The Agnus Dei keepsakes were small disks of wax that were created by melting the previous year’s Easter candles of Rome’s churches. This took place at the beginning of Lent each year. They were put in a large cauldron and melted. Chrism oil was also added.
From them small disks of wax were created with a picture of the Lamb of God on them. Sometimes a saint was put on the other side of the disk. Often the pope’s name and his coat of arms were included as well as the year.
The pope then blessed them. They were given as sacramentals to pilgrims to Rome. Pilgrims experienced a connection to the paschal candle, to the chrism oil and to the pope himself.
This practice ended with the pontificate of Blessed John XXIII (1958 –1963).