My story begins.................

 

Before I share the story of how Holy Reflections website came to be I would like to share with you some details about myself. I am the youngest child of a blended family of four children. I have two brothers and one sister. I descend from a long line of Catholics on my Mother’s side of the family. My Mother is a devout Catholic who has a profound love for God, a strong faith, and a special devotion to prayer. Her passion for God and prayer has been an invaluable influence on my spirituality. {Enthusiasm for God breeds enthusiasm for God.} Prior to my mother getting married and having children she entered the Convent at the age of fifteen. During her stay she received a holy card from a Nun on her 16th birthday of the Infant Jesus holding His Sacred Heart up with the words "See O See How I Love Thee". {The image on this holy card from 1954 would one day inspire my special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.} After a year and a half she decided she missed her family and left the convent before she could take the vows to become a Sister.

Looking back I can now see how early on God was paving the way for Holy Reflections website. It all started in 1997 when I began working as a receptionist for a company in Louisiana. The employer I worked for gave me a computer to use and this was the first time I had ever used one. Unfortunately for me, none of the secretaries in the office had time to show me how to use it. So I decided to teach myself how to use the computer by playing around on it a little each day after all my receptionist duties were done. After a while, my supervisors took notice and when they realized how good I had become at it they began to give me more jobs that required the use of one. One job in particular that had been assigned to me was to design laminated cards that were small enough to fit in an employee’s wallet with the company’s logo and values on them. This job assignment gave me the idea for making my own prayer cards. The first prayer cards I made were rather plain. They had only text and no images on them. I would build them on the computer and print them out. My Mother would then cut out the prayer cards and laminate them with self-laminating sheets. After that she would put them on a table in the Vestibule for others to take home after the Mass.

 

Almost five years later I would go on to meet my future husband who turned out to be a computer expert. {My husband has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and he is currently working on his Master’s Degree.} I ask you, coincidence or God’s providence? {Prior to meeting him I had never even been on the Internet.} A little over a year and a half after our first date we were married and moved away for his job. This was the first time I had ever lived away from my family and the first time since my high school graduation that I had not been employed. It was an extremely lonesome time for me. It was also the start of my deep conversion. As my love of God deepened I began praying more and more. My new devotion to prayer inspired me to begin making my prayer cards again. However, this time I would be adding images I found off the Internet. I would cut them out and then take them to an office supply company to be professionally laminated. And just like my Mother had done years earlier I would then put them on a table in our church’s Vestibule. To my astonishment they would be all gone after the Mass. Word spread quickly that I was the one making them and people at church were soon requesting me to make more.

 

One night while searching the Internet for new religious images I came across a website that sold digitized images of antique and vintage holy cards. They were so beautiful and I wanted to buy them all but I soon realized that on my budget I couldn’t afford them. That same night I told God if I had my own collection of antique holy cards I would share them with the world for free. Six months later my husband got a job promotion and a pay increase. With his new salary we were now able to afford little extras like antique holy cards. The first old holy card I purchased was at an antique store in Texas for $3.50. It was inscribed with the words "Ecce Ancilla Domini" which in Latin means, "Behold the Handmaiden of the Lord". I remember feeling like a rich person that entire day. I then purchased five more at another antique store down the street from the first one. After that I had a difficult time finding them. In my desperation I made a trip to Dallas to locate more. I had spent all day searching and was close to giving up when I met a man at the last antique store on my list. He suggested I try Ebay. I had never been on Ebay and I was a little apprehensive at first. But I eventually went for it and was completely overwhelmed with the amount of old holy cards I found on there. The best way I can think to describe my excitement is like a child on Christmas morning. As my collection grew I wanted to share it with my Mother. And since she lived many hours away I had no idea how I would do this. One day I expressed my desire to share my collection with my Mother to my husband and his answer was to create a website to display them on. I have to admit that at first I thought a website was totally ridiculous. "How was I going to create a website?" I asked. "I don’t even know what to put on one." I said. We talked about it for three months and with my husband’s encouragement I finally said yes. On November 14, 2005 Holy Reflections website went live. By saying yes to God’s Will I have received many blessings.

 

I truly believe this is my life’s vocation….to encourage others to pray and to love God with all their hearts. This website has strengthened my faith and increased my love for God as well. My collection of antique and vintage holy cards has been such a comfort to me and my prayer is that they give you just as much comfort.

 

May the Good Lord and His Sweet Mother bless you!

 

Semper Fidelis ut Deus

{Always Faithful to God},

M. Lee Clayton-Bozeman

The holy card on the left is my Mother's. It was given to her by a Nun in 1954.

My Mother

My Mother

Photos of my Mother's 1954 Convent Days

The holy card on the right is the first one I purchased.

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