By Carrie Gress
I’ve been eager to introduce our readers to Stella Maris & Co. candles for some time. Almost two years ago, I was standing in my kitchen and the thought occurred to me that there is an abundance of soy candles in the market place today, but out of all that I had seen, I’d never seen one that was Catholic. Why wasn’t any one making these? After 2000 years, the Church is full of symbolism, scents, and beauty that could be adapted to elegant candles.
Fascinated by the idea, I initially thought I could easily find a vendor to make some for me. When that didn’t pan out as expected, my husband and I decided to make them ourselves. The funny thing is that I’m the least crafty person I know — I break out in hives when we have to do crafts at home. Gratefully, I have a remarkable husband who is very detail oriented, so he did the production side and I worked on the design elements. We hired a great designer, Meg Florkowski, to do our logo for us. She gave us something far beyond our imagining. After researching fragrances and developing some of our own, we finally had a finished product late last December featuring three candles: No. 1 Guadalupe, No. 2 Baptism, and No. 3 Victory (for Our Lady of Victory).
Two things kept me motivated to get these candles on the market: first I wanted these for my own home. I wanted candles that could be blessed and help us focus on prayer. I also wanted them to be as clean as possible, with 100 percent soy, and a phthalate-free fragrance.
But I also wanted to make these candles available to others, for their homes, and to give as gifts. Candles, I learned, can be blessed and help exorcise demons out of homes - who wouldn’t want that? Buying a beautiful candle, getting it blessed, and passing it along to a teacher, coworker, or friend - particularly those who aren’t Catholic, is a fantastic tool for evangelization. And unlike a book, these candles are a non-rational approach to the faith because they engage a soul at a different level. They are beautiful, they smell amazing, and they are truly meaningful.
Everywhere I’ve taken these candles, they have sold out. It has been really amazing to see that what I love about them is valued by so many others. They have remained a bit of a hidden secret because we simply haven’t have enough on hand to sell. Our friend, David Clayton, graciously wrote this article about our candles back in January, emphasizing their appeal for prayer in the domestic church, but otherwise, we have kept them under wraps, until now.
We have just a few candles left for this season, but will be back in the fall! (Summer and mailing candles are not a good mix.)