Over the past two years while visiting my friends’ homes, I have seen these cute wooden peg dolls painted in the image of various saints. While inquiring about them, my friends explained they were part of a “Saint Doll Exchange” in their homeschooling groups. I’ve been told this neat concept has become quite the rage. The idea stemmed from a local Catholic wife and mother Angie Robbins. She gives complete saint doll exchange instructions on her website Liturgical Saint Dolls. Angie shared with me:
“As Catholic moms we are always looking for ways to teach our children about our faith. So I did some searching through Catholic homeschooling blogs and found this idea. As I started painting the saints I found myself learning so much about them that I did not know. I just had to share this idea with other moms! It just so happens that I run Opus Domini, a Catholic homeschooling support group here in the Columbus Diocese. These families decided to start a Saint Doll Exchange just like you would have a cookie exchange. It was so much fun! I now have over 70 Saint Dolls! When company comes over, they quiz themselves on the saints! This is also an inexpensive way to teach your children about the saints. I am so excited to share this with even more Catholic families.”
I had the opportunity to take part in my first exchange this November and it has been a really fun way to learn more about the saints and be a little creative. The process is pretty simple. Find a group of ladies willing to participate, each chooses a different saint to paint and then exchange! We had 17 ladies in our group, so after we exchange, I will start my collection with 17 different saints. I admit, I have been given many talents, but art is not one of them. I was a little bit leery of how my dolls would turn out, but they actually resemble a person!
I chose St Agatha, patron saint of my parish, because I didn’t know very much about her. After some Internet research and studying the stained glass windows at church, I found an icon of St. Agatha I liked. I also read about the life of this early Christian virgin and martyr, the patron saint of nurses and breast cancer. I enjoyed spending a few quiet mornings with my cup of coffee and paintbrushes, praying as I painted for the intercession of St. Agatha. This gave me time to contemplate her courageous life of virtue. I included a picture of my saint below, but be sure to visit Angie’s site to see other ideas and some pretty amazing dolls.
Too busy to paint? I found some places on Etsy, a website focused on handmade items, that sell intricately painted saint dolls. Check out St. Anne’s Pixies.
Want to paint the Holy Family as a doll exchange? You could make a complete nativity set for Christmas! You can also buy one at St. Luke’s Brush.