Valeria's leather braceletThis is a leather bracelet on which is engraved the Our Father prayer, in Italian. It is less than an inch wide, very smooth on the outside but a little rough on the inside; sometimes it hurts my skin when I wear it for too long. I photographed it in my room at Quest University Canada, British Columbia. I bought this bracelet at the airport, one time I was traveling alone to Vancouver from my parents’ home in Italy. I was sad and worried about leaving to go back to university, but when I saw the bracelet and put it on, I felt reassured. I felt that, by wearing the bracelet, I could carry this prayer with me, and remind myself that these words have always accompanied me in my spiritual journey. Ever since then, I wear this bracelet every time I leave the house, and especially when I am going to meet other people. I believe that it guides my intentions, that it gives me spiritual strength, and that it grounds my actions in a desire for service. Every time I get upset, I look at it and murmur the prayer to myself. My favorite thing about this bracelet is that most people do not realize that it is a “Christian” or “religious” object at all, because they cannot read what is written on it. This means that, although I carry a tangible sign of my religion anywhere I go, my faith is at the same time completely private. Like the Spirit, who is invisible and yet always present, so is the faith that underlies my living in the world.

Contributor Biography: Valeria Vergani

I am Valeria Vergani, a student of religious studies and cultural anthropology at Quest University Canada in Squamish, BC. I was born and raised in Verona, Italy. I am passionate about religion and its complexities. My studies revolve around the relationship between higher education and secularism in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, where I spent the spring of 2015.