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Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I was tidying up the Catholic Club box of stuff at school (holy cards, rosaries, pamphlets etc.) and I found an interesting item at the bottom of the box. An extensive search of the web told me it's called a "Religious Detente" I'm not sure if it's a relic. It's about the size of a dime, crochet around the edges, with leather and clear plastic encasing the tiniest saint medal of Our Lady, a few tiny photos and some other paper items I can't make out. Anyways, I'd like to know what it is and what it's used for. Do you know?

Sort of. I'm surprised you haven't seen anything like this before. I thought every Catholic had something on this order in the bottom of a drawer somewhere in their house. Which is ironic, considering the whole idea behind the little crocheted pieces.

Come on, you've all seen these! The most common image in the middle of all the needlework is the Sacred Heart of Jesus or Mary. Sometimes scapulars come this way, too.

It's news to me that they are called "detentes". I'll throw that out to the Peanut Gallery and see if anyone knows how that name stuck on them. Our Spanish relations must have a clue. The word "Detente" means "the easing of tensions". So...there you go.

The idea here is that you have a little mini shrine. The simplest ones have the image in the middle and then some tatting around the edge. But sometimes it's an image and then some embroidery around there and some tatting around that.

And if you really want to go whole hog on the mini shrine effect, you sew the image on felt that's big enough to close like a little wallet around the image and then you also sew medal onto the inside of the felt so you wind up with a felt thing with tatting around the edges with the image inside with embroidery around it and medals on the sides. Whew! And you could have a relic in there to boot! Probably a third class relic.

They do end up in the bottom of drawers a lot. Seriously, go right now and rummage through your Grandmother's chest of drawers, particularly the drawer where she keeps her old watch and those earrings that screw onto the earlobes and I'll bet you'll find at least one of these. How do they end up in the bottoms of so many drawers? Maybe people mistake them for sachets.

Also, wallets have gotten smaller. People used to keep them in their wallets, back when there was only cash in there and this year's grade school pictures of the children. Now, what with credit cards, ID cards, ATM cards, store club cards, free coffee after you buy 25 coffees cards AND this years grade school pictures of the children, this little crocheted shrine would really cause a bulge.

Hi Sister,
I have 2 beautiful girls a 17 month old and a 5 month I was put on thyriod medicine that can cause phyical deformitys like cleft lip and I was on another medicine that can cause heart defects (I'm no longer on that medicine)I wanted to go off all medicine but my doctor says with my levels I could lose my baby. This pregnacy wasnt planned but its still my baby and I dont want anything to happen because of something I did. Do you know a patron saint for preventing heart defects and physical abnormalitys in babies, also for faith in my doctors and you might want to give me one for patience if 1 more person comments on how close my girls are I'm going to scream

Our prayers are with you and your thyroid gland!

Here are my saint picks. I would start with St. Gerard, who is the patron saint of a safe and healthy pregnancy resulting in a safe and healthy baby. And guess who is often on the back of a St. Gerard medal? My second pick! Our Lady of Perpetual Help. She is our go to solace in difficult and trying times.

And for patience, St. Therese the Little Flower, the patron saint for people who are annoyed by the annoying habits of others.


Robyn B. @Leave the Lights On said...

My favorite pregnancy saint is St. Gianna Beretta Molla!

Anonymous said...

The Sacred Heart of Jesus surrounded with the crochet edging use to be very popular and yes I have them laying around in bottoms of drawers.

When I first started working 20 yrs ago it was not uncommon to see people in the hospital with these pinned to their hospital gowns and as I think about it now, you don't see them anymore.

My mom use to crochet these edgings.

Mary B

Anonymous said...

I have a detente with a 3rd class relic from Father Solanus Casey, whose cause for canonization is underway. (Piece of cloth touched to his casket - that's 3rd class, right?) Didn't know it was called a detente.

I've got 5 kids. The oldest was 5 when the youngest was born. Two of them are one year apart, less one day. The comments are annoying, but they're usually good-natured. My prayers are with the reader who must take scary meds during pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

St. Gerard and St. Therese, the Little Flower - both favorites of my mom. She gave me a St. Gerard medal to wear throughout my pregnancies.

Anonymous said...

hello Sister,
I wondered if you knew of a good novena, or a good prayer to pray for those whose lives have been touched by sexual abuse. I just found out that my friend's brother in law has just confessed to her sister (his wife) to being a sex addict and it has just come out that he molested the two eldest children. I am so shocked and feel so sickened, and all I can think is to pray for the sister, and the children but also for the man himself who surely needs help and any of his other victims if there are any.
I will continue to pray in my own way, but I wondered if you knew of any prayers for this type of thing specifically.

thank you and God bless

Kathy said...

Um...St. Ephrem is the patron saint of June 9. Don't understand the "answer in feet" part. Too dense, I guess.

I have a scapular question for you, Sister. During colder months I wear the traditional one between my multiple layers of clothing. But once said layers have been shed in summer, so is the scapular. I've seen medal versions that can be worn on a chain around the neck, but I don't know if they're kosher, so to speak. Can you give me some guidance?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure we have all already said a prayer for this mother and this extended sister in law, but I'm offering my trust to God for both. I love St.Rita, and while these are not lost causes, she certainly knew about family problems. Women, there are people here who love you and are praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I liked the "whole hog" a lot.
Does anyone know where to buy something similar?

Godfrey of Bouillon

asshur said...

Dear Sister,
here a Spainard. "Detente" is the abreviation of "Detente bala" (bullet stop !). It was originally a cloeth patch with an allegorical device of the Sacred Hearth with (if posible) the inscription "Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, en vos confio" (Sacred Hearth of Jesus, I trust in Thee) aad "Detente Bala", It was borne sewn in the uniform, over the hearth, originaly by Carlist volunteers during our last Civil War.
They paid a dear blood price fighting for God, Homeland and their King was so big - their units had a fallen ratio from 1:10 to 1:5-

jo said...

Hi Sister, could I suggest Maria Goretti and blessed Alexandrina de Costa for the lady dealing with sexual abuse issues. Both girls avoided unwanted advances. Maria's attacker later converted.
And for the unborn baby... (I was advised to abort my twins by the
" experts" because of downes syndrome - but I didn't and they haven't any trace of the syndrome. They were born on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe - protectresof the unborn.(I will pray for these situations too.)