This is a pocket or travel shrine made from an altered Altoid tin. Inside is a vintage saint on one side and an unusual relic of Saint Bernadette of Lourdes on the other. (Please click on any photo to see larger view.)
Bernadette Soubirous died in 1879 and was made a saint in 1933. The relic consists of sawdust from the wood of Bernadette’s coffin, inside of a small, blue envelope marked: “Maison Mere des Souers de la Charite de Nevers” on one side and “”Sciure de Bois/Extraite du cercueil de la Vénerable Souer Marie-Bernard Soubirous le 22 Septembre 1909.”
The date on the envelope is 1909 which makes it from an interesting chapter in the making of a saint; it was the year her body was exhumed by the church for examination in search of proof of the incorruption of her body as proof of her sanctity. (This is why it is labelled “venerable” rather than “saint.”) Her body was then reburied in a new coffin (to be exhumed twice more in coming years – yikes). This sawdust is from the original coffin.
This altered tin shrine is trimmed with two vintage French holy cards (one from 1884, the other early 20th century) and a vintage bisque rose. The lid is burnished with faux rust and covered with rust dyed gauze and a bronze poppy cast in the 1970s from an original 1910’s Art Nouveau cast.
It measures 9.5cm x 5cm when closed and opens to 10cm across when open. (3.5” x 2.25” closed or x 4.5” open). Please note that this is full of old stuff and should be handled with care and not bounced around so if you take it on actual pilgrimage, be gentle. Which brings me to one last thing: this pocket shrine makes a lovely object of devotion but I myself am not Catholic; I make these primarily to be unusual objects of curious French ephemera. No disrespect is intended to those who believe, or to those who do not.
Cost is £75 with free U.K. postage. (Click here for a currency converter.) PLEASE contact me if you are ordering from outside the U.K. as currently we are being advised not to ship abroad as arrival cannot be guaranteed. If you would like to buy it now I can send as soon as it is deemed safe or I can send it tracked and insured for exact additional postage.
Optionally, you can buy this shrine with a vintage rosary. It is made of a blue cut glass that matches the shrine’s blue elements, and has a brass, art nouveau clasping pendant.
Shrine and rosary together are £115. Shipping as above. If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com.