Updated: 03/31/2014 1:15 PM
Created: 11/13/2012 4:21 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
Caskets take on a new function in Duluth and Grand Marais. The Duluth Casket Shop sells eco-friendly caskets made with wood from area sawmills, but owner Jude Collins said a new design is expanding the use of a casket.
Collins was approached by a friend, Father William Graham, about making a casket that can be used as a bookcase until it's put in the ground. Graham works at St. Scholastica and said he wanted the "casket-turned-bookcase" to remind him of death in his daily life.
"Saint Benedict, and his rule for monastery, has 73 instruments of good work," Graham said. "Number 47 is 'keep death daily before your eyes'. So, this is a reminder that we will all die."
Graham said death should not be feared, but at the forefront of your mind. He said this mentality may change how you conduct yourself in daily life.
"It lets us know that we have limited number of days," Graham said. "These days are precious and there are things to do: work to do, prays to say, hymns to sing."
While Graham has come to terms with death, some might think using a casket for a bookshelf is eerie. Graham and Collins disagree.
"It doesn't scare me," Graham said. "You're going to be in one too. It's a good thing for us to consider that because it helps us live better day to day a think."
"I haven't met anybody whose gotten out alive yet," Collins said. "Sometimes, in life, we just have to take the bull by the horns and do it."
Up in Grand Marais, a group takes a more hands-on approach to this idea. The North House Folk School holds a casket-building class.
"It's a course we like to joke about," Director Greg Wright said. "Everybody does. Build your own casket; bury yourself in your work."
During the class, they teach people how to build a basic casket that can be used earlier in life as a coffee table or bookshelf.
"There is a lot of people who are rather inquisitive about it," Instructor Randy Schnobrich said. "(They say) what's it like? Doesn't it sound kind of morbid?"
While Schnobrich knows it may seem odd to many people, he has had wonderful experiences teaching the class. Both Schnobrich and Wright agreed people could learn a lot from death.
"If we all lived that way a little bit more with that clarity, as soon as we can see, you're going to live a lot better life," Schnobrich said. "(Rather) than denying it the whole time, and then get to the end and find out I wish I did a lot of other stuff."
"One could pretty easily argue that the world would be a better place if we all stopped and got to build our own casket," Wright said. "It would challenge us to think a little bit about, what am I here for? How do I want to touch this world?"
The North House Folk School offers many different classes in Nordic craft. For more information, click here.
Authorities Investigating Possible Homicide on the Fond Du Lac Reservation
Authorities are investigating the death of a 31-year-old woman in Stoney Brook Township on the Fond Du Lac Reservation. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said Monday that they believe the death was an act of violence. One suspect has been taken into custody and authorities are asking for the public's help locating a woman who may have more information.
Duluth Man Pleads Guilty to Suffocation Death of 13-month-old Daughter
A 30-year-old Duluth man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the suffocation death of his 13-month old daughter. The St. Louis County Attorney's office announced Christopher Dennis Peterson's plea in State District Court on Monday.
No Criminal Charges for Superior Officer in Controversial Arrest
Superior Police Chief Charles F. LaGesse announced Monday morning the Bayfield County District Attorney has issued his decision about the actions of Officer George Gothner during the arrest of Natasha Lancour.
Proctor Police Searching for Suspect in Armed Robbery
The Proctor Police Department is asking for the public's help in their search for the suspect from an armed robbery Sunday night. They say the suspect robbed the Proctor Milk House at gunpoint at about 10:15 p.m.
Human Remains Near Pine City Likely Part of Historic Burial Site
Human remains uncovered at a construction site near Pine City last week are most likely connected to a historic burial site. The results of the investigation into the remains were released on Monday.