Recently we were discussing religion in my Anthropology class. We were talking about items used by various faiths that have importance to the followers. The Rosary was brought up and I pointed out something that most people don’t know, which inspired this post.
Like all good Catholic children, I was taught the Rosary as soon as I could understand where you said which prayers. I had a kids rosary made from large, colorful wooden beads for as long as I can remember. I think my Mom still has it.
Before I go any further I should explain something, the thing that I pointed out to my class. You probably noticed I talked about the Rosary and a rosary up there. It’s not a typo. The Rosary is the set of prayers. A rosary is the set of beads used to keep track of the prayers. You can say a Rosary without having a rosary. Neat, huh?
Here is how the prayers go:
The Apostles’ Creed
The Lord’s Prayer
Three Hail Mary
The Glory Be
Then there are the decades:
– Announce the mystery (if using)
– The Our Father
– Ten Hail Mary
– The Glory Be (on the space between the last Hail Mary bead and the next Our Father bead)
– (The Fatima Prayer is commonly added after the Glory Be)
At the end, the Hail Holy Queen prayer and the sign of the cross.
It took me a while to really enjoy saying the Rosary. I was given a nice rosary at my first communion, but I never really liked using it. Praying the Rosary was just so boring! Until I was in high school. First, we were talking about the Rosary in religion class and we all had those cheap rosaries with the plastic beads. I started to feel a connection to it and decided to keep mine.
Later, I think it was my junior year, a new priest arrived and he was friends with one of the visionaries from Medjugorje. We started a little group who would meet after school to pray the Rosary together. He gave anyone who wanted one a beautiful wooden rosary made in Medjugorje and blessed by Mary. That completely hooked me on the Rosary.
Part of it was finally connecting with the form of prayer that it provided. It really is a form of meditation. You say the prayers over and over again. It can be quite refreshing when you finish. Part of it was that rosary. I loved the look and the feel of it. I would take it with me on the way to Academic Team matches at other schools. I would sit on the bus and close my eyes and pray. It helped me to calm myself and center. It made me feel more confident.
I admit, I now have a bit of an eye for interesting rosaries. At that point, my Medjugorje rosary was my third. Since then I have added three more to my ‘collection’. I bought one at the, then Blessed, now Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha shrine in upstate New York. She is my confirmation saint and the Rosary was her favorite form of prayer, so I naturally bought one there.
Later, at the annual Renaissance Faire held on the South Oval at Ohio State, I saw a rosary that I ended up giving in and buying. It’s made out of chain-mail links! The way they created the beads and linked it all together is just beautiful. It feels weird to bring it out and use it because I feel like I’m showing off or something. So it mostly sits and looks awesome.
My last addition was one I was waiting for a long time. I am the closest thing that my Great-Grandmother had to a namesake. Her first name was Clara, my middle name is Claire. This is because my Mom was very close to her Grandmother. When she died, she left her rosary to me. She made it herself from crystal and silver. My Mom, rightly, decided that I would get it when I was older. She said I would receive it when I was confirmed in the 8th grade. Confirmation came, and she decided to put it off until I graduated from HS. Graduation day came, and she decided it wouldn’t be safe at school and put it off until I got married. At this point I was a little frustrated. I remembered a little about my Great-Grandmother and wanted to feel closer to her. Finally, on my wedding day, my mother gave me the rosary. It is so beautiful and it does make me feel closer to my Great-Grandmother. It is another rosary that I rarely use, I’m simply happy to have it.