Saint Mutien Marie Prayer Bullet (Baller de Prière)
Item no. 1204A
Trésor Bleu Exclusive
France c.1917 (World War I) - Authentic Antique
We love that our trésors have years of wear, years of prayer. If only these "ballers de prièr" - prayer bullets - could talk. French soldiers in World War I created these artifacts by hand, by literally using empty ammunition (bullet) casings to create sacred pieces of art, due to them being so malleable and plentiful during WWI. Once crafted, they would add a saint, or Mary, and take them with them as a portable prayer tool.
This iconic, unique piece was created by a soldier in France and the bullet is believed to be a German shell, as they made controversial rounded-end ammunition (9mm) in 1916. This particular piece has a small statuette of Mary inside, which may or may not be original. The carving on the exterior is exquisite. It features an image of Saint Mutien Marie, who was canonized by John Paul II, in 1989. So at the time this rare item was created, he was not yet a saint. Mutien Marie was a Christian Brother praised as a model teacher. He was born the son of a blacksmith in Mellet, Belgium, in 1841. Entering the Christian Brothers, he changed his baptismal name, Louis, to Mutien. In 1859 he was assigned to St. Bertuins School in Maloone, where he taught for fifty-eight years. Mutien specialized in art and music.
This "Baller de Prière" makes a perfect travel piece, or journey-through-life piece.