The enduring message of a rosary

I have known a couple people who make rosaries.  The finest I have seen, used and given as gifts to newly ordained were from Queen of Peace Rosaries. 

However, there is a blog called Paternosters, which is a truly fascinating look at rosaries, historical and contemporary.

Today there was an entry which caught at me.

Here is part…

I also passed a sad little milestone this week: for the first time, one of the rosaries I’ve made has been laid to rest. I made this one a couple of years ago for a friend’s elderly mother. By special request it was rose quartz (her favorite color) with mother-of-pearl markers, the Virgin Mary with roses, and a cross with shamrocks. My friend’s mother died this past week, and it was buried with her. I hope it brought some comfort to her and to her family.

Here is the one I made for her:

Rose quartz rosary

Perhaps hundreds of years from now, when the world has changed completely and these electrons are all dust, some archaeologist will see these beads and be touched by the thought that they brought someone a sense of peace.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. YoungCatholicSTL says:

    Anyone have any good suggestions on where to donate old broken rosaries? I looked in the back of my church, but didn’t see a box (as was common at my childhood parish). I now have two sitting in my apartment. Thanks.

  2. Ohio Annie says:

    Wow, I make mission rosaries (parts from OLRN.ORG) and love rosaries. Those semiprecious beads are beautiful and so are the medals.

    There are some places that repair rosaries. You might google things like rosary repair or rosary parts. Also get in touch with your local rosary makers guild. You can find one through

  3. Ohio Annie says:

    OOPS, that’s Our Lady’s Rosary Sorry. I am often a keyboarding nincompoop.

  4. What the world really needs is unbreakable rosaries

  5. Paladin says:

    If you’ll pardon a personal comment, Father: that rosary is absolutely beautiful. Where do you get your parts? (It’ll probably be several thousand miles away from me, but I can ask!)

  6. David: I mentioned the beautiful rosaries from Queen of Peace Rosaries. Very fine and very strong. I think I could pull a stump with one hitched to a tractor.

    Well.. a small stump.

  7. Paladin: I didn’t make it.

  8. catherine baumgartner says:

    I belong to OUR LADY OF FATIMA ROSARY GUILD. We make any kind of rosary you want. Semi precious stones or mission beads.We are a non-profit group who sends rosaries to Missions throughout the world. All proceeds from custom or personalized rosaries goes to fund our mission rosary postage. Chaplets, single decade roaaries, & bracelets are also available. We mail anywhere.

  9. Antonb says:

    I have been collecting rosaries for the last ten years and I regularly read Paternosters. Whenever I travel I buy a rosary that reflects the local church and culture as a memento of my trip. The rosary lends itself to different designs and can be made from almost any material. The oldest one I have in my collection is a French missionary rosary made from tin and seed pods. It is a great joy to know these beads where once used for devotion in a far off place. My collection continues to expand now that I have discovered Ebay. But it is worth remembering the Rosary is first a tool for prayer and a beautiful prayer at that.

  10. Ed says:

    One great resource for rosary repair and new custom rosaries is

    The Sisters are currently building a rosary for me, from beads I carved, and their enthusiam for the project was such a help in finally getting the carving all done–lots of little acorns.

    They have, also, a wonderful Gregorian chant/Polyphony cd, which I mentioned on another thread, called “In Paradisum.” I highly recommend a visit to their website.

  11. Chris says:

    Thank you for the nice words about the Paternosters blog.

    I don’t make rosaries for sale, but I am happy to point people in the direction of how to make their own. Rosary Shop has good instructions for several types of rosary and will custom-make a rosary to your specifications. Rosary Workshop is the source for many of the parts I use, such as the Virgin Mary and crucifix in the rose quartz rosary that is pictured. They will also do custom-made rosaries. The rose quartz and mother-of-pearl beads came from Fire Mountain Gems.

    My own main interest is in the history of the rosary in the Middle Ages; I’m a historian and writer by profession. Most of the rosaries I make are medieval-style and are strung on silk thread, which admittedly makes them more breakable than modern types. Modern rosaries made with wire loops are much more difficult to break, especially if you look for those that are “wire wrapped,” and those strung on plastic-coated “flexwire” are practically impossible to break under most conditions.

    Hope this helps!

  12. Chris says:

    P.S. Ed, what do you know about the significance of acorns on a rosary? I’ve encountered this several times and have no idea what the association might be.

  13. Ed says:


    I carved the acorns for a personal reason; as my Confirmation was approaching, all those years ago, my mother took me to a nearby park to collect acorns, which we strung with yarn to make my first rosary…

    Decades later, as I was exploring carving using shed Elk antler as a raw material, noticing how well it takes detail, it popped into my head that the antler would really work for small beads, and then I recalled the acorn rosary I’d made.

    I did try stringing them myself, but never happy with the result. After contacting the Sisters of Carmel to see if my “personal” reason was appropriate for a rosary, they emailed to assure me that the motif was entirely appropriate, considering prayers as “seeds,” and the rich “tree” and “branch” symbolism in Scripture.

    So, it all came together, the wood of the Cross, the medallion–in this case, an oak leaf with our Lady holding our Infant Savior, and the many prayer/seed acorns. A lot of carving, and as I said, these Discalced Carmelite Sisters really upheld me through that part of the process.

    That may be more than you were asking, Chris, and I’m sorry I can’t provide more specific chapter/verse pointers, (I think of the tree/rod of Jesse, the Vine and Branches, the seeds that fall on various ground, and Our Lord’s Cross as a tree). There is also the Old Testament patriarch, I think Jacob, who meets the strangers walking out of an oak forest…very vague on that, my biblical scholarship is not what it should be.

  14. Becky says:

    Paladin–I have been making wire-wrapped gemstone rosaries for some time now and have found the best sources of sterling & bronze crucifixes, centers & medals to be, & The beads and wire are available from many sources. The best instructions on how to wire-wrap are at if you are just starting out. Wire-wrapping uses more wire but makes a virtually indestructible rosary.

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