By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion, with the month of October being dedicated to the Holy Rosary, one of the best known of all Catholic devotions.
Throughout the Diocese of Venice, there are Parish-based rosary maker groups which dedicate their time to ensuring the rosary is available for all.
One of the newest of these groups is based at Our Lady of the Angeles Parish in Lakewood Ranch. Founded in 2019, there are more than a dozen who are active in the rosary makers outreach.
“Our mission is quite simple,” outreach founder Susan Nedeau said. “To promote the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through prayerfully making and teaching others to make cord and bead style rosaries.”
The rosaries are distributed throughout the Parish, the Diocesan Mission Office, various missions in the U.S. and abroad (mostly Africa), charitable organizations, groups that work with incarcerated, nursing homes, and assisted living communities. In just one year, the group has distributed more than 3,000 rosaries.
The global Pandemic did not prove to be much of a challenge for the group, as they developed a system for supplies to be picked up and dropped off, Nedeau explained. They also went from communicating by email to gathering twice a month socially distanced in the Parish parking lot.
“We all brought a chair, our masks and our rosaries,” Nedaeu said. “We would offer special intentions and pray our rosary together and pick up fresh supplies. This was an incredible morale booster especially for our members who live alone… We did not miss a beat! We even experimented and learned how to make twine-knotted rosaries, the single decade rosary/chaplet and rosary bracelets.”
Throughout October, the rosary maker group has been placing announcements in the Parish bulletin to allow everyone to know about this creative outreach while also encouraging others to join.
While the Our Lady of the Angels Rosary Markers are relatively new to this unique outreach, the group at St. William Parish in Naples has been going strong for 27 years.
In that time, the group has made and distributed nearly 2.5 million rosaries, said Sandy Turner, President of the St. William Rosary Makers. In 2020 alone, more than 50 dedicated rosary makers at St. William have made some 50,000 rosaries. In addition, there are some who make rosaries on occasion while still others who provide support for the overall effort.
The group annually provides rosaries for participants in the annual Diocesan Youth Rally (1,200 for 2020), nursing homes, hospitals, the Universal Living Rosary Society based in Texas, as well as to a group which helps to bring hope for impoverished children in New York City.
“We’re still producing many rosaries during the Pandemic,” Turner said. “The shipping to missionaries overseas stopped, but we are still making them. We don’t meet like we have in the past, but we still do the work. For many, the act of making a rosary is part of a powerful personal devotion to the Blessed Virgin.”
Pope Francis, speaking at the Vatican on Oct. 7, 2020, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, invited “everyone to rediscover, especially during this month of October, the beauty of the prayer of the rosary, which has nourished the faith of the Christian people through the centuries.”
The Holy Father said that the Blessed Virgin Mary has urged the recitation of the rosary in her apparitions, “especially in the face of the threats looming over the world… Even today, in this time of Pandemic, it is necessary to hold the rosary in our hands, praying for us, for our loved ones and for all people.”
The Our Lady of the Angels and St. William Rosary Makers are just two examples of the dedicated people who work tirelessly to ensure, even during a pandemic, that rosaries are made available to all who desire one. Both groups rely on donations for supplies and mailing costs to keep doing their work.
How to help
To support the Rosary Maker groups mentioned in this article, please send your donations to:
Our Lady of the Angels Parish, c/o Rosary Makers, 12905 E. SR 70, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202;
St. William Parish, c/o Rosary Makers, 601 Seagate Drive, Naples, FL 34108.