We've been talking about being visibly Catholic, so a post about family altars seems appropriate...

My friend Karla asked me to post pictures of our family altar, and so this morning I grabbed my camera and started snapping away. I downloaded the photos onto the computer and then took a look. They were hopeless. Despite me reading the manual over and over again, I just can't get my camera to take good pictures. It's one of those fairly expensive, super-duper, no-fail, everything-has-been-programmed-for-you cameras and I still can't get it right. I have decided to share my altar pictures anyway. At least my photography talents won't make you feel envious. 

We have two family altars. This one is the first thing we see as we come through the front door. I guess door-to-door salesmen and delivery men know we're Catholic. The first two drawers of the chest contain hymn books, prayer books and cards, and spare candles. The other three contain hair ribbons, brushes and bands belonging to the girls!

The statue of Our Lady and the Christ Child was given to us by friends (thank you Gerard). The flowers are replicas of ones on Thomas' grave. The vase is really an old decanter that once belonged to my grandmother! We chose the Divine Mercy words, "Jesus I Trust in You" for the inscription on Thomas' headstone. The Sacred Heart picture is from Vietnam, and was given to Charlotte at her baptism by our priest.

Here's our second altar. It's in the corner of the lounge where we say our family prayers together. It's a terrible photo, but the winter sun shining through the window was glorious. There is a beautiful photo of Thomas over the altar. 

There's an odd assortment of things on the altar, including statues of the Sacred Heart and my Imperfect Perfect Mother statue of Mary. The crucifix is usually adorned with Rosary beads. There's also a big tangle of beads in one of the drawers. Does anyone else's Rosary beads get into a mess?

Mary has numerous Miraculous Medals around her neck. Every Mother's Day our priest gives each mother a chrysanthemum and a medal. These are a few of mine.

The egg was a special birthday gift from my friend, Cheradee.

There are photos of our children and a couple of our Godchildren. I'd like to have a photo of each of our Godchildren on our altar eventually. The empty frame should have a photo of Sophie and Gemma-Rose inside it, but I never seem to get around to putting one in. I've been displaying an empty frame for years! 

Pictures of Pope Benedict and Bl John Paul the Great are on the left side of the altar. Other things come and go: candles, flowers, prayer cards. Actually, our altar is looking a bit bare at the moment. I think it also needs a lace cloth.

We have other statues and pictures scattered throughout the house. Some of them, like this statue of Christ the Priest, are up high on bookshelves, out of the reach of the cats.

I love my Black Madonna picture. One day I will have to share all my Mary pictures with you. I have quite a collection. They sit on shelves and chests, and cover the walls of our home. Can you just make out my brown framed St Mary Mackillop picture? It's on the top shelf.

Karla's family altar is much more beautiful than ours. Please visit her blog Sacred Heart Farm to read her post Do You Have a Family Altar?

And please share your own family altar. Karla has a Linky on her blog.

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  1. I love your photos, Sue! We have pictures and statues around the house, too, but our main altar needs a big revamp. It's collected homeschooling books and a few odds and ends. It's also tucked away a bit so it needs reorganising. I like your idea of a lace cloth. I have some nice little cloths and ornaments on our tables - I think it looks quite pretty.

    My first experience of a Catholic home was a bit of an eye opener as it was the first time I had seen a statue of Our Lady, in a home. And this statue was huge. It was strange to me but not oppressive - it actually had a positive impact. Ever since then, I've had a bit of a yearning for a big Mary statue.

    I noticed the beautiful photo of Thomas - it looks perfect above the altar.

    God bless, Sue:-)

    1. Vicky,

      Thank you for liking my photo despite their poor quality. I am thinking of saving for a new camera, maybe one similar to yours. But for now I will have to make do with what I have.

      After I published this post, I began to think of ways to make our altars more beautiful. Yes, a lace cloth would be nice! Also some flowers except they are in short supply at the moment. We have other statues and special things I could arrange on the altar but the cats would probably climb up and knock them down. They do a lot of prowling around after we have gone to bed!

      Karla's altar and pictures are so beautiful. I hope you go and see her photos. I love visiting Catholic homes. All the statues and pictures give a home a wonderful atmosphere.

      We couldn't have an altar without Thomas!

      God bless.

  2. This is brilliant.

    We too have statues and Crucifixes etc ... in most rooms.

    God bless.

    1. Victor,

      Thank you for sharing my photos. Our statues and pictures have spread all around the house too. I keep collecting new ones. We never have too many though. I always manage to find a space for something new.

      God bless!

  3. Love your Family altars. I have statues and pix all over the place. I'm in a small mobile home so I just spread it out!

    1. Colleen,

      I have a friend who regularly moves her statues and pictures around her house into new positions. She says that way they don't become part of the scenery and she notices them more. I shall have to try that.

      Thanks for sharing!

      God bless!

  4. Hi Sue,
    Thank you for putting up pictures of your home altars. My bedroom is like this but I'm thinking of setting one up in our downstairs living room or office. We don't have much space in the living room so I'm thinking the office will be perfect since so many of my books are in there anyway. Right now, my Sacred Heart statue is in my bedroom (it was in the living room before we moved) but I want to move it downstairs because it's my favorite and use it as the centerpiece for the downstairs altar I want to set up. We tend to have a lot of stuff scattered around our house and I'd like to organize it a bit.

    1. Mary,

      Thank you for sharing my photos! And thank you for telling us about your own arangements.

      You reminded me of a funny story, telling me about your bedroom. Just after Andy and I were married, we went to stay with Andy's brother and dear sister-in-law. They insisted on giving up their bedroom to us. We were the guests of honour. My sister-in-law had arranged a beautiful collection of statues and pictures in the bedroom. I was not a Catholic at the time and was rather intimidated by all this visible Catholicism. I lay in bed feeling all the eyes of the statues upon me! Now I have my own statues guarding my bedroom and it feels perfectly normal!

      Mary, I am thinking I want to rearrange my statues too. I have already started looking for a lace cloth. Karla's altar has inspired me! When you get your altar set up, please share!

      God bless.


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