15 Mar

What is the meaning behind the James D. Rielly Foundation logo?

James D. Rielly Foundation

The “mark” in the James D. Rielly Foundation logo is a four leaf clover. According to Irish folklore, the four leaves of the clover represent: hope, faith, love, and luck.

James D. Rielly Foundation mark

The clover represents the immense pride Jim Rielly had for his Irish heritage. Jim would often jokingly refer to himself as the Visible President of the Leprechauns.

The shade of green in the clover is the same green in the flag of Ireland.

Each leaf in the clover is in the shape of a heart. The single red leaf (or heart) represents the love Jim Rielly had for his country, the community, and the less fortunate.

The red also symbolizes Jim Rielly’s role as Santa Claus and his love for all children.

heart

Lastly, the single red leaf among the three green leaves, represents Michael Rielly’s Italian and Irish heritage and the continuing of his grandfather’s legacy as Santa Claus.

11 Mar

The Gift This of Santa: Himself

As we continue to go through our archives of past news articles on Jim Rielly, we will post them here. Yesterday, we came across this article from a December 1957 issue of the Providence Journal-Bulletin.

Providence Journal-Bulletin

The Real Santa in Bristol County is (ssshhhh) James D. Rielly

To become Santa Claus takes more than a white beard, red suit and sack full of gifts; the real Santa Chars must have an honest love for his fellow men. In Bristol you will find a real Santa Claus.

About 30 years ago, James D. Rielly stuffed his first pair of red trousers with the pillows to acquire the portliness of Santa. Time and appetite have eliminated the need for pillows, but the month of December still finds Mr. Rielly standing in red trousers.

Mr. Rielly buys very few of the gifts he passes out during the Christmas season. The real Santa Claus depends on others to provide the gift-wrapped parcels that are found beneath the Christmas tree. All Jim Rielly provides is that unnamed thing that helps an oldtimer recall a warm and happy memory of times past, or the nervous smile of delight that floods a youngster’s face when confronted by Santa Claus.

This is what the real Santa Claus gives at Christmas-time. Jim Rielly gives of himself at Christmas. The sack slung over his shoulder is always overflowing with good cheer. Whether he is stopping at a lonely lighthouse or at a party for shut-ins or at a children’s party, his eyes twinkle brightly as he peers over the tops of his silver rimmed spectacles.

His suit was tailored by a friend; his boots, spectacles and even the fur trim that edges his jacket were gifts. His beard was a Christmas present from his wife.

When asked why, Jim Rielly will tell you he becomes Santa Claus at Christmastime because it is the best thing he can give. You won’t find Jim Rielly enthroned in a department store, but you will find a Jim Rielly in the true spirit of Christmas.

For Jim Rielly gives the best thing he can at Christmas. He gives himself.

What are your memories of Jim Rielly? Please share them. We would love to hear from you!

01 Mar

Found: A 700-Year-Old Ring Adorned With St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas ring
During the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for wearers to don multiple rings, each signaling a different aspect of identity, from social class to political affiliation.

Last month, Dekel Ben-Shitrit, a 26-year-old gardener, found a 700-year-old bronze ring bearing an engraved image of St. Nicholas. The ring was studied by Dr. Yana Tchekhanovetz, an expert in Byzantine history at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“This special ring is amazingly well preserved and will contribute a great deal to science,” she explained, in a statement. “On the ring is the image of a bald man with a staff next to him. On preliminary examination, this seems to be St. Nicholas holding a bishop’s crook – his hallmark.”

Christian pilgrims to the Land of Israel from all over the Byzantine Empire (Turkey, the Balkans, Greece and present-day Russia) would carry his icon to protect them from harm. It is probable that the ring belonged to a pilgrim who sought the protection of St. Nicholas on his travels.