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Scholars have documented a near universal custom of offering small trinkets to either solicit favors or to give thanks for favors received. The custom goes by various names in various languages, and the items have been offered to pagan deities and Christian saints. One could leave an item behind when asking for a favor, and some ex-votos have been used for that purpose, to 'remind' a deity or a saint to fulfill a request. However, a more common practice, especially in the Christian world, has been to leave a trinket after a miracle has taken place, in thanksgiving for and testimony to the received miracle. The practice of leaving behind ex-votos  bares a belief in supernatural agents that intervene and assist in this world, who can be petitioned through objects, and who appreciate the tokens of thanks we offer them. Writing by Sean di Renzo

Eye ex-voto
Ex-votos in the shape of eyes may indicate vision problems, blindness or even references to the all-seeing God. Interestingly, “in the folk culture of southern Italy, eyes are the body's primary organ, powerful and at the same time delicate.”

FRANCIS, Doris, ed. Faith and Transformation: Votive Offerings and Amulets from the Alexander Girard Collection.  Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 2007.

Heart ex-voto
This heart shaped ex-voto dates from 1880 and was housed in a French monastery.  This ex-voto is made of bronze and opens to insert one’s handwritten prayers.

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