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TBT: Sacramentals for college students...and college grads



It has become all the rage on Facebook to post TBT (Throw-back Thursday) items. These are usually old photos or accounts from "back in the day". I thought I would do something similar on my blog today. Back in 2006 I did a post on sacramentals for college students. As many college students are in the process of packing I thought I would re-share these thoughts from sending a son off to college:

As I reviewed his final round of packing I made sure he had a good supply of sacramentals. He received a small desk-top crucifix for graduation. He has at least one Rosary. I kept pressing holy cards on him. St. Michael, St. Monica, St. Augustine, St. Benedict. He had already packed his Bible. 
He is very patient with me as I fret about his spiritual well-being. I really am not worried. He seems to be pretty grounded in his faith. I was also interested in his take on all the Catholic paraphernalia I was sending with him. He told me appreciated it but he would let his Catholicism publicly unfold gradually. He said, “If I wear my Faith too conspicuously I hear minds shut as I approach. It is better to let them discover my Catholicism after they know other things about me first.” 
I do understand his point. I don’t expect him to make a shrine in his dorm room. If the holy cards occupy a place in his desk drawer, that’s okay too. I know he will see them occasionally and remember his mom and a whole bunch of saints are praying for him. I hope he will then remember to say a prayer too.
This was written in the early years, as I was just starting to send children to college. Now my baby is starting his junior year in college. Would I do anything differently? Not really.  So far, everyone is exiting college with a faith at least as strong if not stronger than when they entered. But my son was very wise when he said he would let his Catholicism unfold gradually. No need to hide it, but there is also no reason to wear it like a flashing neon sign. Catholicism should be something organic to who we are, not an awkward add-on.

Now my children are building their own nests and I have to admit I still add to their collection of sacramentals. When I returned from Italy this summer I had a new Rosary for every child and grandchild. Holy cards make great bookmarks. I still want to remind them that Mom and the saints are still praying for them.


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