After my mom died, my sister Joan and I spent a few days helping to clean out here things. Joan went through all the paperwork, while I tackled her dresser drawers. I found scapulars. Now, I've mentioned that my mother was a devout Catholic. According to Catholic doctrine, everyone is supposed to wear a scapular at all times. What IS a scapular?
As Wikipedia explains: The devotional scapular typically consists of two small (usually rectangular) pieces of cloth, wood or laminated paper, a few inches in size, which may bear religious images or text. These are joined by two bands of cloth and the wearer places one square on the chest, rests the bands one on each shoulder and lets the second square drop down the back. Yep, that's it. And on one side it promises:
A Get-Out-Of Hell-Free card! "Who-so-ever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire".....so my mom had one sewn inside each of her bras. Yes, there was the Middle Ages, right in my mother's underwear drawer!
And with the contents of that drawer, I constructed a reliquary for my mom.
Reliquary, 52"h x 15"w Framed on an old ironing board cover, this holds her bras and girdles, her (rolled up) Ace bandages and her buttons, the strips of snaps and hooks, the girdle clips and pins. And of course her rosaries. She would be utterly appalled to know that people were seeing this.
Towards the top we get into the scapulars:
The small scapulars (and holy medals) are the ones I found in her drawer. The bigger ones are enlarged photos printed on cloth. And at the very top is the inside of her wig (and some of the rollers she used to 'set' it).
My mother had very fine hair which she permed into submission for most of her life. For the last few years she wore a wig. And I cut it up to use in this reliquary. I stood there, in my studio, chopping at it, repeating (out loud!) "you're cutting up your mother's wig - you're going straight to hell" No, I don't actually believe in heaven and hell, but cutting up that wig seemed like wicked sacrilege.
There are more pieces that I made after my mother's death, (which you'll see next week) but this one is probably the most intense.