Rosa Mystica: Reproducing Antique Medals
Medals Like They Used to Make Them
By Carrie Gress
One of the difficulties in finding beautiful Catholic items is that workmanship isn't what it used to be. Sometimes it isn't even about money, but about what can actually be found on the market. Rosaries have come a long way in recent years, and it seems that other sacramentals are following.
While recently searching for information about St. Cecilia, I ran across something completely unexpected. Amid books and articles about the illustrious saint, a beautiful St. Cecilia medal popped up.
The medal led me be back to the Rosa Mystica website. Created by Susan and John Monroe, the Atlanta-based company reproduces a myriad of antique medals, from Sts. Agata to Yves, with many more in between.
Casting medals since 2010, Susan explained to me how they got started in the reproduction business. "I began by selling antique medals, but was always so sad when I had to sell a particularly beautiful one because I would never see it again!"
"I really had a desire to share the beauty of these medals with more people, so I started researching how they could be reproduced. I started by casting them all myself in silver clay and firing them in a little kiln in my sunroom, but we've grown beyond that now and they're all made using the lost wax casting process using sterling silver."
The recent empty-nesters (with three grown children), John and Susan were able to make their work a full time occupation last August after a lot of planning and prayer, casting medals in both sterling silver and bronze.
The number one selling medal is a little surprising, Susan told me. It is consistently St. Joan of Arc. "I think many women relate to her need for strength and ability to get a long in a turbulent world," Susan added. "St. Jerome, the patron of librarians and archivists, is also very popular. I never knew there were so many librarians out there!"
"We have a beautiful Miraculous Medal that's very popular, and St. Michael, patron of police, is always up there as well. Mary Magdalene, patron of repentant sinners; St. Christopher, patron of travelers; and St. Sebastian, patron of sports are also always in demand."
When asked about her favorite medal, Susan says, "It's really hard for me to pick a favorite medal because I truly love them all, but one that's really special to me is St. Philomena. It's a medal I've had for a long time and really kicked off my desire to be able to reproduce them because it's so beautiful. I simply couldn't sell it, and now I'm so glad I didn't!"
Of course, I had to order a few of these myself. Between the quality, reasonable pricing, and great customer service, I suspect they will be a go-to for gift giving for years to come.
All photos courtesy of Rosa Mystica.