Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.






Friday, February 3, 2012

Religious Medals

Religious Medal Charm bracelet made with medals collected from churches in  Italy.
by jojo sabalvaro tan
A few years ago, my close friends in high school embarked on a trip to Italy after a reunion in Vienna with our other classmates. Of course, a tour of Italy means visiting their many, many wonderful churches. My best friend, Maripaz and I decided to pick up religious medals from the churches we visited. Needless to say, we ended up with a handful of religious medals. In the Roman Catholic faith, religious medals are used for devotional purposes - commemorating persons (saints), places and events. My favorite is a devotional medal that we purchased at the Shrine of St. Francis in Assisi. This was also one of the favorite spots I visited on this tour since I have not been to Assisi before. For some reason, I felt very peaceful there.

Once we got back to Rome, which was the last leg of our tour, we met up with another group of classmates touring Italy at the Trevi Fountain for dinner and gelato. During dinner, which was hosted by a classmate who has lived in Milan for years and came down to Rome to meet up with us, we compared notes on our experiences - especially about the advantages and disadvantages of traveling with an organized tour (which our group did) or going on your own, which the other group did. We decided that  joining a group tour is better for the convenience and less stress; and for the money, turned out to be  more budget friendly. The disadvantages were that we had less freedom of movement than those that were traveling on their own. We did rent an apartment in Rome near the Spanish Steps so we can take in Eternal City more fully.  It was located along Via del Corso which was very convenient, as we could walk to the Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese, Parthenon, Spanish Steps and other major sites and the bus that can take us to the Vatican is just steps away.

I digress again. Back to the religious medals ..... At dinner, our classmate, ZenyK, whose son is a priest,  suggested that we attach the medals to a rosary and it will be a constant reminder of the trip. I thought it was a great idea ang purchased a rosary at the Vatican. We had timed our trip for a scheduled Papal audience and reserved tickets prior to our arrival. When we picked up the tickets, the nun told us to bring all of the items we want blessed by Pope Benedict. So we brought all the rosaries and medals we collected along. The audience was in the grand piazza outside St. Peter's and it was a very hot and sunny day. There were so many people from different countries and nationalities. The ceremony was done in several languages and was wild with the different groups chanting and cheering and solemn at the same time.

Closeup of charm bracelet showing Swarovski crystal enhancements


At home, I decided to make a charm bracelet out of the medallions instead and gave the rosary to my grandniece for her first communion. I attached the medallions with jump rings to a purchased charm bracelet . The bracelet has a double layer of links - 2 bracelets in one. I also embellished it with a variety of colored Swarovski crystals I beaded on head pins and attached to the bracelet as well.


On a trip to Mexico, I also gathered religious medals and made them into a necklace. I hope to be able to make more so I can give them to friends, as it is the item most of my friends commented on wanting. I guess, I just have to go on another trip to collect more religious medals.

Religious medal beaded necklace made from medals collected on a trip to Mexico
by jojo sabalvaro tan

Close up of Medals

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