Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Let's Start a New Tradition

 We are in a season of change and we have been in a year of challenge. So, let's challenge ourselves to change things up and start a new family tradition!

Whether we are a small or large family, whether we live alone or with a few or with many, we can all use the help of those who have gone before us, namely the SAINTS.

 As we know, November 1 is All Saints Day and what a great day to choose a patron for our homes for a year; maybe a Saint we are unfamiliar with or one we've been meaning to read more about or one who would be great for our children. 

This year, choose a saint and let us know who you choose! Put a statue or a prayer card or a picture of him or her in a prominent place in your house. (Good excuse to visit St. Mary's)

Once a month find a prayer related to your saint or read passages from a book or watch a movie. Do something each month that brings you closer to your Patron For a Year! Our prayer is that your Patron protects and guides and brings your family great joy! Please remember to share your Saint!

Once a month, discover more about your saint by sharing passages in a book or stories you've heard. Do something each month that brings you closer to your patron!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Face Masks - Less Mouth, More Eyes

Before reopening 4 weeks ago, we made signs for the front and back doors that stated we are following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and asking coworkers and customers to wear a face mask over their nose and mouth while inside the store and to try to keep a reasonable distance between ourselves and others while shopping. We are so glad to be reopened! We think these requests are minor. We set up a station at the front door with hand sanitizer and free bandanas in case people who want to shop have come unprepared to cover their faces. We offer curbside service for anyone who does not feel comfortable wearing a mask and we have made many, many local deliveries for customers unable or unwilling to leave their houses. We love our customers, we love our store and we want to stay open to the public. We consider ourselves somewhat essential to the local churches for communion bread and sanctuary lights to keep the light of Christ burning.

Trust us. We get it. We have heard every pro and con, every negative and positive, everything about good and evil. As you all can imagine, there is something every day about the request to wear a mask.
But here's what we have learned from serving people through "the mask". We all know that the masks are hot and irritating. We all know that when going up and down four flights of stairs, it is difficult to breathe (heck it's difficult without a mask most days). But what we've discovered is that we must have been watching people's mouths all these years to hear what they say. We must have been thinking about our response for when their mouths stop moving instead of really listening to what they say. The covering of the mouth has made us actually look into the eyes and truly listen, carefully, to what people are telling us or asking. The mask forces us to ask people to repeat things because honestly, we don't always really listen - with the heart. The book, "The Power of Silence", emphasizes the importance of listening with the heart. We are learning how to keep our mouths closed and our minds silent but it is quite the journey. Shutting off the ability to see lips move has literally allowed us to practice what Cardinal Sarah has written. We can only hope to form better habits. We can only hope to find some kind of good from all these challenges. We can only hope and pray to learn more about the care and love of people, deep in their souls.

We cannot tell you, our customers, how grateful we are for each and every one of you. You are our support. You are our livelihood. You are our teachers. You are our neighbors and our friends. We cannot grow without you. After being without for 10 or more weeks, we know how important you are to our physical, spiritual and mental well being. Together let's try not to allow the face mask, a material irritant, to separate us, but instead to help us open our eyes and really see others. We may be surprised at how much we need one another and how much they need us.

"You may be writing, and the fullness of your heart will come to your hand also. Your heart may speak through your writing. Your heart may speak through your eyes also. You know that when you look at people they must be able to see God in your eyes. If you get distracted and worldly then they will not be able to see God like that. The fullness of our heart is expressed in our eyes, in our touch, in what we write, in what we say, in the way we walk, the way we receive, the way we need. That is the fullness of our heart expressing itself in many different ways." St Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Welcome to the Church

This week has reminded me of how much I love our soon to be new Catholics coming into the store and sharing their excitement of the long awaited entry into Full Communion.  It's an amazing time to be sharing faith stories, and, for all of us, to be receiving the Body of Christ again at Mass inside our churches. It's as if we are all in a kind of celebration stage!
As you can imagine, people often ask us, "What is a good gift for someone coming into the Church?"
One wonderful book that we highly recommend is "Amazing Graces: The Blessings of Sacramentals". Not only does it give the history of our beautiful Sacramentals but it also gives testimony of how people have used Sacramentals to draw closer to Christ. Each chapter concludes with a prayer that ties the use of the Sacramentals to our faith journey.
Rosaries are always a great gift along with gift boxes or pouches to put them in. We have crosses with the RCIA symbols on them or Crucifixes that make wonderful gifts as well. If someone has taken a patron for Confirmation, we have many items specific to the Saints and if unsure, we have the ever popular Four-Way medal which includes a Scapular medal, a miraculous medal, St. Joseph and St. Christopher medals and some (Five Way) include the Holy Spirit on the center. These medals usually have inscribed on the back, "I am a Catholic". We have prayerbooks with nice covers that have simple short prayers for every day and we recommend to inscribe the books with a short note and the date. No matter the gift you choose, let us as always take time to pray for one another. Let us as always take time to listen to one another. Let us always take time to encourage one another in Faith. Everyone has a story and through the work of the Holy Spirit, they are all amazing!
We are open 9-3 Monday - Saturday (please wear a face mask) but you can always browse our website at www.stmarysbookstore.com and we are happy to curbside deliver.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Choosing a First Communion Gift

Whether you choose a First Communion gift that is specific to the Sacrament of Communion or simply what you feel the child would like, every gift can be memorable and special. We want to choose a gift to help a child not only remember their special day but also to further their prayer life and draw them closer each day to Jesus. How can we help?

Every day we are asked by parents and grandparents and friends and neighbors, aunts and uncles and godparents, WHAT is a good present for First Communion?

We highly recommend that parents and grandparents give the more traditionally "personal" gifts, such as, a rosary, a prayer book, a bible or a crucifix. Godparents may want to go with a piece of jewelry such as a cross or a bracelet with a chalice (we offer great masculine bracelets). Aunts and uncles may like to give a rosary box or pouch or a communion frame. Friends and neighbors can choose from many, many books about First Communion or the Mass. We suggest if anyone chooses to give a book, whether specific or general, that they personalize the inside with the date and a message for the child's special day. Other choices, in general, include medals, figurines and books of saints, bookmarks, crosses with communion symbols or a special message, and music boxes.
First Communion Day is a very special time for our children and we are aware that you want to keep the momentum of that day going forever. Let us help you choose something special.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bible Translations

Customers often ask us, "What is the difference between these Bibles? Why are there different translations and which one should I choose?" We first ask, "What are you looking for in a Bible? Do you want to follow the readings at Mass or are you wanting something for study? Would you like a connection to the Catechism, more original language, lots of commentary, no commentary?" 

First let me say, I am certainly no Bible scholar but with the help of the USCCB (Conference of Bishops) and great websites such as Catholic Answers, I can help people choose a good fit for their life with the Scriptures. The first bit of info you need to figure out is whether you want a literal or dynamic translation. Literal translations are great for study because they "stick close to the original (text), even preserving much of the original word order." The most traditional literal translation is the Douay Rheims. Slightly less traditional but one widely used for study is the RSV (Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition). The Ignatius Study Bible is a RSV Translation as well as the Great Adventure Bible, the Navarre Bible and the Didache Bible that includes commentary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (We have others as well from Scepter and Tan).

Because literal translations can be difficult to read, publishers have produced more readable Bibles using dynamic language. The meaning of the text is preserved but translators use better English style and word choices to make the Bible more readable. The NAB (New American Bible) uses dynamic language and the New Jerusalem Bible, Good News and NIV (New International Version) use what's considered very dynamic language. 

The NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) is considered a more literal translation but it uses the 
"'gender inclusive language,' which tries to translate the original text into a modern 'gender neutral' cultural equivalent. When you read the NRSV you will often encounter 'friends,' 'beloved,' and 'brothers and sisters,' and then see a footnote stating 'Gk brothers.' The NRSV also shows a preference for using 'God' and 'Christ' when the original text says 'he.'" (direct quote from Catholic Answers because it is so well explained)

After these differences, we really just give choices of different features within each Bible. Some include maps, pictures, prayers, lots of commentary, cross references, etc. There are journaling versions, lectio (prayer) versions and Catholic answer versions. There are youth editions and children editions. 

We carry many choices because we want people to fall in love with Scripture and we know that our customers are in different places in their journey. As said so beautifully on the CD Lectio Prayer, "Prayer is us talking to God. Scripture is God talking to us." We want to understand what he wants us to hear. We want to "get His message". We need to choose a Bible we can understand and most importantly one we will read. We hope you find this helpful for your journey. You may find that you want more than one translation as you grow in love with His Word. Let us know if we can help!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year

It's been quite a year and like every year before we have had our ups and downs, good times and bad times, joys and sorrows. But unlike years before, I have listened and I have learned and I have discovered something beautiful at St. Mary's Bookstore. Owning and running a small business, a small family business, a small Christian family business can be tough.  It can also be rewarding. No new news there. However, as Nashville has grown by leaps and bounds and we have slowly become one of the smallest buildings on West End (at 4 stories high), we have also become a place for out-of-towners to wander in and shop or simply visit.  I cannot tell you how many times a week we hear, "Wow! We've traveled all over the country and never seen a religious bookstore and gift shop this beautiful." or "Wow! I thought Nashville didn't have a large number of Catholics. What are you doing here?" In the past I'd think, "Well, you have no idea how hard we work to maintain this place" or "Well, we hope we're doing the work of Jesus Christ."  And we hope we are, but here's the kicker! I have come to realize under no uncertain terms how grateful I am to our regular customers. To those of you who come when your children are receiving the sacraments. To those who come to the store just during Easter and Christmas. To those of you who visit more frequently, who find unusual gifts for birthdays or who just want to shop the latest and greatest books. To all of you who support St. Mary's and our families, I want to thank you for maintaining this beautiful place so when out-of-towners visit and say, "Wow! You're diocese is lucky to have such a beautiful place," we can simply say, "thank you, we are blessed." Because it's not about how many churches we drag all our merchandise to or schools we visit with St. Nicholas shops or sacramental goods, or deliveries we make. It's not about long hours or monetary rewards.  It's about you supporting us for all these years and helping us to be a store for the diocese that we can all be proud of.  It's all about your goodness and your kindness and your stories and your suggestions.  This year I've realized that no matter how hard we work, nothing compares to the love and support of all of you.  You make us look good. You are the reason people from out of town say, "We love this place." Our family may be the head but you are the heart and soul of St. Mary's. You are the hands and the feet of Christ. Whether you visit once a year or once a month or once a week, the path you make helps to continue a path that hopefully leads us all a little closer to Jesus Christ. For all of this and so much more, our families thank you and we wish you all a blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 6, 2018


We all know Jesus is the REAL reason for the season. So...while we are picking out toys for children or clothes for adults, why not give a religious gift that reminds us why we celebrate Christmas? Here are some of our gift and stocking stuffer suggestions for every age group!


Pearl Rosaries $25-50
Bible in a Year: Your Daily Encounter with God $29.95
Daily Companion for Women $8.95
SS Miraculous Medals $35-60


4-5 Way SS Medals $35-60
Daily Companion for Men $8.95
Bible in a Year: Your Daily Encounter with God $29.95
Wood Rosaries $12-40


Saint Bracelets $7-14
Tiny Saints $5.50
Fontanini - My First Nativity Set (6pc) $115

More gifts can be found on our website (www.stmarysbookstore.com) or in our store (1909 West End Ave, Nashville, TN)