It’s October: Do you know where your Rosary beads are?

About 20 hours from the time of this writing, The Year of Faith will be officially launched from Rome!

Here at Patheos, we have something special planned — and a Facebook page to keep you up-to-date on everything new, but more about that later.

For now, a quick question: Do you know where your Rosary Beads are?

Deacon Greg wants to know;

I still have my first set. Do you?

It was given to me as a first communion gift: simple black beads with a plain plastic cross. They’re small, child-sized, but I carried them in May processions when I was in grade school. They served to teach me the rudiments of one of our faith’s most popular—but often misunderstood—forms of prayer.

The rosary.

Greg reminds us that the Holy Father has recommended re-embracing the Rosary during the Year of Faith, gives a quick recounting of the history of the beads and ends on a personal note.

I don’t have my First Communion beads — sadly they were lost in my many moves — but I do have my pin, and like my mother, I’ll be buried with it. Over the years I have acquired many beads, some as gifts, some (like the set above) simply because their beauty spoke to me. My favorite and most-prayed-with set, are simple wooden beads I bought about twenty years ago, at a retreat house. Beauty is all well and good, but simplicity aids in contemplation.

What are your favorite Rosary beads? What do they look like and how did you acquire them? What are your favorite mysteries? As I noted a few days ago, I love the Joyful mysteries, and in particular the Annunciation, that first and greatest mystery from which all the others are born. One can never ponder it enough, and I love being drawn back, over and over again, to that profound moment when heaven and earth became espoused. You can pray them with me, here.

Which is why, perhaps, I increasingly find the Angelus to be a particularly settling gift, throughout these unsettling days. I made a podcast of it here.

I know the Rosary is something many people struggle with, especially as our attention-spans shorten, thanks to a world full of distractions and the ever-enticing iphones, ipads, internets. But even before all of that came along, the Rosary could challenge us. St. Terese of Lisieux had a dickens of a time staying awake through it. For me, although I’ve prayed the beads all my life, I only came to really love them after asking Mary to help me love them. She did it.

If you’ve been away from the Rosary for a while, find your beads; pick them up. It’s a beautiful weight in the hand, isn’t it? If you don’t know what to pray, don’t worry about it — as you’re praying the intentions of the heart and of those you know will make themselves plain to you. Your Guardian angel can prompt you too, if you ask.

And you can always pray this Rosary Meditation for Job Seekers.

Scroll down my sidebar to find rosary podcasts and other prayers.

Fatima and the Rosary

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Aleeta

    My favorite rosary is the one I had made after my son died. It was made out of the rose petals from the floral arrangements at his service by a nearby convent. It sort of feels like a gift he gave me (I know that sounds weird).

  • Kensington

    The only rosary I own is a set of green beads on a gold chain that I bought in the hospital gift shop when my mother was dying eight years ago.

    Sometimes I’d like to put it away and pick up another set that isn’t so connected to such a painful moment, but perhaps it’s better to just embrace the painful history of it and offer it up.

  • Kensington

    I don’t think that’s weird at all, Aleeta. God bless you and your son.

  • Ted Seeber

    In the same left pocket that they’ve been since my KofC 1st Degree.

  • Kensington

    Oh, yeah, and I try to always carry my rosary with me, in my left shirt pocket.

  • JRT

    I say the rosary when I go running, so I use my fingers! Let’s pray for each other this month. I enjoy this blog so much.

  • Ellen

    Right now, my favorite rosary is a knotted cord one that stays in my pocket or purse. It doesn’t break (unlike so many of mine have). I also have a plain wooden one with a St. Michael medal on it that I like very much.

    I say the rosary the Dominican way and I find that I love the Luminous Mysteries the best. Running up to this election, I’ve been saying the Rosary, the Chaplet of Mercy and a chaplet invented by Father George Byers that he calls the Emergency Chaplet. On the large beads say an Act of Contrition and on the small ones say Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. I love this chaplet very much.

  • Alex

    I gave my First Communion beads away to a man who asked me for them in the street one day. But I have my grandmother’s First Communion beads, given to her in 1919. They are very precious to me. But generally I pray with the ones I keep in my handbag, or the emergency ones I keep by my bed. The rosary has been a great consolation to me in the last year of many sleepless nights: I put them under my pillow when I finish praying so that if I wake up in the night I know where to find them.

  • Mary

    Mine is a black and white plastic one that looks like it could have cost $1.50 in any Catholic bookstore anywhere in the world. But my parents brought it back from Rome for me when I was 8, so it is far more valuable to me than it looks!

  • Laurel

    Thank you for the Rosary Meditation for Job Seekers. Very good.

  • Pingback: For the month of the rosary, let your fingers do the praying

  • Peggy Coffey

    I read you every day, I really enjoy your blog. It’s sometimes maddening, sometimes thought provoking. But today it made me think. I have my grandmothers rosary beads, my mother gave them to me after she died. I keep them in my little jewelry box. I always loved her rosary, it’s made of silver metal beads with a large cross, but she had it with her all the time. I also always loved praying the rosary, I haven’t done it in many years. I may have to dig out her rosary and start praying. I surely need it and our country could use the help.
    Thank you, Anchoress.

  • Lydia F.

    I have many sets, including my first communion ones (in a box somewhere,) and the ones I carried at our wedding, and a beautiful red glass set my mother bought at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and a friend took with him to have blessed by JPII in Rome. But the one I use the most is the knotted cord rosary a friend made, and she used a little thicker/softer cord than usual. It feels good in my hand and I sleep with it, as it makes no noise.

  • Robert

    Still have my first set, given to me by a nun who was tutoring me back around 1970. They’re actually a woman’s set, pink with a Miraculous center, and they’ve always had a tendency to kink up.

    Recently I’ve taken to making my own, and have made some very attractive ones with gemstone beads. Lewis & Company Rosary Parts has an introductory special that includes a starter rosary, a sterling silver rosary with your choice of glass beads, instructions and rosary-making pliers for $49.95. It’s a great value. Although I carry one of my rosaries with me in my briefcase, in my pants pocket is a chaplet I made myself, with aves of snowflake obsidian and a pater made of copper, with a sterling crucifix at one end and a sterling St. Benedict medal at the other.

  • Kelly M

    Greetings, Anchoress. I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while and thought I’d jump in.

    I still have my First Communion Rosary – white plastic beads and a tarnished metal crucifix – nothing special. It came in a clear plastic shell with a small booklet containing the rubrics for each of the three standard recitations, complete with colorful and sometimes gruesome pictures of each of the Mysteries. They were so compelling to me as a child. To this day the Sorrowful Mysteries mean the most to me.

    On my first trip to Paris I bought a rosary at Sacré Coeur Basilica and it started me on a quest to collect rosaries whenever I traveled. Over the years friends who have learned of my collection have augmented it with gifts of their own, including rosaries from Rome, Jerusalem and a lovely one with scallop shell-shaped beads from Santiago de Compostela. The one I carry and pray with daily is from Barcelona. The glass beads are a deep blue and seem to glow from within. Some are simple, some ornate, but they all have great meaning to me.

    One of the beauty things about collecting rosaries is that it has gotten me to seek out churches and just spend some time there whether or not they have rosaries for sale. One of the most memorable churches I visited was a small parish in a seaside town in Mexico. It was there that I fell in love with the Spanish Mission style churches, so popular here in California. I’ve now made it a goal to visit all of the historic Missions.

  • Peggy Bowes

    I still have my First Communion rosary– blue crystal, in its original box– but I had forgotten about the pin. I kept it in a treasure box for years but now have no idea where it could be. My favorite rosary came in a box with a picture of St. Therese of Lisieux. The beads are red and rose-scented.

    I agree with you about the Joyful Mysteries as a favorite because I like to meditate on the life of the Holy Family. Like another person who commented, I pray the Rosary while I run, as well as when I bike, hike, on the treadmill or any other type of cardio workout. The Joyful Mysteries go especially well with walks, hikes and runs because I feel like I can travel with the Holy Family. For the Annunciation, I imagine that Mary had to go for a walk after the Angel Gabriel left so that she could wrap her head around what just happened. I like to walk beside her and ask her to share her thoughts as I meditate. For the Visitation, I hike with Mary to the Hill Country to visit her cousin, imagining her joy at taking the Savior out into the world. Then I walk with Mary and Joseph during the long journey to Bethlehem for the Nativity, sharing their angst as they are repeatedly turned away for lodging. Finally, I follow the Holy Family to Jerusalem, on what must have been a cold and arduous journey, for the Presentation.

  • Eddie S

    My favorite rosary with thin black beads is always in my left pocket and I have a wooden rosary that belonged to my late aunt/godmother. I also have a slightly defective one (only nine beads on one decade) hanging from my rear view mirror and I will soon be receiving, as a birthday gift, a steering wheel cover rosary.

    As others have commented, I also pray the rosary when I run and keep track by using my fingers.

    I have my wife’s rosary, a lovely translucent green, along with her Station of the Cross rosary that was blessed in Rome. Its been two years since she died and I have only been able to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries… sigh.

  • Peggy m

    I have my rosary from my First Communion—tiny silver beads and cross, kept in a round silver container not much larger than a nickel in diameter. I have usually kept it in my pocket or purse since 1965.

    I also have a plastic rosary made by one of my children when he was a first grader at a Catholic school. It is colorful to say the least, and it gets wrapped around my car keys in my purse so I regularly pull it out with the keys (provoking all manner of comments by onlookers) and have occasionally tried to start my car with the crucifix.

    There are a lot of us Peggys reading this blog!

  • Sue in Japan

    My favorite beads are a lot like yours pictured above, but blue. I bought them for myself on Etsy, because though I received many gifts when I entered the Church nearly two years ago, a set of Rosary beads was not one of them. The beads I really use the most is a very simple olive wood set that I bought a few months ago from a French nun that was visiting our parish for the purpose of selling her handmade beads to help support her order here in Japan. We bought a bunch of them and I keep one in my handbag and use them to pray on my way home from driving my husband to the train station each morning – it’s one of the few times in the day I am alone and have quiet!

  • Laura

    My favorite rosary beads are from my first communion. Crystal. My favorite mysteries are the sorrowful.

  • J.

    I don’t have my first set but I do have my last. Given to me at my Confirmation, black wood beads and silver connectors. It is in my purse and been there since I carried a purse many, many moons ago. Before that I kept them in my pocket. Yes, I say the Rosary–usually during the day with people around but without them knowing it and by keeping count on my fingers like my dad showed me when I was 5 (he used to say the Rosary at work as well).

    Oh, and I’m an Anglican (we are Catholics too and maybe some day we will rejoin across the Tiber….).

  • Dan C

    I have many beads. One is a set from that was my father’s given to me when he died. It is my only “good” set, because I usually go with the cheap plastic beads, since I carry one set around with me to say in the car or if I have a chance at work.

  • Antonius

    I still have my simple black bead, and stainless steel Rosary I received for my first communion some 40 years ago. I rarely pray with it any more. I pray the rosary now in my car on the drive to work, maybe a few days a week. I have downloaded the .mpg files from the Rosary Army channel in iTunes, and play them through the car radio. I also find that I am praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet more than the Rosary. My wife uses a beautiful crystal Rosary her mother purchased for her from a souvenir shop in Lourdes France.

  • Therese Z

    I don’t have my First Communion rosary any more (white pearlized beads), but I also have a First Communion pin! Nobody seems to remember those! Mine is tiny and “gold,” a chalice and Host above it. I’ve tried to figure out how to work it into my wardrobe or personal possessions and I think I might have it made into a charm and then I can put it on a necklace or bracelet.

    I’m a lousy Rosary prayer, but I try.