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Grandmother Creates Saint Trading Cards

February 1, 1996

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Here come the saints _ the latest in trading cards.

Upset by trading cards that feature serial killers, Joan Petitti decided saints would send a better message to kids.

``I thought to myself: `This is really sick. Why can’t we have better role models than this?‴ she said Wednesday from her home near St. Petersburg. ``I’d hate to have a kid want to collect Jeffrey Dahmer. Why not St. Paul the Apostle?″

The laminated Heavenly Saints cards, which cost about $10 a set, feature 30 lifelike illustrations of the saints and a short description of their lives.

``We wanted them contemporary looking, not floating on clouds,″ said Petitti, a grandmother of 11. ``A child can relate more to someone who looks like us even though he lived 1,000 years ago.″

The box includes longtime favorites and some lesser-known holy men and women: St. Valentine and St. Patrick, along with St. Apollonia, the patron of dentists and St. Moses the Black, patron of black Africans.

More than half of the first 1,000 sets have sold since hitting the market in November, Petitti said. They’re available in a few retail stores and through Ivie & Associates, a Davenport, Iowa, ad agency that helped put the package together.

Petitti is already working on a second set. There are some 2,000 saints, so she has enough to keep her busy.

``The stories are fascinating. When you read as an adult after you’re out of school 40 years, it has new meaning,″ she said.

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