Hug a New Saint (Mother Teresa in Plush Form)
Website’s sales of cute dolls boom ahead of canonization.
Zachery Brakefield is hoping to expand devotion to Mother Teresa in creative and innovative ways, in the hopes that this modern saint will be a role model to all, especially young children.
Brakefield has been cranking out sales for plush “Sister Teresa dolls” at ABCatholic.com, ever since the announcement of Mother Teresa’s canonization, to be held Sept. 4 in Rome.
Brakefield is the creator and owner of the online store, which focuses on items for the very young. He felt called in 2012 to begin a business for little Catholics, selling DVDs and CDs, which were very popular; he eventually branched out to books and nun dolls.
To help evangelize, his website is not limited to selling products, but also offers a variety of other Catholic resources. The site also hosts coloring contests with free Catholic photo downloads for little ones to submit and win awards, in order to foster a love of the Catholic faith in young hearts.
The popular nun dolls were the idea of his mother, Suzzanne, who loves to sew. She began by making dolls for little girls in their parish, and their popularity quickly grew. Suzzanne originally created a website called Saintly Sisters, which included her two types of dolls, “Sister Softy” and “Sister Teresa,” who is a small replica of the new saint. When Suzzanne could not keep up with both managing the business and sewing the dolls, Zac took the dolls’ website under his wing and joined it to his existing company.
The dolls continue to be best-sellers, especially Sister Teresa: Brakefield says that with the canonization of Mother Teresa, sales have experienced a “tremendous increase.”
Parents love how the doll is a replica of a saint of our time, an easy teaching tool to remind children about the heroic sanctity of Mother Teresa’s life on earth.
Donna Bernskoetter, who recently purchased a Sister Teresa doll, says she has always had a devotion to Mother Teresa and wants to share that with her many grandchildren.
“I am sure they will love it. It is soft and cuddly and has the sweetest face,” she said. “I will be sure to tell my grandchildren who Mother Teresa was and how much she did for the poor and the suffering in the slums of Kolkata. She was an amazing servant of God, and I hope to someday meet her in heaven.”
Another customer, Pam Miller, who volunteers for the Missionaries of Charity in St. Louis, shares similar sentiments.
“I purchased the dolls to hopefully foster an interest in the saints in my grandchildren. It isn’t every day that a saint is proclaimed that is as well known as Mother Teresa. My plan is to give the Sister Teresa dolls to my granddaughters (ages 10 and 3), along with a book for children about Mother Teresa. My hope is that they will be better able to relate to a saint canonized during their lifetime, and then go on to wanting to learn about other saints.”
Liz Beller writes from
Front Royal, Virginia.