|Nuns Love Nun Dolls, Too
Nun dolls make us smile. And if you're still reading this, we'll bet they make you smile, too. Some modern nuns truly dislike nun collectibles. Others, like Sister Donna Fread, a Sister of Saint Francis of Philadelphia, love them, too. Scroll down on the link above to view Sister with her dolls.
We love nuns who are happy, and clearly this order is a happy one that follows the admonition of Saint Francis:
“Always preach the gospel.
Use words only when you have to.”
—St. Francis of Assisi
Woman donates figurines, dolls to Mount St. Michael
July 15, 2005
The Spokane Review. Reporter Yuxing Zeng
They play basketball, ping pong, golf, tennis, softball, the guitar, the violin and even the accordion. They sing, teach, nurse puppies and cats.
And they pray. They are nuns, after all.
But these nuns are dolls and figurines made of ceramic, porcelain, alabaster, pewter and paper. Alive in shades like cherry red, canary yellow and turquoise, they range from inch-tall miniature figurines to dolls more than a foot tall to holy water wall mounts.
About 150 of these nun figurines and dolls fill two large display cases at Mount St. Michael, 8500 N. St. Michael's Road. The collection arrived June 19 courtesy of a donation from Marlene Majeski, who had amassed more than 300 figurines in about 40 years before giving them to family, friends and Mount St. Michael.
"I always dreamed of donating them, thinking it was great fun," said the recently retired Majeski, 50, of Lacey, Wash. "Why wait until I die? Then somebody else has to deal with it."
Majeski's cousin in Spokane sent letters to several local organizations in May, and Sister Mary Bernadette of Mount St. Michael responded.
"I said to myself, 'Who more appropriate than the sisters at Mount St. Michael who still wear the traditional habit like all the figurines in the collection and still do all the things the nuns did?' " she said.
The collection will debut July 17 at a courtyard concert of The Singing Nuns 25th anniversary celebration.
Sister Mary Bernadette said that she understands the collection had great meaning to Majeski..
"I wanted Marlene to know that her collection meant as much to someone else," she said. "I wanted her to know that we would deeply appreciate it and her charity would be returned to her."
At prime-eye level placement sits the Mount St. Michael nun doll, complete in a blue and white habit, miraculous medal, black rosary beads and a brown scapular worn on special occasions.
"The funny thing is that we don't even make them anymore," Sister Mary Bernadette said. "We had no copies here."
The emotionally expressive figurines also provide people a glimpse of the individuality of nuns, said Sister Corinne Marie.
"A long time ago people thought that nuns were the stoic type of women that only prayed and never expressed their individual personalities," she said. "We have our personalities."
The collection started when Majeski was 10 or 11 in an effort to earn a collecting badge as a Girl Scout - "I remember we were Troop 64 and we were the Daffodils."
Throughout the years, family and friends continued giving her the collectibles as gifts.
Majeski also found some of her own figurines throughout her travels in England, Mexico and around the United States.
"There's one nun in the collection I found at a wildlife safari in Roseburg, Ore.," she said. "You find them in the most obscure places."
Two of the nuns in the collection Majeski spotted in a tobacco shop window in Victoria, British Columbia, she said.
"You just start looking at them and you just start getting memories," she said.
Despite all the fond memories, it wasn't difficult for Majeski to part with the collection.
"It was not hard at all because I have a desire to take care of this now and pass on that joy, to pass on the fun," she said. "It's a happy time. It's not as a result of somebody trying to take care of my estate in 30 years."
People suggested that Majeski, who never had the collection appraised, sell the figurines over online auction house eBay. But Majeski said she intended to keep the collection as intact as possible by donating it.
"As Mount St. Michael's collection, my hope is that someone in the community will say, 'Oh, I've got a nun you don't have. Let me give it to you,' " Majeski said. "I just wanted other people to enjoy it now."
The collection can be viewed by the public for free by appointment Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors should call parish secretary Carol Dunn at 467-0986, ext. 100.
Copyright c 2004 The Spokesman-Review
Remember Nun Dolls?
Unique Collection Joins Archives
The Catholic Chronicle. By Susan Wetick
The next time one of those antique road shows rolls into town, you might just see folks from the diocesan archives standing in line with their latest prize: a rare religious doll collection.
The assortment of 36 dolls reflects the loving work of the late Marjorie (Kenne) Drouillard, 82, a longtime member of Sandusky Sts. Peter and Paul.
The oldest of seven children, when Mrs. Drouillard was young, she picked up many of her mother’s renowned sewing skills. She herself grew so talented, area residents would often bring her fine fabric from foreign countries so she could sew custom garments for them.
As time when on, Mrs. Drouillard was able to apply her sewing skills to a distinctive style of miniature clothes to adorn her one-of-a-kind religious dolls gathered over the course of her lifetime.
It all started when daughter Rene received a nun doll.
Rene gave the doll to Mrs. Drouillard, who, with the help of her late husband, Robert, son, Doug, and at the urging of Father Gerald Stein, then associate pastor of the parish, decided to expand the collection.
She concentrated on the religious orders found in Northwest Ohio. Eventually, she had 33 nun dolls, one priest, one monsignor and one pope.
Mrs. Drouillard spent many days talking with nuns of various religious orders, sometimes leaving with small pieces of cloth actually worn by the sisters. Applying her finely honed sewing skills, she took great care to ensure the dolls were dressed in authentic-looking habits.
Mrs. Drouillard also added shoes, magnifying glasses and rosaries to capture the image of the group or individual being depicted.
She often would take her collection to Rosary Altar Society meetings, educating people about the different parts and meanings of the sisters’ habits.
The dolls depict the following religious orders: The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Felicians, Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Glenmary Sisters, Little Sisters of the Poor, Maryknoll, Medical Mission Sisters, Oblate Sisters of Providence, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer, Servants of the Holy Ghost of Perpetual Adoration, Adorers of the Precious Blood, Grey Nuns of Montreal, Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Sisters of Divine Charity, Sisters of the Holy Humility of Mary, Sisters of Mercy, Notre Dame, Sisters of the Precious Blood, Sisters of St. Dominic, Sisters of St. Francis/Tiffin, Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Sisters of St. Francis of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Mark, Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Society of Christ the King, Ursulines, Visitations, and the White Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
Also represented in the collection are Fr. Gerald Stein, Msgr. Henry J. Foran and Pope John XXIII.
Mrs. Drouillard’s family offered to donate the dolls to the diocese when Mrs. Drouillard moved into an extended care facility. The diocese gladly accepted and displays the dolls in the same case in which the creator displayed them. Mrs. Droulliard died Jan. 20.
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Don’t Chew Jesus!
A Collection of Memorable
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by Danielle Schaaf & Michael Prendergast
“Sisters were the foot soldiers of Catholic education. Those of us who marched with them are glad we did. Don't Chew Jesus! gives us a chance to relive that journey.” ~ John Powers, Author of Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?
“My earliest memories from kindergarten and all the way through high school were of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Scranton. Like so many other students of that time, I am forever in their debt and keep them in my prayers daily for a happy eternity following their wonderful lives on earth.” ~Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C, President Emeritus
University of Notre Dame
Filled with fond recollections and touching stories, these tales from hundreds of contributors pay tribute to nuns, those monochromatically clad monitors of the right, the wrong, and the holy. Catholic nuns are portrayed as devoted and passionate women who, armed with an arsenal of educational weaponry ranging from creative storytelling to psychological terrorism, had the massive responsibility of molding children into model citizens of God. The brief, descriptive anecdotes cover subjects ranging from religious training, habits, and devotion to discipline, pranks, and the always-dicey sex education. Readers are introduced to such legends-in-the-making as baseball-playing nuns, telepathic nuns, gun-toting nuns, and even skinny-dipping nuns. These nuns have seen it all—the silly or the sad, the frightening or sublime—and always keep their gazes directed upward.
Each of the stores display part of the largest collection of nun-dolls in the world. These dolls are unique because each was dressed by the particular order of nun it represents. Unfortunately, many of these convents and religious orders no longer exist. However, these dolls recall the days when the religious orders where vibrant and thriving. This story of this collection has been told in local and national newspapers over the years. Briefly the story is as follows:
This remarkable display of dolls was originally assembled in the 1950's.by Mrs. Laura Deming of Redlands. Laura used to lecture about the various religious orders, and she encourage young ladies to join the various religious orders in United States and in other countries by exhibiting dolls given her by various orders. There are over 90 different dolls in the collection, each dressed in its own distinctive habit by that particular order of nuns. The authentic robe on each doll makes this collection the most unique nun-doll collection in the world. The owners of the Madonna shops traced down the collection when they were informed of its existence through casual conversation with some priest and nun friends. The dolls were finally located stored in the kitchen area of a monastery. Those who opened the boxes were amazed at the authentic detail of the garments and the extensiveness of the collection. Unfortunately, some of the dolls were partially damaged by insects and rodents when they were stored and then forgotten. To let others enjoyed the collection it was decided to immediately put the dolls on display. For 13 years the collection was exhibited in the archdiocese of Los Angeles. The collection has now been moved to the permit home in the Madonna shops located in Upland and Riverside California. The Madonna shops hope you enjoy and appreciate this heavenly body of little nuns.
Cross in the Woods Shrine
Indian River, Michigan.
The Shrine includes a Nun Doll Museum -- the world's largest. Donators to the Museum have received official blessings from the Pope: "His holiness Pope John Paul II Vicar of Jesus Christ imparts his Apostolic Benediction upon Sally and Wallace Rogalski for their undertaking in promoting vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life through the world famous Catholic Shrine Doll Museum, 1988." Walk through this place and you can't help grinning when you see many
of your sister's old dolls dressed up as nuns. The summer camp group on our tour couldn't help it either. "Hey, it's Father Ken!" "Settle down." "Where's the flying nun at?" "I told you -- settle down now or you go outside."
Cross in the Woods and Nun Doll Museum: 7078 M-68, Indian River, MI Directions: I-75 to exit 310 (Indian River). Follow Hwy 68 west, and make a right where it separates from Hwy 27. The Shrine will be on your left. Hours: The park is open 24/7, The All Faiths Gift Shoppe is open daily 9-8 Phone: 231-238-8973
During the 1940s, Oregon Province member Fr. Charles Chapman, S.J., conducted a thorough survey of as many American women religious orders as he could find. In addition to a standard questionnaire, he also gathered photographs to be able to illustrate in a compendium each order's distinctive garb, for postulants, novices and professed members. The resulting collection is a dramatic view of this facet of American Catholic religious history at its high water mark. Though his work was never published, Chapman's materials were heavily used in George C. Steward Jr.'s book Marvels of Charity: A History of American Sisters and Nuns (1994).
For more information please call or write:
JOPA, Special Collections Department
Foley Center Library, Gonzaga University
Spokane, WA 99258 - (509) 323-3814
NUNS HAVING FUN CALENDAR
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Glory Hallelujah! The nuns are back! Truly habit-forming the NUNS HAVING FUN CALENDAR Who can resist these sweet, nostalgic images depicting the lighter side of convent life? In black-and-white and sepia, the photographs are from the 1950s and ’ 60s. Here are nuns frolicking through the waves (yes, in full habits). Nuns at the bowling alley. Nuns on a roller coaster, nuns singing, nuns in a chorus line, nuns playing jump rope, nuns on a road trip, nuns in bumper cars. A wonderfully fresh, entertaining look at the stern-looking sisters many of us remember.