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Skulls Can Be Holy

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I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of skulls.

I see them on clothes and other apparel and accessories and I immediately think,




When I see skulls around Halloween, I’m not surprised, but again – I don’t really get the obsession with the spooky stuff.

But lately, I’ve seen more skulls on Catholic art and products, and I thought – maybe I should read more about this skull thing.

Skulls and Memento Mori

My confusion about all the Catholic rage with skulls was first cleared up by Amy Millsap from Created Beloved.

Amy wrote a great article titled Memento Mori, 

which I decided to stop and read.  I thought, I need to know why so many Catholic creators are jumping on the skull train.  Here is an excerpt from Amy’s article, Memento Mori:

“Let your future death be the fuel to live the life you need to for God, inspiring your best behavior.

St. Gerard used to keep a skull on his writing desk as a reminder that this earthly life was not long and he would soon face judgment. (St. Jerome did too.) Dark? Perhaps. But he had the right intentions. We are not meant for this earthly life, but are called for a heavenly one where we will be held accountable for our actions. That skull was a daily reminder to them to make the right choices. Pope Alexander VIII had Bernini sculpt a mini marble coffin for his desk to remind him that he would pass away someday and give an account to the Lord about his ministry.”

I have to admit, I love learning things about the Saints, and this article gave me the general explanation I was looking for . .

If you are interested in reading the whole article, go to the CreatedBeloved blog!

After I read Amy’s article, I came across the line up for the Shining Light Dolls podcast for this week.  Wow, did those episodes get my attention!!!

The episodes that caught stopped my scroll were titled, “The Saint that Slept on a Skull” and “I See Dead People/St. Padre Pio“.  These are short, entertaining and educational!  I’m about to call my 3 children over to listen 🙂

Padre Pio Doll from Shining Light Dolls

You can listen to this podcast, by scrolling down to the bottom of Shining Light Dolls home page.

There are several Catholic shops that have been inspired to put this message of Memento Mori on clothing.  Totally Catholic Tees has this under the description of one of their shirts:

Memento Mori literally translates to “Remember that you must die”

This tee is meant to remind us that we have died to ourselves, so that we may gain eternal life in Christ.

Holly Nguyen, owner of Holly Loo Yah Designs, also has a skull tee.

When Holly Nguyen posted about this tee on Instagram, she stated:

“To be honest I a m not a skulls and bones type of gal . . . so this design really took a lot of thought for me!

But as I was making it I kept thinking about the meaning of Memento Mori and why it is so important.  This is what kept coming in my head as I worked –

Whatever we don’t pay for in life we surly will pay for in death.

I pray my actions and reparations I make are enough for His eternal glory!”

So as I read about these skulls and Memento Mori, I felt like I understood a little more.  I thought, okay, so that’s why I see skulls on Catholic products.

But then, I realized, skulls can also be seen surrounding a feast day!

The Day of the Dead Skull

The Mexican tradition of honoring the dead, called Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is typically celebrated on both November 1st and 2nd.

Day of the Dead Socks


Around the time of this feast day, Mexican families traditionally build and decorate altars in their homes with pictures of family and friends who have died. Many families will visit grave sites, have meals with the favorite food of the deceased, and joyfully celebrate and honor the lives of those who have died.  It’s interesting how this celebration has evolved from Aztec traditions into a Catholic culture.

So what do you think?  Would you wear a skull?  Put one on your desk?  Sleep on one???!! Do you think it would remind you to not fall into sin?

Tell us in the comments!

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