and other signs of our faith are on display (our coffee table books are focused on the Catholic faith).

We really need a reproduction of "The Last Supper" now that I see mention of it.

Funny, I was at the rectory for a class tonight, and I think we have more religious artwork on display than they do there in the public rooms! Kind of funny...


#18

We're slowly working on increasing the "Catholic appearance" of our home. We have a couple statues, crosses and crucifixes around, but not so much that they really noticeable unless you're looking. We have a couple paintings in storage, but they're not ones I really like so I don't mind leaving them in storage.

We've been working on getting more fully back to the Church over the last few years and I've been reluctant to overdo things so as not to give my family any sort of a shock to the system, so to speak. I would like to have a holy water font by the front door, another piece of art or two in the house and possibly something in the garden. One problem I've had with this is that everything is so darn expensive, or is dirt cheap and looks it (e.g. a $3 holy water font with a crooked cross that looks like it's going to break at any second, or a $400 engraved font, and not much else in between). I wouldn't mind finding some affordable, nice-looking items that we could buy for our home.


#19

I’d be careful about putting out a metal statue of anything: A lot of thievery occurs because metal recycling is pretty lucrative right now. If you put out anything like that, you might want to cement it in place. A good alternative is a fiberglass or resin statue.


#20

[quote="rick43235, post:16, topic:240995"]
My (Catholic) wife sometimes expresses a desire to hang a mezuzah on our front doorpost. I guess she finds that particular prayer to be inspiring.

She has a dedicated prayer room in our house where she has many religious symbols and pictures on the wall and on shelves. Even though I am not Catholic, I wouldn't object to having a few religious symbols in the rest of the house, but she seems to be content with having them in her prayer room.

[/quote]

A mezuzah is a great connection to our Judeo heritage.
I like the idea of a prayer room, or home chapel.

[quote="Gordon_Sims, post:18, topic:240995"]
We're slowly working on increasing the "Catholic appearance" of our home. We have a couple statues, crosses and crucifixes around, but not so much that they really noticeable unless you're looking. We have a couple paintings in storage, but they're not ones I really like so I don't mind leaving them in storage.

We've been working on getting more fully back to the Church over the last few years and I've been reluctant to overdo things so as not to give my family any sort of a shock to the system, so to speak. I would like to have a holy water font by the front door, another piece of art or two in the house and possibly something in the garden. One problem I've had with this is that everything is so darn expensive, or is dirt cheap and looks it (e.g. a $3 holy water font with a crooked cross that looks like it's going to break at any second, or a $400 engraved font, and not much else in between). I wouldn't mind finding some affordable, nice-looking items that we could buy for our home.

[/quote]

My youngest brother had given my mother a Holy Family water fountain that she kept by the front door. I also do not like cheap art.
I found a Sick Set inlayed with mother of pearl on ebay. If needed a night stand can be used as a table. It is a good idea to have a small chair in each bedroom, whether or not there is a desk.


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