Handmade Rosaries

22 Jun

There are many forms of handmade rosaries.

Handmade rosaries are among the most interesting and express cultural and personal preferences. The tradition of making rosaries can be traced to the earliest days of Christianity.

Throughout history, followers of many faiths have used various objects to count the number of prayers they have said. Pebbles, twigs, and seeds, for example, have been used to mark prayers. The Christian historian Sozomen (circa 443 A.D.) wrote that an Egyptian hermit, Paul, put 300 stones in his pocket each day and tossed them onto the road, one by one, as he prayed.

Early believers also tied knots on a long piece of rope and fingered the knots as they prayed. That was the origin of the knotted cord rosary. In medieval times, it was fashionable to wear the knotted cord around the waist to pray throughout the day.

Today, the Rosary Army, promotes the making and use of the knotted cord rosary with their motto, “Make one, pray one, give one away.”

A variety of beads are used in making rosaries. The beads can be strung on cord as in the blue rosary shown above or linked by chains as in the rosary below. The center medal and crucifix of the brown rosary below are made of olivewood from Jerusalem.

Handmade rosaries are often made by groups such as The Legion of Mary and The Rosary Army. These groups sometimes make and donate their rosaries for specific groups such as military personnel, hospital patients, or students. The purple rosary shown below was made by the Ladies Guild of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Pennsylvania. The Ladies Guild makes these rosaries to give to second grade students in the parish when they make their First Holy Communion.
Rosary made by Most Holy Trinity Ladies Guild.

Rosary bracelets can also be made by hand.
Rosary Bracelets

When making a rosary, the crafter considers the prayers to be said and the most appropriate form.

NOTE: Many of the handmade rosaries shown were given as gifts to Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner, authors of The Rosary Collector’s Guide. If you recognize a rosary that you made, please know that it is appreciated and serves as a model for future rosary makers.

Handmade rosary with Blessed Mother center medal



To learn more about rosaries, read The Rosary Collector’s Guide by Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner. This 152 page, hardcover reference book has 240 color photographs of unusual rosaries, crosses, crucifixes, and center medals. It is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and the Catholic Faith Store Online as well as other websites, book stores, and religious article stores.
The authors are often able to bring their rosary collection to show to church groups, school groups, and community organizations. If you would like to schedule a presentation or if you have a question about rosaries, contact Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner at rosarycollector@aol.com


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