In Place: Inviting Our Lord Into the Everyday with Nell O’Leary

Growing up with a loud Irish Catholic family, we were covered with sacramentals and now my own growing brood is kind of the same!”

All photos courtesy of Nell O’Leary

All photos courtesy of Nell O’Leary

By Noelle Mering

Nell O’Leary is a wife and mother living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, whose time is spent chasing a gaggle of young children, serving as Managing Editor of Blessed Is She, and sewing/writing over at Whole Parenting Family. You can also find her on Instagram.

In every little corner of our home, I love remembrances of the sacred. Growing up with a loud Irish Catholic family, we were covered with sacramentals and now my own growing brood is kind of the same!

My husband Anthony and I have four children, 9, 7, 5, and 2.5. It’s boy-girl-boy-girl and everyone still has a hefty affection for the faith. We moved into our home two years. In that move, we really took stock in the artwork, statutes, and relics, and how to let our new space soak up the Catholicism we so love to imbue into our kids’ everyday life.

This first class relic of St. Therese of Lisieux was a gift to my husband 20 years ago! She goes from room to room in her little reliquary and is venerated quite vigorously.


My husband’s den on the third floor has become a de facto room of prayer containing this altar he and our then four year old crafted. A dear priest friend offered Mass on it while visiting us earlier this year and that was pretty incredible.


In case anyone came into our home and missed the holy water fonts and statues, they’ll know we love our faith when they enter the dining room. These icons are a combination of gifts, purchases on travels, and ones we fell in love with ourselves. The Lady of Perpetual Help is from Greece and quite old. While our kids throw their food on the floor and complain for french fries—I MEAN—eat dinner in here every night, it’s a joy to drown out their wails with stories of Marian apparition or saint stories.


Even in the tiny spaces, the forgotten moments of our house, like here above the laundry shoot, we tucked a little gifted image of the Visitation. It doesn’t have to be overly wrought or impeccably done to bring a little Mary into your day. Note the kid treasures alongside it. And the mug from Carolyn of Brass & Mint Co.!


Our Come Holy Spirit banner from Katrina of Rose Harrington gives me much comfort on days of messy kitchens, lost shoes, and not enough time to do “all the things.” It’s always before my eyes in the room I spend the most time in, and invites me at every new moment to welcome Him in.


Our messy, loving home is a short-term stay of a mere 18 years (God willing) for these children of ours and we pray that it’s a place to root in their faith through beauty and constant exposure, and in love, of course.