A Souvenir from the 1925 Holy Year: Hand Soap in a Carrying Case in the Form of a Book
There are tons of gift shops all around St. Peter’s Basilica. In fact, gift shops may be the fourth most popular place at the Vatican. This item is something you would have bought probably at one of the little shops that would have been around in 1925 and was done as a souvenir to commemorate the Holy Year of 1925.
I have several unique souvenirs in this Collection, all of which show the enormous interest by the people visiting Rome during both Holy Years and at other times.
This particular item is hand soap in a carrying case that has been made to look like a book, and it is packed with details. The cover of the “book” depicts an image of a holy door inscribed with the words of Psalm 119: 19—“Aperite mihi portas iustitiae:” Open to me the gates of justice.
At the top of the case Pope Paul V (1605-1621) is noted.
Inside the carrying case, a picture of Pius XI, convener of the Holy Year, is shown.
On the back of the case is an image of a pilgrim who has journeyed to Rome to celebrate the Holy Year. With his staff in hand and a satchel on his arm, he is ready to partake of the many activities of which he can avail himself while there.
Finally, these two images on the front and back covers are replicated on the soap itself.
All of this attention to detail is present in this souvenir of soap which adds to the living history of the papacy. It is truly a unique item to have as part of this collection. —Father Richard Kunst