By Mike Staugaitis

KULPMONT - The Saint Pauline Center now has another outlet for people to get to know the relatively new saint.

The Saint Pauline Religious Store opened this week at 658 Chestnut St. (Route 61), about five blocks east of the center. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

"It is to expand our mission of St. Pauline and give her exposure," said Bob Greco, financial secretary and board member of the Saint Pauline Foundation. "We want to make people more aware of the center itself."

Store manager JoAnn Sassani and others who will man the business are all volunteers.

The shop sells various St. Pauline items, including statues, candles, rosaries, prayer cards, medals, key chains, shirts and tie pins.

Some featured items are original artworks painted by Mount Carmel artist Mark Sassani. He has also refurbished and repainted many small statues for sale at the store.

Other religious items, including holy cards, statues and jewelry, are also sold at The Saint Pauline Religious Store.

Diabetic food items will be sold at the store also. The St. Pauline Center runs a day camp every year for diabetic children. Mother Pauline is the patron saint of diabetics.

Money raised through the store will help offset the cost of operating the center, which attracts visitors from throughout Pennsylvania and other states.

"It costs a lot to keep the center open every day, and we have all these items," JoAnn Sassani said. "We wanted a place that is more convenient to the customer."

The store is starting out small so the foundation can learn what customers need and want.

"Our communities have so much Christianity, and we think there is a need for a shop like this," Greco said. "We are privileged to be a part of it."

Born Dec. 16, 1865, Mother Pauline founded the Congregation of The Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil. She was canonized in Rome by Pope John Paul II on May 19, 2002.