Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic Dictionary

Term

SHELL

Definition

An emblem of baptism since the twelfth century. Once pouring water was the accepted mode for baptizing, the shell became a handy accesory. Also a symbol for the pilgrim, explaining probably why the shell is an emblem of St. James the Apostle, whose shrine is a famed place of pilgrimage. It is also the emblem for St. Augustine, who had a vision of a child (believed to be Christ) who told him that he could sooner empty the ocean with a shell than understand the Trinity. The shell is likewise one of the numerous symbols of the Blessed Virgin Mary.