Random Memory: Making Rosaries

January 26, 2017

My education has been purely Catholic. From grade school to college, I attended Catholic schools, run by priests, nuns and brothers (in that order). Being around them growing up was a normal thing….I think it’s because my mother and her family are what people call “Sarado Katoliko”  or people who are deeply religious. That’s why attending those schools has been the way for me.

Back when I was in grade school I remember that my younger sister and I often had to wait for our father or our family driver to pick us up. I think I took a school bus and commuted briefly but for the most part, we had to get driven to and picked up by either our father, a driver or a family friend/relative. Since my sister and I had different schedules, that meant we each had to wait for each other’s classes to end before we could go home. It often was a very long wait for us so we had to find something to pass the time before we had to go home.

I think I spent most of my time waiting in the library reading books with my friends while I waited for the ride home but when I didn’t, I distinctly remember doing one thing: making rosaries. Back then, if you wanted to know how to make a rosary with string and beads (or with beads and wire), you could ask me.

lourdes rosary
A rosary my mother gave me from Lourdes.


Was that a weird thing to say? I passed my time making rosaries? It’s true. I think it was because I was very curious about it that I ended up doing it. I know it sounds nerdy and boring but it’s a memory that I remember very fondly.

There is a bookstore right by our school canteen where you could buy notebooks, pens, stickers and rosaries. I remember being able to see through the window and inside, the monk (I didn’t know at the time that he was a monk) was at a table and making rosaries. I think I used to greet him often and eventually he would let me in to watch him make rosaries.

There were rosaries made from beads and string, and there were rosaries that were made from beads and wire. I think I started with the bead and string first, learning how to wrap and tie the knots the right way to make the right spaces between the beads to make the rosary (you need to follow the right rosary bead pattern). Later, I was taught how to make the rosary with the bead and wire. I was allowed to use the pliers that were used to wrap the wire in place with the beads. The process was not easy and I made a lot of mistakes but the monk was very patient with me and helped me to learn how to make the rosaries. There was a distinct sense of achievement for me to be able to make them at the time, I think that’s why I still remember it.

What I don’t remember much about is what conversations we had while we were making rosaries. To be honest, I think that we mostly just made the rosaries in silence. The whole process took a lot of concentration from me and I liked how the process helped me to focus. Plus, don’t monks take a vow of silence or something? Maybe that’s why we had very little conversations?

I loved that I was able to create rosaries. I don’t remember much today about how to make them, but making them will always be a fond memory for me.

From what I could recall, the name of the monk was Steve. We called him DOM Steve, if I’m not mistaken. I think at the time if my memory serves me right he was already bald and wore glasses. Considering that most of the priests from when I was in grade school have already passed away, I am guessing he has passed away too. That’s sad now that I think about it.

Whenever I touch a rosary, I always remember that memory of making them. I remember the well-lit room, the small brown table, the string, the wire, the beads, the pliers…I remember all of it. I remember the old man sitting across from me, letting me do my own thing and waiting for me to ask questions before telling me what to do.

Rosaries will always evoke that memory from me. It’s a good memory. That’s all I have to say about that.

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