Sometime before Christmas I made the upsetting discovery that I had lost one of my favourite rosaries. People lose rosaries all the time, I know, but this particular one was very special to me. This was the rosary that accompanied me to work each day, sized perfectly so that I could finger the beads while driving. Its small, oval, burgundy beads were on a strong silver chain. The attached St. Benedict medallion and detailed crucifix, both made of pewter I think, made it a simple yet beautiful rosary. It was made by a friend and given to me one Christmas past. That was the saddest part of the loss – the sentimental value attached to it.
Silly? Some people may think so, but I don’t. I have a small collection of rosaries, all of which I use and all of which have a story, a memory, a person behind them. When I meditate on the rosary, I picture myself praising God through its powerful prayers along with the communion of saints. The rosary I am using at the time connects me in a special way to the person who gave it to me and I remember that person in my prayers.
I propose that the personal rosaries of faithful Christians have a fine history of their own. They have accompanied their owners through the most joyous as well as the most heartbreaking times in their lives. Their oft-handled beads show the passage of years as they slip lovingly through praying fingers. If rosaries could talk they would tell many profound stories of loss and rejoicing, of lives shattered and lives found, all within their 59 beads.
During my work week, I have the blessing of being able, on most days, to pay a quick visit to Jesus in a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. Some days the chapel is quite full; other days there may only be a couple of us in silent prayer. The multicultural mix of my city is well represented in the chapel with whispered prayers being offered up in a multitude of languages. A common sight is the rosary held gently in the hands of worshipers. We may all be praying in different languages but there is a bond between us, all joined by the beads, simple or ornate, of our rosaries. It is a powerful sight.