Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Peak at Our Little Oratory

I am finally getting to post some pictures of our (very) little oratory.  Our wall space is incredible limited and there was no where to put an additional table, so I decided to get a small shelf for the kitchen and turn that into an oratory.  I contemplated rearranging furniture once more to squeeze in "just one more thing" but I think after doing that for eight years, I have truly exhausted every nook and cranny.  So, a shelf it was.  Then came the debate of where to put the shelf. There were a few spots that crossed my mind, but none of them were conducive to congregating as a family and would be awkward to actually use for family prayer.  When it came down to it, the kitchen was the most logical place to put a space for family gathering.

While our kitchen is large compared to our home (it is nearly 25% of the house) it is a very busy spot. It serves as our kitchen, dining room, school supply closet, classroom, arts and craft workshop, sewing area, laundry, office, and play space.  It is a rare occasion that no one is in the kitchen.  That made it challenging to place the oratory here, because I could not use too much of the already much used space. However, it also made it very special to have a holy spot where we spend most of our time.

I looked at many items online, and perused Pinterest for ideas of what I wanted.  There were gorgeous oratories and home chapels, so many lovely statues and candles, prints that were so moving I wanted to cry; but then I realized that sowing the seeds of envy is never a profitable crop. So, I stopped looking and started looking at what I already had--which is much, we are truly blessed!

Above is a picture of our oratory in progress.  In the bottom right corner is the pile of Morning Meeting books.  I hope to find a basket for them soon!  Out of everything pictured, I only purchased the shelf and linen cover at thrift stores for a grand total of $1.  I really see finding what I need at thrift stores or for free as God's provision and providence.  Sure, it must be wonderful to open a catalog, enter a store, or visit a shrine and just buy what you want; but to have God place exactly what you are looking for and need right in front of you for a price you can easily afford is a great blessing and miracle. I am infinitely more grateful that I am blessed with the second scenario.

The "linen" is actually a cotton handkerchief. I still need to iron it (I know Auntie Leila would not approve, but I am a most lackluster presser and thought it probably would look better if left alone;)  The Marian statue was given to me by Cowgirl for Easter one year. I'm not even sure where she picked it up but, it is just perfect for this.  The small crucifix came from the back table at church.  On one of the tables in the atrium, people drop off religious items that they do not need. I have always been blessed to find so many of the little devotional items I am searching for right there on that table. God is good!  The St Micheal and St Joseph prayer cards we already had.  They are special saints for our family, so I decided to take them out of our collection for display. The Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart card was put out with the bulletins one week after Mass, just as I was considering how to obtain some pictures of both. God is very good!  Lastly, the cross was picked up at a book exchange held at a friend's home.  It ties in perfectly.

Our CSA allows us to pick flowers and herbs at the farm each weekend. Cowgirl and I have enjoyed this immensely.  So, I found a small vase on our bookshelf and have been replenishing the flowers each week. I have already found some silk flowers in my craft stash to use for winter months.  I will miss the beautiful pinks, oranges, and yellows of our farm flowers, though.

The Bethlehem Crafters visit our church each Advent with heavenly, hand-carved, olive wood pieces from the Holy Land. We always try to support their efforts and the Christian community that the profits benefit.  However, hand-carved, olive wood is a bit out of our budget.  So, we have made an effort to put some money aside in the fall and pick up a small piece, often for gifts for others.  Two years ago, my husband bought this lovely candle stick for us.  It is truly a prized possession. I am hoping that this year, we can buy a matching mate.  The candle in the holder is one that we made out of beeswax for Candlemas.  The children really enjoyed rolling the candles and decorating them as well.  (This one is not decorated but some of the others have red wax designs).  We have started lighting the candle during our St Michael Prayer and Psalm at the end of each Morning Meeting.
We also light a candle in that holder for special feasts, as part of our Advent wreath, and when we have a special prayer request.

Future Plans
The oratory is still evolving as I have time and resources to work on it.  I still have not gotten any of the icons up because I need to purchase frames.  That is my next step in this venture. Of course, I need to narrow down the icons to two---this may take awhile.  


After that, I really hope to get a small print or icon for each of the children's patron saints.  I would hang them in a line above the icons. This past spring, I purchased prints from Portraits of Saints as Confirmation gifts.  Everyone enjoyed them and I was awestruck by their beauty and detail. I will probably get a prayer card of each saint and then mat it to fit into a 4 x 6 frame.  They have such beautiful art work, it is nearly impossible to pick just one item. 

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Framed

I also am thinking of incorporating a hook for some liturgical ornaments inspired by Jennifer at Catholic Inspired.  I have not gotten to make any of these ornaments, but I really like the idea.  I first need to figure out a place to store the ornaments and buy some felt. I encourage you to follow her series, she and her daughter have been cranking out a couple a week for many of the feast days the past couple of months. The birth of Mary is my favorite so far!


For awhile now, the children and I have discussed creating mini vestments to hang on a wooden cross like Jessica did a few years ago.  Next time we are near Hobby Lobby, I am going to pick up a standing wooden cross.  I still have not decided if I will make the vestments out of felt or fabric.I do have plenty of craft glue, trim, and ribbon though.  I'm also debating between the Ordinary form and traditional Latin versions of vestments. So many decisions!  Perhaps we will just make both!  (LOL)

Finally, I hope to add holy water to our oratory.  We have a couple of fonts already in the home, which I confess, I am poor at remembering to fill. So, I have not decided if we will just keep a small bottle of it there or place an additional font.  We already have a very pretty Our Lady of Lourdes bottle that we fill at church, so that would be the most economical way to go. I hope to add blessing each child to the end of Morning Meeting.  Oh, and I am going to get battery operated tea light candles from Dollar Tree the next time I am there AND remember what I am looking to buy!My thought is that if someone has a special prayer intention, they can "light" one of the tea lights and place it on the shelf for the day.

How are your oratories coming along?

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