Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live with a Franciscan focus.
(And one of these days I'll fix the template and add a Search feature. :-P)

17 November 2006

Quest for custom holy cards 

This year, my Secular Franciscan fraternity is giving Christmas cards to 500 guests at a local Franciscan-run soup kitchen/homeless shelter. Inside the cards, we're inserting $1 gift cards for a fast-food chain that offers $1 value menu items (not to worry, the shelter staff assured us that the guests would have enough spare change on hand to make up any tax differences).

Also, because it's important to feed the soul as well as the body, we're including customized holy cards that tell the guests they're being remembered in our daily prayers and monthly Mass intentions. After all, the ultimate goal is to Get To Heaven. We can't just feed people's bodies and stop there. "What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" (Matthew 16:26)

And 'cause these holy cards are for homeless folks, we want the cards laminated, since who knows what kind of conditions the recipients will be subjected to. Last thing we want is for their cards to get crumpled, soggy, ripped, etc. So, I was searchin' and searchin' online for a place to buy reasonably-priced, laminated, customizable holy cards with a St. Francis image on the front. However, all the nice-looking ones I found cost waaaay too much, and the cheaper ones looked totally cheesy and weren't laminated.

Then I got an idea: Why not call a funeral home? Ya always see such lovely, customized holy cards at wakes, and maybe we could buy something from them. Since there's a funeral home a few blocks near where my fraternity gathers each month, I called that place first. Dana, the woman I spoke with, said they'd be happy to produce 500 cards for us (yay!), but the cost would be $1 per card, for a total of $500 (eep)! Obviously, that's way more than we can afford, so I asked if they had any sort of quantity discount. Dana said she'd check and let me know.

Now get this: When Dana first called back, she said she'd try to get our cards produced for FREE. I never asked for that, it was entirely her initiative!

While producing them for free ultimately didn't work out (too expensive for them to do), they instead gave us 50% off (.50¢ per card). That worked out to $250 total, and no tax, no nuthin' ... and it includes lamination -- something the cheapola cards all lacked. For example, the cheapest of the not-quite-so-icky cards I found elsewhere would've worked out to $122.75, not including shipping/tax.

Another benefit: They have a same-day turnaround (!!) time, provided you get your order in before 2 p.m., otherwise it's the next day. All the online places had at least 3-4 weeks for their production/shipping.

Based on price and the fast turnaround, that was quite a deal, so after discussing things with my fraternity's minister (our term for "superior" or "president"), we decided to order an extra 50 cards to have on hand, especially since we're hoping to sponsor a Franciscan (OFM Conv.) seminarian, and we'd like to give him one.

I met with Dana yesterday to place our order, and they had 2 Francis designs to choose from, one of which was lined in silver. Beautiful! I picked that one, and had them put the following text on the back:

Know that you are in
our daily prayers
and monthly Mass intentions.

Peace and all good!

[My fraternity's name],
[Fraternity city & state]

Secular Franciscan Order

[cross dingbat]

The Lord bless you and keep you.
May He show His face to you and have mercy.
May He turn His countenance to you
and give you peace.
The Lord bless you!
~ St. Francis of Assisi

Another cool bit: When I asked Dana to increase our order from 500 to 550, she refused to charge us the additional $25! (Which basically knocked the price per card down to about .45¢.)

I'll post an update on how the cards turned out after I pick 'em up tonight -- Dana said they're in and look great. :-)

I tell ya, it was a truly heartwarming experience all around.

Update: I picked up the cards, and they look splendid! They were also packaged in a very convenient way -- shrink-wrapped in one bundle.



Blogger Mel said...

Way to take initiative!

28 November, 2006 12:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad everything worked out so well. And what an inspiration, to hit on the funeral home idea. I see God's hand at work here.


29 October, 2007 13:53  
Blogger Lisa, ofs said...

Thanks, Mike! Yeah, last year (which is when I first posted 'bout this project) was our first-ever attempt at doing anything like this. Thanks to the splendid funeral home folks, the project was quite successful!

So, since Christmas is fast approaching (eep!), it was time to call 'em again for this year's (2007) project. Because of the super-fast turnaround, we'll have this part of our project taken care of WELL in advance.

Now we just have to get everyone to buy Christmas cards for donating to this project ... :-D

29 October, 2007 13:59  

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