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10/4/2012 12:10:00 PM
Amsterdam estate sale includes Kateri items
A JOE TODAK PAINTING. The sale will be held Oct. 15, 20 and 27, with the Blessed Kateri items offered Oct. 20. For information, seehttp://estatesales.org/amsterdam-ny-estate-sales/constantinonoteworthy-co-estate-sale-amsterdam-ny-214813.
A JOE TODAK PAINTING. The sale will be held Oct. 15, 20 and 27, with the Blessed Kateri items offered Oct. 20. For information, see

An upcoming Amsterdam estate sale will offer an eclectic Catholic collection that showcases its owner's aim of spreading Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha's story.

Tom Constantino, a parishioner of St. Mary's in Amsterdam who died in 1989, used his promotional product company to advance Blessed Kateri's sainthood cause for two decades, reproducing hundreds of thousands of paintings, cards and coloring books and collecting statues and other items. He often donated the memorabilia or sold it at a low cost.

"It wasn't something we made money on," said his wife, Carol Constantino, who recently sold their Amsterdam home and moved to Florida. Her sons run their father's Amsterdam company, Noteworthy, but recently downsized some of its 800,000-square-foot space.

"It was just an opportunity to get Kateri's name known," Mrs. Constantino said of her late husband's collection. "He always felt that Kateri was very, very special, and he always felt that she was creating the miracles that people couldn't document."

In the 1970s, the couple befriended the priests and directors at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville, Blessed Kateri's birthplace. The 17th-century Mohawk maiden's story so swayed Mr. Constantino that he connected with vice postulators for her cause in the U.S. and Canada, printing promotional materials for them and even accompanying them to Rome and the International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia.

In 1986, he sponsored Native American pilgrims and attended the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy, where he was in the presence of Blessed Pope John Paul II and more than 150 other religious leaders.

Mr. Constantino commissioned artist John Steele to produce a portrait of Blessed Kateri and sculptor Frederick Shrady to produce a bronze statue of Blessed Kateri kneeling. The latter was never made in volume, but four 10-inch tall prototypes will be available at the estate sale for $3,000 apiece.

Also available at the sale is a duplicate of Mr. Shrady's 12-foot marble statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the original of which sits in the Vatican Gardens.

The sale will feature other statues of Blessed Kateri in addition to dozens of crucifixes, crèches and Christmas decorations. Noteworty ran a community Christmas event in an old Amsterdam church for many years.

Mr. Constantino's other favorite collectibles were donkeys, "beasts of burden" that represent the Old World and service to Christ and man. Mrs. Constantino has kept all 700 of those.

She's elated at the news of Blessed Kateri's sainthood.

"I can't tell you how my husband must be jumping up for joy," she told The Evangelist. "The word that comes to mind for me is 'commencement' - it's not the end of something, but the beginning. I can't think of a greater tribute and sense of well-being for my husband, that something he worked so hard on has come to fruition."

In selling the items, Mrs. Constantino hopes to continue broadening devotions to the new saint.

"It's a crime when we hoard things and they go into storage and never see the light of day," she said. "For me, it's fulfilling to know that things will go to hands where people will have an interest and revere them."

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