Silk Cassock Sash or Silk Fascia of Pope Pius IX
One of my favorite lines is that clothing items of popes are hard to get because popes don’t have rummage sales!
This is a very significant item, a silk fascia worn by Pius IX–the Pope who defined Papal Infallibility, called the First Vatican Council, and defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It is a beautiful silk item with embroidered cross keys and tiara on each end and the initials, P. IX.
Pius IX was a very significant pope who was beatified by Pope John Paul II. This is the actual fascia that he wore on his cassock.
A fascia is an item of clothing worn around the waist like a belt, with part of the fabric tied at the side and hanging midway down the leg. Any priest wearing a cassock wears a fascia with it. For priests, the fascia is black, but for popes, it is white, while for cardinals and bishops, it is either red or purple, indicating rank.
What makes this so significant is that it is the only fascia of a Pope that Father knows of that is in private hands. So it is very significant and extremely rare because most items belonging to popes are cut into very small pieces to be used for relics.
This item came in a very large cabinet, with several items of clothing from Pius IX and Leo XIII. It came from France, and in order to preserve the contents more carefully, and because I knew this was bad for preservation purposed, I took the cabinet apart. Apparently, the cabinet did a good enough job to keep this fascia in such perfect condition.
Preserving artifacts entails proper conditions, like a climate-controlled facility. High levels of light, fluctuations in temperature and humidity increase the rate of decomposition. Because of this, they are stored in boxes containing non-acidic paper with all museum quality conditions. –Father Richard Kunst
Please visit Papal History/Pius IX for more information about him:
Wikipedia states that Pius IX was a patron of the arts, supporting theatres and exempting them from papal censorship, and supporting art, architecture, painting, sculpture, music, goldsmiths, coppersmiths and more. While his efforts were geared to churches in Rome, he also renovated and improved many in the Papal States. Several major discoveries occurred during his papacy because of excavations at Roman sites. Huge sums were also spent in the discovery of Christian catacombs.
The loss of temporal powers resulted in a church defined by stronger spiritual authority. In this increased central authority Pius accessed his bishops more easily due to modern transportation. Gallicanism and Josephinism disappeared. Canonizations and beatifications increased. In 1875 he consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart. As materialism grew in the world the papacy’s offer of religion and spirituality as an alternative was also growing. The pastoral role of the papacy was solidified.
When Pius IX died in 1878, he was buried temporarily in the Vatican basilica. Three years later his remains were removed to St. Lawrence Outside-the-Walls. An anti-clerical protest was organized with an attempt to throw his body into the Tiber River. Catholic priests and laymen who surrounded his bier were pelted with stones and insults. Pius IX requested no funeral monument and was buried in an ark of bare stone.
Pope Pius IX, along with Pope John XXIII, Archbishop Tommaso Reggio, Father William Chaminade, and Abbot Columba Marmion, was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Sept. 3, 2000.