A former student traveled to Rome and bought a rosary for me at the Vatican. Not only was I incredibly touched that this eight-year-old girl would think of me during her vacation, she also selected a beautiful set of wooden rosary beads that feels lovely to hold.
For awhile, I carried them with me to every chemo session, keeping them in their little white paper bag from the Vatican shop. I didn’t actually use them, but I felt better just having them with me.
Then about 8 weeks ago, I couldn’t find them. I have several different rosaries that I love, but I hate losing objects that are meaningful to me and I went into a panic. I dug through everything I own and worried that I may have lost them at Dana Farber while I was in a chemo haze.
I vowed that if I found them, I would pray the rosary every day. They didn’t show up.
Then I did what worked for my ring – I prayed to St. Anthony, but this time laughingly. I had looked everywhere and this was a silly last resort.
But yes, less than 24 hours later, there they were, next to my bed. Crazy.
I happily said one rosary, even though I don’t really know how to say the rosary. Yes, I looked online for instructions, but it seemed like you are supposed to meditate on different mysteries depending on the day of the week (with some exceptions, of course – why can’t this be straightforward!) and THEN, for each set of prayers within the rosary, meditate on a different mystery within the major category. It all felt so complicated.
I know that for each little bead, you say one Hail Mary. I seem to recall that on the larger beads between the sets of 10 little beads (decades), you say one Glory Be and an Our Father. But I don’t know what prayers to say at the Cross or at the funny little symbol that connects them.
So I did what I knew and called it a really good try.
They next day, I didn’t seem to find time to say the rosary until late at night. The day after that, I started to say one after I went to bed (counting on my fingers instead of the beads) and fell asleep shortly after starting.
The subsequent days, I only thought about doing it.
On Thursday night, walking down the hall to say goodnight to our sons, I passed by the rosary beads. As I continued walking, I said something like, “Mary, I’m going to need some help with this.”
On Friday morning, I went to a Mom’s Spirituality Group, where the group leader provides a topic and structure for our weekly discussion and we work within that structure. This week, the topic was stress, worries and anxieties. We were to write down our individual stress, worries and anxieties, then pick a buddy and discuss.
I don’t like to focus on these things, but I pretty much do what I am told so made my best effort. Janet and I finished first, so we paired up. After discussing our assigned topics, we started talking about life in general. At one point, seemingly out of the blue, Janet shared that a friend of hers told her to pray the rosary. Janet wasn’t sure where she would find the time, but realized that she spends so much time in the car that she could easily do it while she was driving.
She also told me that she doesn’t pray the “official” version of the rosary, just her own version. She believes that is okay because even doing that shifted something inside her, and events began to change for the better in her life. She assured me that Mary works to answer our prayers.
Though I appreciate all the details she shared, my favorite is simply that the topic came up at all.
I received direct help on how to get going on the rosary and the assurance that it can be meaningful without being a big event. Of course, that makes me stop in amazement and gratitude.
I want to thank my young friend for the beautiful rosary and the wave of miracles that unfolded because of her lovely act of kindness.
I thank YOU for every little action and thought from your heart. Regardless of how big or small it feels, each one is meaningful and has a beautiful ripple effect as well.