My very first rosary was given to me by my grandmother when I was around 5 years old, It was blessed in Rome and had a strong but natural fragrance when from what I remember…roses I’m certain.
My grandmother lived in the Philippines, and she would come to visit us in Canada when I was younger. During one of her first visits, she taught me how to pray. I don’t recall ever learning about how to pray the rosary in church or in school, so I owe it to my grandmother for teaching me, among the many things I learned from her. She had a very specific nighttime routine, and praying the rosary was never left out. Sharing a bed, we would pray out loud together before sleeping. I used to follow her, and eventually as I became more familiar, I’d be able to finish on my own when she fell asleep.
The rosary is more than a tradition, and a connection to my grandmother, but in a very important and profound way, it was my shield. During that time, my parents’ marriage was turbulent. Because of how young I was, I can hardly remember a time when they weren’t fighting. This turmoil was my normal. It’s only reflecting on it as an adult, that I am able to understand more of the picture.
Their fights were the loudest and most intense late at night. I remember that my grandmother would push forward with our bedtime routine. We would pray the rosary every night, despite the noise. She was persistent in the prayers, and I drew that fortitude from her. Truthfully, the memory of praying the rosary is more salient than the environment in which we prayed in.
Now whenever I pick up the rosary, I feel a sense of strength, like a warrior picking up a sword before going into battle. Reflecting on the holy mysteries and saying the words remind me that the power of prayer is great enough to conquer anything I might be facing, tangibly and intangibly. I’ve come to truly understand the role of Our Lady in my life; she’s a tender and upstanding mother, protecting her child under her mantle. At every age, that is her role in our lives and we are always in need of our mother.
The Holy Rosary for me is also a tool to I use in managing anxiety. Focussing on the beads and the repetition of the prayers takes my mind away from the worry. The rosary brings me closer to understanding the life of Jesus, and that his sorrows and joys are like mine, or even greater. This doesn’t eliminate my stress and anxiety completely, but it reminds me of the most important things in my life. I am validated and loved by the greatest Love, which helps redirect my gaze towards eternity, and off of circumstantial things.
Whenever I feel vulnerable, I hold on to my rosary. I might not always feel it, but I know in my heart that God’s hand is in my life. Since then I’ve been given the chance to embark on a very different journey, praying the rosary with men and women in prison. Using the rosary to pray for each other a deeply moving and powerful, and it reminds me that even if we had nothing but the shirts on our backs, we would still be able to pray using our fingers, meditating on the life of Jesus, and praying the Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s.
I believe one of the best things you can give to someone else is a rosary.
You can read more about the rosary in our archives.