Crosses, Medals, Medallions and Trade Silver

(click on pictures for enlargements)


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  Religious Medals worn by Christians depicting Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and many saints date back to the very early days of Christianity.    It wasn’t until the 16th century, however, that this practice became commonplace throughout Europe.    When Catholic religious orders in France, Spain, and the British Isles began sending missionaries to the New World, these priests brought along religious medals to give to their converts.    The purpose of these medals was to serve as reminders to the novice Christians of the stories told to them by the "blackrobes" of the lives of these saints and the sacrifices they made for their faith in God.    The missionaries also distributed crosses, crucifixes, rings and rosaries that represented the life of Jesus and His crucifixion.

The custom of praying to saints is often misunderstood with a mistaken belief that people pray to a particular saint instead of praying to God.    In fact, the saint is thought to be an intercessor or spokesperson that will petition God on behalf of the person asking for his or her assistance.    In other words, saints are asked to pray for the individual who is requesting assistance.    That is why most saints’ medals will have the saint’s name and likeness on one side of the medal and the words "Pray for us" on the reverse.    Through the centuries some saints have been associated with certain attributes that explain why that person became a saint.    For example, it is written in the Bible that St. Peter was a fisherman when Jesus said, "Come follow me and I will make you a fisher of men."    Today, St. Peter is known as one of the patron saints of fishermen.    One of the best-known patron saints is St. Michael the Archangel who according to another bible story lead the heavenly hosts in the fight against Lucifer and his minions.    Today, St. Michael is known as the patron saint of soldiers, police officers, emergency medical workers, paratroopers and swordsmiths.    It is curious that Christians, Jews and Muslims acknowledge Archangel Michael and he is considered the patron saint of Israel.

The following list of saints and a brief outline of their stories accompany photographs of the medals we currently have available for sale.    This list is by no means complete.    There are very many different saints’ medals available.    If you are looking for a particular saint that we do not show, please send us a note or give us a call and we will try to accommodate you.

 

 
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St. Agatha   was born and died on the island of Sicily. A young virgin, she was martyred during the persecution of the Roman emperor, Decius, sometime in the years between 250 and 253.   She was tortured and martyred because she would not give up her Christian faith and marry a Roman senator.   Today she is venerated as the patron saint of those afflicted with breast cancer and sexual assault.   She is depicted holding a pair of pincers with a burning brazier at her feet.   She is also thought to be a protector against the outbreak of fire.   $2.00

  St. Anne   was the mother of the Mary and, therefore, the grandmother of Jesus.   She was married to St. Joachim.   Tradition holds that St. Anne was elderly when Mary was born - but we are not sure how the term "elderly" was defined in those days.   Mary was her only child.   St. Anne is the Patron saint of pregnant women, voyageurs, carpenters, cabinetmakers, equestrians, grandparents, horsemen, horsewomen, housewives, lace makers, miners, wood turners and women in labor.   She is also the patron saint of Canada, France and the Micmac people of eastern Canada.   In writing about his first venture into the Canadian fur trade in 1761, the Scotsman Alexander Henry stated, "St. Anne is the patroness of the Canadians, in all their travels by water."   The voyageurs heading west would stop at the church of St. Anne in Montreal to offer a prayer for their safety in their journeys as this church was the last they would see before returning - maybe months or years later.   A St. Anne’s medal was excavated at the Fort Michilimackinac site, which has been dated to the period 1840 to 1860.   Medals in her image were in use far earlier than this however.    $2.00

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St. Anthony    was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1195 and died of natural causes in 1231. He cane from a wealthy family but gave up his worldly possessions to become a poor Franciscan priest. He was shipwrecked on the island of Sicily where he took up residence in a cave, leaving only to attend Mass at a nearby church. He is the patron saint of those seeking to find lost objects. He is also the patron of shipwrecked sailors, sailors in general, watermen, fishermen, poor people, swineherds, oppressed people, Native Americans, and amputees.    $2.00

  St. Barbara    was a beautiful young woman imprisoned by her pagan father, Dioscorus, for her conversion to Christianity. Local authorities ordered her father to kill her but as soon as this was done, he was struck by lightning and killed. Because of this, she became the patron of all things military related to artillery. She quickly became the patron against death by artillery, explosions, fire, lightning, mine collapse and storms. She is the patron saint of armourers, ammunition workers, artillerymen, firefighters, geologists, gravediggers, mariners, masons, miners, mathematicians, prisoners, and tilers. St. Barbara is often depicted holding the chalice of happy death; at other times she is shown in a tower holding a palm branch signifying martyrdom.    $2.00

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St. Benedict    was born ca.480 to a wealthy Roman family. He was a serious student who valued education but became disenchanted with his fellow students who didn’t share his discipline and dedication to all things scholastic. He left Rome and lived as a hermit in a cave for three years after which he founded the monastery at Monte Cassino. He wrote the Benedictine Rule of his order, which can be summed up thus: "Pray and work." He died on March 21, 547 while at prayer and is buried beneath the high altar in Monte Cassino. He is the patron saint of coppersmiths, cavers (spelunkers), people in religious orders, school children, and students of all ages.    $2.00

  St. Bridgid    (also spelled Bridget) was born in 453, the daughter of a Christian mother and a pagan Scottish king in County Louth, Ireland. She died in 523 of natural causes in Kildare, Ireland and was first buried in the Kildare cathedral. In 878 her remains were transferred to Downpatrick, Ireland where they were buried alongside of St. Patrick and St. Columba. Her name, "Bridgid," is Gaelic for "fiery arrow" and she was known for her high spirits - something that caused her father no end of problems. When her aged mother was put in charge of her master’s dairy, Bridgid stepped up to help her and under her guidance, the dairy prospered. That is why she is often depicted with cattle. At one point her father arranged a marriage for her but she ran off to a convent where she took religious vows and so was unable to marry. St. Brigid is the patron saint of blacksmiths, babies, cattle, fugitives, midwives, milkmaids, nuns, poets, poultry farmers, scholars, and travelers. .    $2.00

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St. Christopher    is said to have been born in Canaan, his birth name was Offero. The Roman, Decius, martyred him around the year 251 during a period of Christian persecutions. Little else is known about him other than the legend that he was a powerful man who took up residence by a swift and dangerous river where he assisted travelers in crossing the river safely. One day a small child asked for his help and while he was carrying him across the river, he was nearly pushed under the water because of the weight of the child. When he delivered the boy safely to the other side, it was revealed to him that he had carried the Christ Child across the river and that the weight he bore was that of the world. It was at that moment that Offero became known as "Christopher" which means "Christ-bearer." To those who pray to him, he offers protection from bad dreams, epilepsy, floods, hailstorms, lightning, toothache and sudden death. He is considered the patron saint of archers, motorists, bachelors, boatmen, gardeners, sailors, and travelers. He is most often shown as a large man carrying Christ on his shoulders.    $2.00

  St. Elizabeth Seaton    was born August 28, 1774 into a wealthy and influential Episcopalian family in New York, the daughter of Dr. Richard Bayley. At the age of 19 she married the wealthy businessman William Magee Seton and had five children. Ten years later, her husband’s business failed and he died of tuberculosis, leaving her an impoverished widow with five small children. She converted to Catholicism in 1805. To support her family and to insure their proper education, she opened a school in Boston that she ran along the lines of a religious community. Soon after she opened a Catholic girl’s school in Baltimore that eventually became the basis for the parochial school system in America. To run the system, she founded the Sisters of Charity in 1809, the first American religious community for women. She died in 1821 of natural causes. She is considered the patron saint of widows and people ridiculed for their piety.    $2.00

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St. Francis of Assisi    was born in 1181 in Assisi, Italy, and died October 4, 1226 at Portiuncula, Italy of natural causes. He was born into a wealthy family of cloth merchants. As a young man he was known as a street brawler and some-time soldier. He was captured during a war between city-states and spent a year as a prisoner-of-war during which time he had a conversion experience and began taking his faith seriously. He renounced his former worldly lifestyle and began preaching the Gospels of Jesus Christ, caring for the sick, and preaching peace and purity. His father disapproved of his new life and disinherited him. In 1209 he received papal permission to found the Franciscan Order based on the simple teaching of Jesus: "Leave all and follow me." Shortly thereafter Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student and soon after established the Order of the Poor Clares. Francis spent the rest of his life preaching the Gospels, working with his hands, caring for the sick and lepers, cleaning churches and living with animals. While in deep meditation in September of 1224 Francis received the stigmata, which bled periodically during the remaining two years of his life. St. Francis is considered to be the patron of peace, ecologists, environmentalists, families, merchants, tapestry workers, needle workers, zoos, animals and birds.    $2.00

  St. Gabriel the Archangel    the messenger of God, his name means, "God is mighty," "Strong man of God." He is one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible. He appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain the prophet’s vision of the Messiah, appeared to Zachary to announce the coming of John the Baptist, and appeared to Mary to inform her she would bear the Savior. He is the patron of diplomats, broadcasters, messengers, postal workers and the clergy. He is often depicted holding a shield, a spear and a trumpet.    $2.00

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St. George    was a soldier and a martyr, who was tortured and beheaded ca. 304 at Lydda, Palestine - and that is all that is really known for sure. There are many legends surrounding this saint; he was held in such high regard that during the 15th century his feast day was as popular and almost as important as Christmas! The best-known legend is the "Golden Legend" in which St. George squared off against a mighty dragon who ate two sheep or one village maiden per day! Whole armies perished before this dragon but St. George supposedly faced off with the dragon on a day when it was to eat a princess. St. George made the sign of the cross and went into battle, killing the dragon with a single blow from his lance. When the local king gave him a handsome reward, St. George distributed it to the poor, and then rode away. And this is how the stuff of legends is born. The celebrated Knights of the Garter are actually Knights of the Order of Saint George. What is known for sure (and what really matters) is that he was martyred for his faith in Christianity. St. George is the patron of soldiers, cavalry, Crusaders, archers, equestrians, farmers, knights, lepers, saddle makers, Palestinian Christians, and shepherds. He is most often depicted dressed in full armor holding a lance, mounted on a horse, killing a dragon.    $2.00

  St. Gerard    was born April 23, 1725 in Muro, Italy, the son of a tailor who died when Gerard was 12, leaving the family in poverty. He became a Redemptorist brother who served as a gardener, tailor, sacristan, and porter. He was falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child. She later recanted and cleared him but he never spoke of the matter. He lived his life very simply and was known as a holy man and miracle worker. He died of tuberculosis October 16, 1755 in Caposele, Italy. St. Gerard is often depicted dressed as a monk holding a crucifix. He is the patron of expectant mothers, the pro-life movement, children, lay brothers, falsely accused people and good confessions.    $2.00

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Guardian Angels    This term refers to the belief that everyone has an angel who is there to care for their soul through out life, and assist in bringing them to God. This belief goes back to the earliest times in the Old Testament and carries over into the New Testament as well. Throughout the centuries of Christianity, the idea of Guardian Angels has remained constant and is still as strong today as ever. The typical Guardian Angel is depicted as an angel standing behind a person with his/her hand on the person’s shoulder.    $2.00

  Holy Spirit    This simple medal shows a dove in flight with its wings outstretched, a common portrayal of God the Holy Spirit, in early Christianity.    $2.00

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St. Hubert    was born ca. 656 at Maastricht, the Netherlands, and died on May 30, 727 in Brabant, Belgium of natural causes. St. Hubert was the grandson of Charibert, the King of Toulouse, France. He spent his younger years as a wealthy young man, enjoying life as anything but religious. He married in 682 and fathered one son. Hubert was absolutely passionate about hunting and it was while he was out hunting on Good Friday that he had his religious conversion. On that day, while chasing a deer, he saw a stag standing with a cross in its antlers and heard a voice warning him, "Hubert, unless you turn to the Lord, and lead a holy life, you are going to go to hell!" Hubert got the message. After his wife died, Hubert renounced all his worldly possessions, asked his brother to raise his son, and studied for the priesthood. He then spent the rest of his life as a priest, evangelizing the Ardenne region and converting much of Belgium to Christianity. He predicted the date of his own death, May 30, 727, and died while reciting the Our Father. He is most often depicted standing next to a deer with a cross in its antlers, often with a dog by his side, and a spear in his hands. (Also, the alcoholic beverage, Jaeger Meister, depicts St. Hubert on its label.) St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters, hunting dogs (in Belgium, Bloodhounds are also known as "St. Hubert’s Hounds"), forest workers, machinists, trappers, precision instrument makers, and dogs.    $2.00

  St. Jean Baptiste Vianney    was born in 1786 and died in 1859 of natural causes. He was ordained a priest in 1815 and was sent to the village of Ars in rural France as pastor of the church there. He was known for his model Christian behavior and spiritual vision. He became well known as a confessor and at times there were lines of people waiting for him to hear their confessions or ask his advice. It was not uncommon for him to spend as much as 12 hours a day in his confessional. He is depicted as a priest in his clerical robes. He is the patron saint of parish priests.    $2.00

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St. Joseph    was a descendant of the house of David, a carpenter by trade, and the earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is the foster father of Jesus Christ. He is best known for his willingness to do whatever God told him to do, whenever that took place. He died of natural causes prior to the crucifixion of Jesus in the 1st century. The name Joseph means "whom the Lord adds." He is the patron saint of carpenters, cabinetmakers, fathers, families, house hunters, immigrants, people in doubt, and a happy, holy death. He is most often depicted as an old man holding the infant Jesus in his arms.    $2.00

  St. Joseph the Worker    is the same Joseph who was the foster father of Jesus on earth but in this instance he is usually depicted standing alone, with a workman’s apron on, holding carpenter’s tools - sometimes a carpenter’s square or a wood plane in one hand, a lily in the other. In this depiction, St. Joseph is the patron saint of all working people, especially craftsmen and laborers, civil engineers, and pioneers.    $2.00

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St. Jude    was a nephew of Mary and Joseph, which made him a blood relative of Jesus Christ, and he was reported to look very much like Jesus. His name means "gentleness of character." He may have been a fisherman prior to becoming one of the Twelve Apostles. He has become known as the patron of lost causes because early Christians confused his name with Judas Iscariot, the traitor, and so never prayed for Jude’s help. He was known as a healer and exorcist and preached in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia with St. Simon until he was martyred. He was beaten to death, then beheaded post-mortem in Persia during the 1st century. He is most often depicted as a bearded man holding a staff or oar in one hand wearing a medallion with a profile of Jesus, and usually with a small flame above his head. He is the patron of desperate situations, lost causes, hospitals and hospital workers.    $2.00

  St. Lucy    was born of Greek and Roman parents ca. 283 at Syracuse, Sicily and died a martyr ca. 304 also in Syracuse. Her name means "bringer of light." When she rejected an offer of marriage to a pagan, Paschasius, he denounced her to the governor of Sicily who then ordered her into forced prostitution but when guards went to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her killed instead. She was then tortured and stabbed to death. She is most often depicted holding a lamp in one hand and a palm branch, signifying martyrdom, in the other. She is known as the patron of blind people, cutlers, sore eyes, stained glass workers, peasants, salesmen, and throat infections.    $2.00

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St. Matthew    was a Roman tax collector before he became one of the Twelve Apostles. When some people questioned Jesus as to why He was associating with a "traitor," Jesus replied that he had come to earth "not to call the just, but sinners." Matthew wrote his Gospel to convince his Jewish readers that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah. He preached among the Jews for 15 years. It is not known for sure how he died some writers claim he was martyred but there are no clear records indicating that he died in this manner. He is often depicted holding a spear or halberd in one hand and a moneybag or inkwell in the other. He is the patron of accountants, bankers, customs officials, guards, tax collectors, and stockbrokers.    $2.00

  St. Michael the Archangel    was the leader of the Army of God during the Lucifer uprising. He is the one saint who is acknowledged by Christians, Jews and Muslims. He is considered the Guardian Angel of Israel and the protector of the Church against the anti-Christ. The name, Michael, means, "Who is like God?" and was the battle cry of the army of heaven in the fight against Lucifer and his minions. He is most often depicted with his foot holding down Lucifer or a dragon, holding a sword in one hand and sometimes with a set of scales in the other. He is the patron of soldiers, paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians, fire fighters, paratroopers, sword makers, coopers, bankers and grocers.    $2.00

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St. Michael and St. Florian    This medal pays tribute to both saints with St. Michael on one side and St. Florian on the other. St. Florian was an officer in the Roman Army in the third century. He was also a Christian but had to hide his identity because of persecutions taking place during that time. Legend says that he stopped a town from burning by praying and throwing a single bucket of water on the blaze. From this story, he became associated with firefighters and those who protect others from fire, including chimney sweeps. Around the year 304 he was ordered to kill a group of Christians during the reign of Diocletian. He refused by professing his own faith. He was then scourged, flayed alive, had a millstone tied around his neck and was thrown into a river. His body was later retrieved by Christians who buried him in an Augustinian monastery. Because of this he is known as the patron saint against battle, drowning, fire, and flood. He is the patron saint of firefighters, brewers, barrel makers, chimney sweeps, harvests and soap boilers. He is often depicted as a bearded warrior with a lance and a bucket; he is also seen as a young man in armor pouring water from a tub onto a burning church.    $2.00

  St. Patrick    was born around the year 390 in Scotland and died of natural causes around 464 in County Down, Ireland. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken off to Ireland where he worked as a shepherd for several years before escaping back to his native land where he studied to become a priest. His bishop sent him back to Ireland to evangelize and over the next 33 years he converted almost the entire island to Christianity. It was St. Patrick who used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity that there are Three Persons in one God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. During the Dark Ages, Ireland’s monasteries were the great repositories of learning for all of Europe all as a result of St. Patrick’s tireless efforts to bring the word of Christ to the Irish people. St. Patrick is most often depicted as a bishop holding a crozier and stepping on snakes according to a popular legend, it was said that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. He is the patron saint of engineers and against the fear of snakes and snakebites.    $2.00

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St. Patrick and St. Brigid    This medal pays tribute to both saints with St. Patrick on one side and St. Brigid on the other.    $2.00

  St. Peregrine    was born in 1260 in Forli, Italy and died in the same town May 1, 1345 of natural causes. He was born into a wealthy family and spent his youth in a worldly manner, becoming involved in local politics. During this time he was strongly anti-Catholic but had a conversion after striking a papal peace negotiator across the face. This man, St. Philip Benizi, calmly turned the other cheek and prayed for the youth. Peregrine then joined the Servite religious order and was assigned to his hometown where he worked for 30 years in complete silence as an act of penance for his idle youth. When he did speak, he was known as an excellent orator and gentle confessor. In later life he developed a cancer on his foot that required an amputation. He spent the night before the operation in prayer and received a vision that Christ touched the diseased foot. The next morning all trace of the cancer was gone. He is most often depicted dressed as a monk with his left foot forward. He is the patron of those afflicted with cancer, breast cancer, AIDS, open sores, and sick people in general.    $2.00

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St. Raphael the Archangel    Also known as the Angel of Love, the name Raphael means "Healer from God" and "God’s remedy". He is the lead character in the book of Tobias in which he protected Tobias on a perilous journey, cured his father’s blindness, and brought Tobias and Sarah together in marriage. He is most often depicted as a young angel carrying a walking stick and either standing on or holding a fish parts of which he used to cure Tobias’ father’s blindness. St. Raphael is the patron of blind people, druggists, physicians, nurses, travelers, lovers, and young people.    $2.00

  St. Sebastian    was born to a wealthy Roman family, educated in Milan, and was a captain of the guard in the Imperial Roman Army. He was reputed to be a favorite of the emperor Diocletian but during one of Diocletian’s persecutions of the Christians, Sebastian visited some of the condemned Christians in prison and brought them supplies. He was also said to have healed the wife of a brother soldier by making the sign of the cross over her. He then became a Christian and converted other soldiers to Christianity. When Diocletian learned of this he had Sebastian tied to a tree, shot with arrows and left for dead. He didn’t die and instead recovered then went back to Diocletian to try to convert him. Diocletian was furious and this time had him beaten to death. St. Sebastian died a martyr’s death ca. 288 in Rome. He is most often depicted as a young man tied to a tree shot with arrows. He is the patron saint of archers, athletes, gardeners, gunsmiths, lace makers, masons, plague victims and stonecutters.    $2.00

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St. Stephen    was the first Christian martyr who died around the year 33. He had angered the Sanhedrin by preaching to them about Jesus. Stephen was taken to the outskirts of the town where he was stoned to death. He is most often depicted holding a rock in one hand and the palm branch signifying martyrdom in his other hand. He is the patron of stonemasons, coffin makers, and deacons.    $2.00

  St. Theresa of Avila    was born March 28, 1515 and died of natural causes October 4, 1582. She joined the Carmelite order of nuns when she was 17 years old and spent her life in prayer and writing books. She became gravely ill soon after taking her final vows and never fully recovered her health. She was reputed to have had several visions. She is most often depicted wearing a Carmelite habit, holding a crucifix in her right hand, and with an arrow piercing her heart. She is the patron of lace makers, people in need of grace, sick people, and people ridiculed for their piety.    $2.00

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Our Lady of Guadalupe    The Blessed Virgin appeared to a 55 year old Mexican man by the name of Juan Diego on Saturday, December 9, 1531 as he was hurrying down Tepeyac hill on his way to attend Mass in Mexico City. She sent him to Bishop Zumarraga to have a temple built where she stood. The bishop was understandably skeptical of this man’s story and did not believe him at first. Juan Diego was to return to the same spot the following day to give the Lady the bishop’s answer. The bishop told Juan Diego to ask for a sign that she was indeed, the mother of the true God. When Juan told her the bishop’s request, she instructed him to go to the rocks and gather the roses there and return to the bishop. Juan knew that this was not the right time of year for roses to be growing but when he did as instructed, there were roses in bloom among the rocks. He gathered them into the poncho he was wearing and ran to the bishop. When he met with Zumarraga, he opened his cloak and out fell the roses and he was startled to see the bishop and the others with him kneel down before him. There, on the coarse cloth of his poncho was the beautiful picture of the Blessed Mother standing with the sun, moon and stars, with a supporting angel under the crescent moon. A shrine was soon completed and to this day, the painting is held within. The place is called Guadalupe Hidalgo and is located three miles northeast of Mexico City. In 1904 the church was named a basilica. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron of the Americas.    $2.00

  4-Way Medal    Traditionally, the 4-way Medal is one medal made up of four separate medals: the Sacred Heart medal, St. Joseph medal, St. Christopher medal, and the Miraculous medal. The medal that is offered here uses the crucified Christ to divide the medal into four quadrants, each of which holds images of the Sacred Heart, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Christopher with the baby Jesus on his shoulder, and St. Joseph holding the infant Jesus in his arms. In addition, there is a dove above the crucifix symbolizing the Holy Spirit. The reverse side of this medal has the Miraculous medal plus the supplication, "I am a Catholic. In case of serious accident, please call a priest."    $2.00

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  PC-011  Italian Crucifix    This crucifix combines a wooden cross with a metal backing.   This is a common design used for rosaries of the period.   Made in Italy, this is a nice crucifix for the price.   It measures about 1-1/2" in height.     $4.00

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