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.
Federal Ruling Means No Killing Wolves Unless Endangering Human Life
A federal judge has overturned an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list.
Another Round of Budget Cuts at UWS
UWS announced on Friday at an open forum that it will be eliminating academic programs and faculty positions to help to university save money. Four graduate programs and four undergraduate programs will be cut. The university is also severing ties with a music professor and a visual arts professor.
Lake Superior Zoo Reduces Seasonal Hours, Cuts Staff Position
While a task force takes time to consider possible changes to the financially struggling Lake Superior Zoo, there'll be a couple other adjustments in the mean time.
Bigfork Blaze Destroys Home, Injures Firefighter
Firefighters battled the blaze on the 300 block of Ottum Avenue for more than six hours, according to Susie Schmickle with the Bigfork Fire Department.
Prepackaged Caramel Apples Linked to 4 Deaths
Health officials are warning consumers to avoid prepackaged caramel apples after they were linked to five deaths, including two in Minnesota.