Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our rosary

When I was pregnant with our firstborn, I had this romantic notion that we would pray the rosary together every afternoon before her nap. I'm not sure how I came up with this, as it wasn't like I prayed the rosary every day on my own. Heck, I hardly ever prayed it.

So I had Miriam and welcomed real life and laughingly put the naptime rosary idea aside.

But I kept coming back to it. Was it possible? For someone who couldn't make herself say it even once a week, to get a baby to do it every day? No, surely not. Those tales of the holy Catholic families with nine kids on their knees every night? Wonderful for them, but not feasible for the rest of us.

Then, a year ago, came a window of opportunity. It was time to establish a new naptime routine, so I went for it. And we haven't looked back.

It's not a full rosary. We start with the Apostles Creed and an Our Father, then say 2-5 Hail Marys for each mystery, depending on how antsy the girls are. Then we end with a Glory Be, Oh My Jesus (does that one have a name?), and Hail, Holy Queen. My main focus is not actually the prayers but teaching her about each mystery. So we talk about each event in Jesus' life, and I point out the people in the pictures.

I got into the habit of saying basically the same thing for each mystery, so now I can just turn to a page and say "The first joyful mystery is..." and Miriam finishes: "The 'nunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was gonna have baby Jesus."

"When they hurt poor Jesus."

"Mary didn't die - she went straight to heaven!"

It's awesome. Usually. She is still a two year old, after all, so there are days where she says that every mystery is "Pentecost!" or she wants to talk the whole time. She hasn't said the whole thing with me in probably eight months. She went through a phase where she didn't want to do it, and I didn't make her. (Want to have a child crying and begging to pray the rosary? Simply say "okay, have a good nap" and walk away.) And now we have baby Cecilia in the mix, so often I'm trying to pray over Miriam's baby talking and kissing and snuggling. But that lifts my heart to heaven as much as any prayer, so I let it slide.

We look a bit of a mess in this picture, but that makes it a fairly accurate portrayal.

I used to think only really holy families could do things like pray a rosary every day. But here we are, striving imperfectly, snuggled together on her bed almost every day at noon. Sometimes she's kicking the wall and I'm gritting my teeth and praying that we just get through the next ten minutes, but more often she's surprising me with how much of the Apostle's Creed she knows or pointing out Peter, James, and John in the picture of the Transfiguration (or confusing them with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which is equally adorable). 

Why am I sharing this? So you know that it's not impossible. Traditions like this are not only for those mothers who have already attained sainthood. We can work to teach our children and pass on our faith. Listen to what God is calling you to, even if it sounds out of reach. Figure out how you could modify it and implement it with your family in the here and now. Trust that His grace will overcome your ineptitude. And go for it.

Ready? Here's a three-part series that helped inspire me. 
I like to reread them once in a while for encouragement,
especially the last one.


  1. Where O where did you get those little books?! I've been wanting to pray a rosary with Joe but it's hard enough getting through lunch with this kiddo! This has inspired me to start thinking about it again!

  2. yes! where are those books from?! and if they're yours, can i pay you to make them for meeeeee :D

  3. awe-some. Thanks for sharing this. And I think it's called "The Fatima Prayer"

  4. We're still working at remembering to get nightly prayers in at bed time - this is great! I'm still new to the rosary too, it's kind of a personal prayer to me right now if that doesn't sound too strange. I love having something that is my own right now, I think it will be something I'll start sharing with the kids later on.

  5. I'd love to know about those books, too! Thanks for sharing that our "ideals" really aren't impossible, they just need a realistic modification or two. As in, only 2-5 Hail Marys. Wonderful thought!

  6. Thanks ladies! I did sew the books myself. I toyed with the idea of making some to sell, but to be honest I have several other projects that trump any time I'd have to do it. Maybe in the future? In the meantime, if you want to make them yourself, it's actually really easy - just download the images here: http://paperdali.blogspot.com/2011/10/rosary-for-littles.html and then print them off on iron-on transfer paper, then sew up the little books. Or even easier, just laminate them like the gal suggests :)

  7. Blast! I would TOTALLY screw those up... I can't sew a straight line to save my life. And a button hole? HA! I might fiddle around with it sometime!

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  9. Have you thought again about selling these? :)

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