Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Saintly Business

I read an interesting online article at Daily Finance titled, "A Question for the Holiday Season:Which Saint has the Best Cash Flow?" by Bruce Watson. I have a great admiration, interest and love for the Saints, which is why I have so many books about the lives of saints and their writings. The writer of the article started thinking about "top-earning saints" after Forbes magazine released a list of top earning dead celebrities ( Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Rogers and Hammerstein). 
So, in his opinion and from what he's gathered from research, he wrote the following. "With All Saint's Day 2009 finally here, we decided to take a peek at the Christian saints who continue to inspire devotion--and yes, cash flow-long after their passage into the great beyond." The most popular Saint according to the writer must be Mary, the Mother of God. "In addition to direct veneration of the Virgin Mary, which inspires sales of numerous medals, statues, candles, scapulars and other items, her visitations in Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje and Guadalupe continue to draw devoted pilgrims from around the world. She has been the subject of thousands of books and pamphlets and her likeness adorns an almost infinite array of items. " That is certainly true. On the desk where my computer is, I have a paperweight with an image of Mary surrounded by angels. It was gift for a donation I made years ago. I never gave it much thought until now, but Mary is "close to me" as I write this blog entry and all the others too.  I also have numerous Marian books, pamphlets, statues etc. Some I purchased and some were gifts. 
What about profitable films about saints? There have been many popular movies about St. Bernadette, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Beckett, Oscar Romero and the most popular St. Joan of Arc. She is the central figure of at least 16 films. Interestingly, the first Joan of Arc movie was produced in 1895, at the beginning of the film industry. The most recent movie, about St. Joan was The Messenger which grossed over $14 million in the U.S. 
St. Christopher is still popular with the faithful.  St. Christopher is still venerated and as pointed out in the article, "His close association with travel makes St. Christopher one of the few religious figures whose medals can be purchased in auto parts stores."
St. Joseph statues are big business. As most everyone knows, people are planting statues of St. Joseph in their front lawns in the hope of getting a "saintly advantage" in trying to sell their homes. If you google St. Joseph's name, many sites come up titled, "The Home Sellers Statue Kit for St. Joseph." You can't make this stuff up!
And then there is the association with St. Valentine and Valentine's Day. Though a lot of confusion surrounds the identity of the saint connected to Valentine's Day, it is a very profitable holiday for Hallmark as well as candy manufacturers. 
And then there is St. Nick. His popularity is without question. It's difficult to get Christians to reflect on the true meaning of the Incarnation and Christmas with all the Christmas hype and materialism. It's hard not to get caught up in it.