I am so pleased and honored to be welcoming you, for the first time, to Put On Christ’s® Online Store on this beautiful sunny Philadelphia day, in the shadow the very place where our Holy Father, Pope Francis, will celebrate mass in just a few days! In addition to our online launch, we are also launching today at World Meeting Of Families! Come visit us this week if you are in the Philadelphia area!
I am so excited to share with you how my company came to be and how we are “Making Faith Fashionable®!” Before I get to that, I would FIRST like you to know that whether you are tuning in simply to read my blogs or whether you a going to be an avid customer, I want you to know that every one of you will be in my daily prayers…I promise! While Put On Christ® is a fine line of Christian-logo’d sportwear and accessories, our mission extends to helping you and me put Christ in our daily living.
Life is a journey, albeit amazing and complex, it IS a journey. Along the journey, sometimes we experience an indelible moment: a birth; a death; or a significant historical event, like 911. At other times, we journey slowly, taking small steps that turn into bigger ones that lead us closer to an inner peace within ourselves. While indelible moments have had a profound effect on me, it is those little steps that collectively became the bigger ones, which turned into a major leap of faith to create Put On Christ®.
I grew up in a small neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My grandparents, along with my entire neighborhood, came from the same section of Italy, the mountains of Salerno. They brought little with them in terms of physical belongings, but the one thing they brought along, that didn’t need a suitcase, was their amazing faith in our one true God, and an intense devotion to the Blessed Mother. As a kid, I always had a Blessed Mother medal around my neck. We paraded the Blessed Mother around a little pocket of Pittsburgh on her various feast days too. As a young child, I didn’t totally understand why she was so important, but I revered and honored her anyway. It was a beautiful childhood, growing up Italian and Catholic and my devotion to her increased as I got older.
The beauty of the Blessed Mother is that she eventually led me to her Son. Two years after my husband and I got married, we became pregnant with our first child. In the fall of 1996, during a routine office visit at 37 ½ weeks gestation, it was discovered that the baby I was carrying had no heart tones and would need to be delivered stillborn. The aftermath of this devastating and indelible moment gave me one singular option…to hold tight to the faith that got me this far. We named her Mary. She was born in the still of the night, just after midnight on November 1, 1996, All Saints Day. It was an answered prayer for me, as I reluctantly got into the hospital bed on that sunny Halloween afternoon, concerned that the baby would be born on Halloween. God is soooo good.
The days following the funeral sharply personified the imperfections of humanity. The struggles, the tears, and the eventual acceptance was all something that I had not bargained for. I started going to daily mass. One day on my way to mass, I was at a traffic light, turning into the church and I was wondering where Baby Mary was and if she was ok. At that moment, I felt someone say to me, “I have your daughter, now I want you to get to know my Son.” From that day on, I took small steps in getting to know Jesus. The bigger steps included spending the summer in Italy in 2011, to visit our Italian relatives and to tour a magnificent country so steeped in early Christianity. Upon returning home I thought, “how could anyone, after a trip to Italy, ever deny the fact that God sent His only Son into the world to save us?”
To this point in my journey, I am still wearing a Blessed Mother medal around my neck from childhood. After returning home from Italy, my friend gave me a pair of crucifix earrings. They were beautiful, but for some reason, I didn’t feel worthy to wear anything that signified Christ. For over a year, those earrings sat on a jewelry tray on my dresser. I passed them every day on the way to my bedroom closet. One day, in 2012, I was rushing out the door with our children for a school event. I noticed that I didn’t have earrings on, so I rushed back into the house and grabbed the first ones I saw…the crucifix earrings…and I “put” them on. At that moment, these words came to me, “you are putting on Christ.”
That day marked the beginning of Put On Christ® Apparel and Accessories. After putting on those earrings, I could not stop thinking about how amazing it would be to put Christ in our everyday living, in a very relevant way. At that time, a new segment of the clothing industry was coined the “athleisure” market. Many new styles and fabrics were developed for, not only the hard core exerciser, but for people who just wanted the casual look that the athleisure style affords…comfortable, versatile pieces for daily life. I combined this popular concept with the notion of helping people grow closer to Christ in some small way. Our sportswear does just that. With our first line launching today…Modest Women’s Sportswear, each piece is marked with our exclusive Put On Christ® logo. Each item in our line is named after a Saint because each of the Saints found a way to holiness through their ability to “put on Christ” daily in their lives. An inspirational keepsake card, depicting a Saint, accompanies every garment or accessory. We hope to launch a men’s wear and a children’s line sometime in the future!
And now it’s time for the LIGHTS, CAMERA, HASHTAGS AND ACTION to come up on Put On Christ® Apparel and Accessories! I am so pleased to welcome you to our company.
Until my next post…
Blessings and peace to you always,