Religious medals and jewelry

John Fisher: 1469–1535; Thomas More: 1478–1535

#1176 St John Fisher: He was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI. Fisher was executed by order of Henry VIII during the English Reformation for refusing to accept him as the supreme head of the Church of England and for upholding the Catholic Church’s doctrine of papal supremacy. Saint Thomas More: More was a thoughtful and serious Catholic. He refused to bend to the will of King Henry VIII regarding divorce and Henry’s self-appointment as head of the Church in England. For his silence, or lack of explicit support for Henry, More was brought to court, where a perjurer’s words knifed him in the heart. More was condemned to death by beheading. You can learn more here.

#1177 A commonly accepted story of the origin of the Rosary dates back to 1214 when it is believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary presented the Rosary to Saint Dominic in the Monastery of Notre-Dame-de-Prouille in Languedoc, France. However, it was Pope St. Pius V who dedicated the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. St. Thomas Aquinas – Our Lady of the Rosary – St. Catherine of Sienna – Queen of the Holy Rosary. Measures almost 1″ Front – St Thomas Aquinas Back – Regina Sacritissimi Rosaria – Queen of the Holy Rosary with St Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena kneeling before Our Lady.

Note this is an original vintage medal – very recently replicas can be found.

#1178 Pius XII, original name Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, (born March 2, 1876, Rome, Italy—died October 9, 1958, Castel Gandolfo), pope, bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church, who had a long, tumultuous, and controversial pontificate (1939–58). During his reign as pope, the papacy confronted the ravages of World War II (1939–45), the abuses of the Nazi, fascist, and Soviet regimes, the horror of the Holocaust, the challenge of postwar reconstruction, and the threat of communism and the Cold War.

Deemed an ascetic and “saint of God” by his admirers, Pius was criticized by others for his alleged “public silence” in the face of genocide and his apparently contradictory policies of impartiality during World War II but fervent anticommunism during the postwar period.

#1179 Saint Benedict of Nursia c. 2 March 480 – c. 21 March 547 AD) is a Catholic saint venerated in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches. He is a patron saint of Europe. Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Lazio, Italy, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy.

Benedict’s main achievement, his “Rule of Saint Benedict”, contains a set of rules for his monks to follow. Heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, it shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master, but it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness (ἐπιείκεια, epieíkeia), which persuaded most Christian religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Giuseppe Carletti regarded Benedict as the founder of Western Christian monasticism.

The Saint Benedict Medal is a Christian sacramental medal containing symbols and text related to the life of Saint Benedict of Nursia, used by Roman Catholics, as well as Anglicans, Lutherans, and the Western Orthodox, in the Benedictine Christian tradition. This religious object is also a Christian symbol of opening doors and opening difficult paths. Tradition holds that it protects from curses, evil and vice, protects against diseases and protects good health. The reverse side of the medal carries the Vade retro satana (“Begone, Satan!”).

On the front of the medal is Saint Benedict holding a cross in his right hand, the Christian symbol of salvation, and in the left his rule for monasteries. To Benedict’s right, below the cross, is a poisoned cup, a reference to the legend that hostile monks attempted to poison him, and the cup containing poisoned wine shattered when the saint made the sign of the cross over it. To his left, below the rule, the raven that carried off a loaf of poisoned bread. From this is derived the tradition that the medal protects against poisoning.

Above the cup and raven are the words Crux sancti patris Benedicti (“The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict”). Surrounding the figure of Saint Benedict are the words Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (“May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death”), since Benedictines regarded him as a particular patron of a happy death. Below the icon of St. Benedict, it is written ‘EX SM Casino, MDCCCLXXX’ and it means ‘Found out from the Casino mountain in 1880.’

On the back is a cross, containing the letters C S S M L – N D S M D, initials of the words Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Numquam draco sit mihi dux! (“May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my overlord!”). The large C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (“The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict”).

Surrounding the back of the medal are the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B, in reference to Vade retro satana: Vade retro Satana! Numquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (“Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!”) and finally, located at the top is the word PAX which means “peace”.

#1180 St. Pius X, original name Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, (born June 2, 1835, Riese, Venetia, Austrian Empire [now in Italy]—died August 20, 1914, Rome, Italy; canonized May 29, 1954; feast day August 21), Italian pope from 1903 to 1914, whose staunch political and religious conservatism dominated the early 20th-century Roman Catholic Church. Ordained in 1858, he became a parish priest in the Italian region of Venetia. Pope Leo XIII made him bishop of Mantua (1884) and in 1893 cardinal and patriarch of Venice. He was elected pope on August 4, 1903.

Tepid toward Leo’s social reforms, Pius decided to concentrate on apostolic problems and to make the defense of Roman Catholicism his cause. Three aspects of his policy particularly aroused bitter controversy: the repression of Modernism, a contemporary intellectual movement seeking to reinterpret traditional Catholic teaching in the light of 19th-century philosophical, historical, and psychological theories; his reaction against Christian Democrats; and his attitude toward separation of church and state in France.

He took the first tentative steps to improve relations with liberal Italy and allowed Catholics for the first time to vote in Italian national elections. Some of his directives, though superseded by later social developments, mark him as one of the forerunners of Catholic Action—i.e., the organization of the laity for special and direct collaboration in the church’s apostolic work.

His eucharistic decrees eased the regulations governing daily communion, and his revival of the Gregorian plainsong and his recasting of the breviary and of the missal were important liturgical reforms. His decision to adapt and systematize canon law led to the publication of the new code in 1917, effective in 1918. His reorganization of the Curia modernized the church’s central administration, including a codification of the conclave. He was beatified on June 3, 1951, and canonized on May 29, 1954, by Pope Pius XII.

#1181 You can learn about the Abbey here.

1832: The monastery was founded on 30 May 1832 at Scrahan, Cappoquin, by a colony of Irish and English monks, expelled from the abbey of Melleray after the French Revolution of 1830, and who had come to Ireland under the leadership of Fr. Vincent de Paul Ryan. It was called Mount Melleray in memory of the motherhouse. On the feast of St. Bernard, 1833, the foundation stone of the new monastery was blessed by the Most Rev. Wm. Abraham, bishop of Waterford and Lismore.

1849: Towards the end of 1849 was founded the monastery of New Melleray, near Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.A. Two of the priests who went to that foundation, namely Fr. James O’Gorman and Fr. Clement Smythe later became bishops in America.

1952: 20 August: The new church is consecrated by the bishop of Waterford.  On 21 August a pontifical Mass is celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland in the presence of the president of the Irish Republic, many bishops and guests, the abbot general, many other abbots and a considerable crowd of the faithful

2008: Dom Eamon Fitzgerald, abbot of Mt Melleray, is chosen as the first Irish Abbot General of the Order.

#1182 The devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Catholic devotions, wherein the heart of Jesus is viewed as a symbol of “God’s boundless and passionate love for mankind.”

#1183 St. Michael Congregation of the children of the holy angels Patron of grocers, soldiers, doctors, mariners, paratroopers, police, and sickness. Michael is the archangel of the first ray of protection, faith and the will of God. He is the Prince of the Archangels and of the Angelic Hosts, the Defender of the Faith, the Angel of Deliverance and his divine complement is Archeia Faith. The Book of Daniel calls him “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” Archangel Michael is the sponsor of police departments and law enforcement agencies around the world. You can see this information on this etsy link for the same one.

#1184 Javouhey was a French nun who founded the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny. She is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. She is known as the Liberator of the Slaves in the New World, and as the mother of the town of Mana, French Guiana. More information here.

#1185 The Meaning of the Catholic Symbols on the Front of the Medal: The Four Way Medal or sometimes called the Five Way Medal combines four medals that are significant to the Catholic Faith. The Four Way Medal often comes in the form of a cruciform (cross shape) but there are variations like a diamond shape or a rounded shape. 

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus shows Jesus pointing to His exposed heart which is crowned with a crown of thorns. This is a reminder of the great sacrifice that Christ made for us and His incomparable love.

Another image depicts St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus and a lily. As the foster father of our savior, the image of St. Joseph represents guardianship and protection. The lily that he holds in his other hand is a symbol of purity and righteousness.

The right side of the cruciform depicts St. Christopher moving through a stream of running water with the baby Jesus strapped to his back. This medal has three important meanings. First, as Christians, we must always carry the teachings of Jesus with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Second, we are called to give a helping hand to those who are in need. Last but not the least, we can ask St. Christopher can intercede for us if we are about to embark on a long journey.

At the bottom of the cruciform we will see the miraculous medal. This medal is symbolic of the earliest Biblical prophecy of the Jewish messiah and depicts the Holy Mother standing on top of the world crushing a snake underfoot. There are many meanings attached to this imagery. First, Mary represents Jesus’ origins. Second, the world under her represents Jesus’ kingship over the world. Finally, the crushed snake reminds us how Jesus conquered evil.

The center of the cruciform depicts a dove. The dove is a popular symbol of the Holy Spirit and baptism. 

The back of the four way medal is often inscribed with the phrase, “I am a Catholic, please call a priest.” This is a way to tell others to call upon a priest in the event a wearer is involved in an emergency. 

There is an image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the top of the back. When paired with the Sacred Heart on the front, this makes this medal a Scapular Medal as well. 

On the bottom of the back, there is an image of the Miraculous symbol which includes: the 12 stars representing the 12 Apostles, the intertwined letter “M” of Mary and cross of Christ symbolizing their union, the two hearts: the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

#1186 Small silver medal in almost a shield shape Jesus on one side and baby Jesus with Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Jesus on the other Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or Virgin of Carmel, is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century.

They built in the midst of their hermitages a chapel which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the “Lady of the place.” Our Lady of Mount Carmel was adopted in the 19th century as the patron saint of Chile. Very small pendant shaped like a stylized shield a little over 1/2 inch high

#1187 This is an attractive medal with Jesus and Joseph and room for an inscription on the back. One was never applied.

#1188 You can see more information and pictures on the ebay listing below. Antique Convent of the Holy Child Jesus Sterling Silver Medal The Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) is a Catholic religious order for women which were founded in England in 1846.

This is the first medal minted for the order, and as such is considered rare. Diameter: 1.25 inches Weight: 14 grams of sterling silver This Sterling Religious Medal Convent of the Holy Child Jesus has Two Side: Front: Convent of the Holy Child of Jesus Reverse Latin prayer: “Nos cum prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria” “May the Virgin Mary with her loving Child Bless us”

At the time of writing there are Ebay listings are others looking more like mine. (Note one of these is $250 US and the other $80 US – mine is $75 in Canadian funds.

#1189 This is plated silver on brass It is a large Festoon (two bail pendant) that can be used as a pendant by attaching a chain to either side or as a bracelet. It is very old and large 1 3/4 inch by 2 1/5 inches. There is some wear in the plating on the left side.

The meaning of the St. Christopher medal began Catholic, but has since spread to people of different religious backgrounds. The medal originates from worship of the figure of St. Christopher, a martyr who lived during the 3rd century during the times of the Roman Empire. One of the 14 Auxiliary Saints, Saint Christopher is the patron saint of all travelers.

The name Christopher means Christ bearer in Greek, or one who carries Christ. One of the most famous and treasured stories about St. Christopher is the story of the child he found and then carried across a mighty river. The child in the story is later revealed to be Christ which is why this figure is the patron saint of travelers. Many people choose to wear a St. Christopher necklace during traveling for added protection. The Saint Christopher medal can also be placed in cars, purses, or suitcases, for those looking for the sense of protection without wearing the accessory.

#1190 Antique ebony and silver cross. It may have been on a chain but more likely once was on a rosary. It measures 4.5 x 2.25 cm

#1191 Antique ebony and silver cross. It may have been on a chain but more likely once was on a rosary. It measures 3 x 2 cm

Antique rosary $20

#1192 This Rosary is functional and complete except for one of the beads having been replaced with something else. I am sure a bead could go there instead of what is here. However, since it was used like this a long time, it is possible others would want to keep it that way as it is very old.

#1505 Rosary, old with copper crucifix. I could not find any markings.

#1506 These crucifixes are unmarked and are made with a silver toned metal and ebony. I do not know if there is real silver content. One is 4.5 cm high and the other 4 cm.

#1507 The crucifixes are bright metal. I do not know what the metal content is although I do not think either contains silver or gold. They are likely from rosaries. They measure 4.5 cm tall with the exception of the gold one which does not have a bail at the top. and so is slightly shorter.

#1508 These crucifixes have coloured crosses. They appear quite old. They measure 4 cm high.

#1509 The first is a 4-way medal and the second has a dove at the centre. They measure 3 cm high and have extraordinary detail.

#1510 These crosses are very old and with incredible detail. The silver tone one is marked Italy.

#1511 This chain has several medals on it.

#1512 These key pendants or charms are 3 cm long.

#1513 This is a detailed attractive broach It is 2 x 2.5 cm.

#1517 This medal represents the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is 2 cm x 2 cm.

#1518 Pendant locket with tiny relic of Saint Anne in a piece of jewelry made for Ste Anne de Beaupré. The basilica site, near Quebec city, has been a pilgrimage site since 1658. A chapel had been built by shipwrecked sailors. Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is the headquarters of the French Redemptorists and the seat of their college.

Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. The body of St. Anne was carried to Gaul, by the same vessel which carried Lazarus, Martha and Mary Magdalene there. St. Anne’s remains were taken for safekeeping to the city of Apt, France. Relics of Saint Anne are therefore very old and revered.

The first relic (a portion of the bone of Saint Anne’s finger) was obtained by the Carcassonne Chapter, and was brought to the Shrine on March 12, 1670 by Bishop François de Laval. On July 3, 1960, another relic of Saint Anne (also from her forearm) was brought to the Shrine from The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, this time, as a gift from Blessed Pope John XXIII. Small pieces have been put into jewelry and offered at the basilica.

#1519 Price is for both pendants. One is 1.75 cm and the other is 2.25 cm high.

#1520 These two vintage pendants are both for $15. One is 1.5 cm and the other is 2 cm high.

#1521 This Italian pendant measures 1.75 cm.

#1522 This small pendant is made in Italy. It is 2 cm high.

#1546 This brass medal was struck two years before the death of Pope Paul XII. It is slightly over a centimetre in width.

#1547 This medal is 1.5 cm wide

#1548 This medal is 1.75 cm high. The shrine of Our Lady of the Cape or Notre-Dame-du-Cap is located on the St. Lawrence River in the town of Cap-de-la-Madeleine

#1549 This vintage steel rosary was the kind used by soldiers at war. Very likely this is from the first or second world war.

#1566 Silver medal on chain from the 1960s. Chain is short 11″ or 29 cm. The medal is 0.75 of a medal.

Religious objects

I will be posting vintage and antique religious objects here including more medals as well as representing Buddhist, Hindu and other faiths.