Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Catholic Hipster Tote Bag

Editor's Note: This is an awesome contribution to the blog from Holly Vaughan! Enjoy!!

Several months ago, the Catholic News headlines told me that Pope Francis said that we should carry our Bible as much as, and with as much attention as, we do our cell phones.  (Here you go, in case you didn’t see it!)

Now this gave me pause.  I try and keep my time on my phone to a minimum  and I also try to keep it relevant - my aim is for most of my phone time to actually involve interacting with other humans.  However, I will be the first to admit that I do love checking in with Catholic Twitter.  And sometimes I feel like Instagram needs to know what I ate for breakfast.  Also, I have a lot of Catholic apps, including the Divine Office app which is easier (read: lighter) than carrying around my breviary so…... you get the picture.

A little background - I have only been Catholic for three years (four if you count my RCIA year) - Easter Vigil class of 2014!  Also, I am a theology student, and I’m a Benedictine Oblate (not a nun, don’t live at the monastery - read here!).  Both of these things require a good amount of study, and seeing as how I also am a wife, homeschooling mom, and work part time at my parish I grab time to study whenever it comes available.  Often I would find myself with an unexpected free 35 seconds, and would have nothing with me to study.  When I read the article from Pope Francis, I briefly thought how convenient it would be to have my Bible with me all the time, especially when those free moments became available.  Then….I got distracted and forgot all about it.  

A few days later this popped up in my social media feed:
On the off chance that God was speaking to me through the internet, I decided to listen.  And that’s how my Catholic Hipster Tote Bag was born.  To be fair, I haven’t actually called it that before, but now that I have read Tommy’s book I just might rebrand it. The book reminded me that Catholic Hipsters live their faith out loud, and this tote bag with the logo of an archabbey on it doesn’t exactly keep any secrets about what’s in it.
What in the world is in it?  I’m glad you asked.  

I emptied it all out on my dining room table and photographed it, amidst strange looks from my family, just to share it with you.  

The bag.  It’s a tote bag from the monastery that I am an Oblate of - complete with the Saint Anthony keychain added by my kiddo. Apparently I lose things a lot.

The rundown - Bible; my two oblate books, my Kindle, The School of Prayer Reflections on the Divine Office, the Student Prayer Book, Rosary Reflection pamphlet, Catechism, Pen Pouch, Two Rosaries, baggie of Saint Benedict medals and my Bullet Journal.  

Whew.  Let’s break that down really quick.
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On the left - two rosaries.  The one with the wooden cross has the mysteries of the rosaries on it, and the day you should pray them.  Perfect for those of us who may have that one set of mysteries we still have trouble getting in the right order - I’m looking at you Luminous mysteries.  The one on the right was made for me by my son. I use one for the Rosary and the other for my beloved Divine Mercy Chaplet.

In the middle is the Handbook of Prayers, Student Edition(and the well-loved edition).  It has a great selection of the older Catholic prayers, and the more recent ones.  Check out “Saint Ambrose’s Prayer Before Mass.” Next to it is the greatest book to help me focus during the Rosary I’ve ever found.  

And on the right are the Saint Benedict medals.  They’re blessed, and if I see you I’ll probably give you one.  
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On the left above - Bible (RSV Version), Oblate Prayer and Spirituality Books, Catechism and School of Prayer.  All handy when I have unexpected time for prayer or study.  
In the middle above - I know what you’re thinking and yes.  Those are Twistable crayons.  I see those incredulous looks.  Hear me out.  I mark my Bible often for classes, and in study, and most all highlighters bleed through and cause a big mess.  These absolutely do not, and there are an abundance of colors for those Type A people among us.  Like me.  AND they don’t rip the Bible pages like colored pencils!  Also, Zebra pens for the same reason - no bleed through!  

And finally on the right is my Bullet Journal to keep my life halfway organized, and my Kindle, which is as well loved as the prayer book above.  

And that’s it!  Clearly I have a lot in here, but this could be downsized in a lot of ways. Put a book with the Daily Mass Readings and reflections in your purse or in your car, along with a Bible in your car (or your purse if you have a big enough purse or small enough Bible), stick some medals of your favorite Saint in your pocket so you’re ready if you have a chance to hand one out, put an awesome prayer app on your phone and you have a condensed Catholic Hipster ‘Tote Bag’.  Feel free to share what helps keep your faith in front of you throughout the day - I would love to hear what that is for you!

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