I was hardly the only Catholic kid to have received rosaries as gifts. For my First Communion, my neighbors gave me a slender string of cream and orange beads, made in their hometown in Venezuela. At Confirmation, I received one from my mom with a gold chain and pearl beads. I still have the one I got from my grandfather, a single-decade set of worn bronze that he carried with him during his deployment in the Pacific during World War II.
The one I usually use is the one my grandmother gave me, a long string that over time has lost some of its amethyst-colored beads. For years it’s sat in the bottom of my purse to be fished out for special occasions. Only now, it seems to have gone missing. All the others I’ve accumulated are packed away at my mother’s house. So for the first time I can remember, I don’t have a rosary.
For the most part, this has caused me no major inconvenience. I only noticed its absence during a conversation with my husband, a convert who has never prayed a rosary before. The ultimate spiritual introvert, Ryan prefers the communal participation of the Mass to extemporaneous or extravagant personal prayer. I suggested he might find grace in the repetitive, supremely structured prayer to the Blessed Mother. But I didn’t have a rosary to lend him.
Which made me wonder: Where do you buy a rosary? A small gift shop attached to a church, perhaps, but there’s no such establishment near me. I pulled out my laptop and did a quick Amazon search. Bad start: rosaries on Amazon are classified as “fashion”—and either men’s or women’s, at that. These devotional items sat uncomfortably next to the Prime check mark.