Making Rosaries

by Catherine Fournier

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The Rosary is perhaps the most popular of all devotions. It is a beautiful expression of faith, an effective practice and discipline of prayer. Our Blessed Mother told the three children of Fatima, Portugal in 1917 that among other things, the peace of the world and the salvation of souls depends upon saying the Rosary. "Otherwise," she said, "The evils of Russia will surround the world."

While it is possible to pray the rosary on your fingers (and I've done it many times), a well made, attractive rosary is a definite improvement. A well-made rosary is one that slides through your fingers smoothly and easily, has easily distinguished spaces between the Hail Mary beads and the Our Father beads, is sturdy enough to live in a pocket or hang from a hook, and heavy enough to feel while still light enough to carry easily. A well made rosary can be made of string, beads on string, or of wire.

I made a rosary for the first time last Christmas, for my husband, who lost his recently deceased father's rosary while on a canoe trip. I refuse to consider as coincidence that the rosary went overboard into my father-in-law's favorite lake. I wanted to make something truly beautiful and special to replace the lost rosary, so I went to a nearby bead store and chose garnet beads, my husband's favorite stone, and silver wire.

My first rosary took about four or five hours to make, and drew questions and admiring comments from all who saw me making it. It was a mini-apostolate just to answer the questions about what I was doing and why. The finished rosary drew tears from my husband when I presented him with it. Since that time, I've made several more rosaries, a sturdier everyday one for my husband, another for our youngest son's First Communion. Robert came with me to chose the beads - it's possibly the loudest rosary in the world, but he loves it. I have also repaired a number of rosaries found in the bottom on a jewellery box of a deceased aunt, and given them to those who remember her. I plan to make identical rosaries to give as wedding presents.

Friends who are skilled in making the cord rosaries (where the Hail Mary and other beads are made from special knots) tell me that they are also enjoyable to make and that children can quickly master the skill. In some ways the small, nimble fingers of children are well suited to this craft, especially those of girls who tend to be better at concentrating on such things.

Bead rosaries - where the beads are strung in groups and separated by simple knots are simplicity itself. Large 'family' rosaries are usually made this way.

The gift of a rosary can increase devotion at home. If you have a rosary, you're more likely to pray the rosary. A person will treasure for years a beuatiful rosary made by a friend or given by a loved one. We all treasure a rosary we make ourselves. In no small way, these rosaries can bring us closer to the loving arms of Mary. Why not try?

Free directions to make cord or wire rosaries are available from:

Our Lady's Rosary Makers
4611 Poplar Level Road
P.O. Box 37080
Louisville, Kentucky 40233

Though beads, wire and special pliers can be purchased at a craft or bead store (dangerous places if you don't have a set and strictly enforced budget!) crucifixes, centres, and other supplies can be purchased from Our Lady's Rosary Makers as well. They will send a free catalogue along with the rosary directions.

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