For everyone who has ever wondered, "How can I complete my Christmas shopping and encourage vocations at the same time?" the answer is finally here. Catholic toy company Wee Believers® now offers "plush, huggable 13-inch dolls" in the form of characters named Sr. Mary Clara and Fr. Juan Pablo that are "designed to give little boys and little girls an inside look into the lives of real priests and Religious Sisters." According to a press release:
"Wee Believers® has developed an entire line of characters which center around a Catholic family of dolls who reside in an animated town named Mercyville. In this town, Fr. Juan Pablo is the parish priest and Sr. Mary Clara is a consecrated Religious Sister who serves as a sacristan and teaches in the parish school. As the toy line develops through new product releases, children will be able to interact with the characters through a variety of mediums including online games and activities, additional soft-sculpture manipulatives and animated videos.
Each Wee Believers® product is accompanied by a signature companion booklet, written to compliment the particular toy with relevant and educational material. The Sr. Mary Clara and Fr. Juan Pablo dolls, sold separately, are accompanied by a booklet featuring the real-life vocation stories of five priests and five Religious Sisters.
“Our hope is that by playing with the Vocation Dolls™, children will grow in virtue with a deeper understanding of their Catholic faith,” says Steve Abdalla, co-founder of Wee Believers®. “We pray that the Holy Spirit will use these dolls to call more men and women to the consecrated religious life.”
The company also suggests their plush Mass kit (which includes a Crucifix, Chalice, Thurible, Finger Bowl, 2 Cruets, 2 Candles, Paten, Corporal & Purificator, and play Hosts) is a particularly appropriate gift for boys during the Year for Priests.
I actually have many fond memories of "playing Mass" as a kid. Of course, at the time, my own "kit" was not quite so well-coordinated and included an overturned cardboard box for an altar, vestments that strongly resembled old bedsheets with a hole cut in the middle, a salad-dressing cruet filled with cranberry juice, and "hosts" cut from flattened white bread and made into perfect circles with a melon baller. Much to my mother's relief, I never figured out how to create a homemade thurible.