The rosary is a classic ‘spot the catholic’ devotional item. Catholic bookstores have walls of rosaries of every shape and size, rivalling any flea market jewellery stand. Rosaries are a staple item of pilgrimage site souvenir shops and street hawkers. Faithful travellers to Rome hold up handfuls of rosaries during the weekly Angelus at St. Peter’s in order to get a papal blessing. They are an indelible wardrobe prop for any Hollywood nun or monk. And, they were the go-to child pacifier in this mother’s purse during Sunday mass. (I have a box of broken rosaries to prove that this is not a bright idea.)
I loved saying the rosary as a child. Or, I should say, I loved the idea of saying a rosary. All those saintly images of holy women and men praying the rosary was my inspiration. Unfortunately, I usually fell asleep before I completed all five decades. I blame my Dad for this. When I complained that I couldn’t get to sleep at night, his solution was ‘pray the rosary’! Okay, I admit that I gave my own children the same advice. I took comfort in the fact that St. Thérèse of Liseux (a favourite saint of my childhood) also struggled with the rosary. Demon sleep overtook her best efforts, too.
I`ve tried many times to get into a regular discipline of praying the rosary. It is a wonderful, meditative prayer. The action of prayer beads is a spiritual aid in many religions. Praying the mysteries help to ground the prayer in scripture. But, I never seem to get to it.
My Babcia prayed the rosary several times a day. I have a strong image in my mind of her sitting in her chair, whispering the prayers in Polish, and fingering the beads one after another. I now have her rosary. The beads are well worn and the crucifix is wafer thin. She died peacefully at 96 years of age, her many prayers answered.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.