Sacred Hearts are so alluring, charming, and special. What are they and what do they represent?
If you have followed me for any length of time, especially if you follow on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I have a special love for Sacred Heart Ex Voto’s.
Every time I post pictures of these sacred beauties, I will get questions about what they are and what they represent.
So, today I thought I would share a little bit of history about them!
I first discovered Sacred Heart Ex Voto’s about fifteen years ago and became completely enamored with them and what they symbolize.
As a collector, antique religious artifacts have held a special place in my heart and I always have a few unique religious pieces added to my decor.
Sacred Hearts are wonderful to collect, and after reading this post, you may decide that you want to start your own collection!
I’m sure you will become as enamored with them as I am.
Ex votos (from the Latin phrase ex-voto suscepto) means ‘from the vow made’.
For centuries they were, and still are, carried in Europe as devotional objects.
They were to give thanks for granted wishes, prayers, and intentions.
An ex-voto can be a votive offering to a saint or to a divinity in the Christian religion.
The Sacred Heart (also known as the Sacred Heart of Jesus) has one of the deepest meanings in the Roman Catholic practice.
The symbol represents Jesus Christ’s actual heart as His love for all of humanity.
Most often seen in Europe, Sacred Heart ex-votos would be placed in churches or chapels where the worshiper would seek grace or wish to give thanks.
Many times, the churches would include shrines decorated with ex-votos.
Ex-votos can take a wide variety of forms, not just hearts, though they are my favorite.
Many will include inscriptions or symbols explaining a miracle, blessing, or grace received.
Often, Sacred Hearts would be purchased, custom engraved, and given in thanksgiving, dedication, or remembrance.
Ex-votos are very common in Europe and South America.
In Europe, a framed silver heart is often left behind in a church for a favor received or an answered prayer.
Perhaps a loved one has been healed of an illness, maybe the longed for beau finally appeared and marriage plans were on the way, or a child has received a special blessing or miracle.
Authentic antique Sacred Heart ex-votos are hard to find and very expensive depending on the size, inscription, and whether they are jeweled or not.
Thankfully, there are replicas that are easier to find and more affordable.
Not only are Sacred Hearts wonderful to collect, but they also make one of a kind gifts for a special loved one, especially if you tuck a sweet note inside.
Recently, I hung a large salvaged Station of The Cross artifact that I’ve had for years.
It’s one of my favorite religious pieces. The center was missing when I found it, leaving only the plaster frame.
I cut a piece of plywood to fit inside of the opening and covered it in turquoise velvet, giving me an area to begin hanging a collection of Sacred Hearts.
In the center is a special antique Infant Jesus creche figure.
My goal is to fill the surround with Sacred Hearts in different styles and sizes.
I hope you have been inspired by these fascinating Sacred Hearts, and maybe want to start your own collection!