About Those Beads….

Oh boy, what beads? I love beads! Always have!

I want to talk about the most special set of beads I know or have seen, ever.

These beads are beads from my husband, made for and given to his son.  These beads, they are special ones indeed.

Yup, you guessed it, this post is another in my series on my son’s entry into religious life.  As you all surely know, my Chris is now living this year as a Novice with the Dominican Eastern Province of St. Joseph.  He now goes by the name of Brother Peter Joseph – a whole ‘nother post coming on that one.  {I need to get a sidebar for my posts that are in the ‘mini-series mode’…it would make my life a bit simpler, at the very least. Hmm, site maintenance on my to-do list…}  There is still so much to talk about with this new step in my son’s life.  So much change and so much adjusting going on, for him, for us, for the family as a whole.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s almost all good.  But it’s, well, it’s a lot of adjusting and transition too.

Anyhow, THIS post, this post is about those beads.

When Chris was getting ready to go to the Novitiate, he was given a list of things to bring. (I’ve decided to use Chris when talking about prenovitiate time and Bro Peter Joseph when talking about the time after he took his new name…keeps my head from spinning.  Hope this helps you keep up too.)    It was a VERY short list.  It was the basics, really, because that’s all he really needs. Heck, it’s all any of us really need, right? Right.  But, it was the usual stuff: a set of work clothes and exercise clothes, underwear, socks, tennis shoes, black shoes, limited personal toiletries, a breviary, bible, etc.  Then, there were two “habit specific” items: a 1.5 -2″ black belt and a 15 decade rosary.  That’s it.  That was the list of must bring items, with any additional items strongly discouraged.  Vow of poverty, simple life, and all… These list items were things he already possessed, except the belt (oddly enough) and the rosary.  The belt was an easy get, of course.  The rosary..well, it could have been an easy get.  A quick drive down to St Mary’s bookstore, where they have a lovely selection of rosaries of all types and stripes….

But, in thinking of it, this rosary was kind of special.  It needed, ideally, to be one that can last.  Stand the test of time flying and fingers praying.  Stand the test of wearing, day in and day out, through the bumps and knocks of any given task, however mundane: dishes, serving, laundry, singing, praying, studying, and so on. So this rosary needed to be durable, but also have a good feel.  Not flashy, but not cheap and breakable and something to worry over.   No surprise then, that Tom, Coffedoc, the dad…he had the idea to make one.

Now, permit me an aside: we parents were keenly feeling this move approaching.  But you already know that.  And, as parents are wont to do, world over, we wanted to send something with our boy/young man/beloved son.  I had even made him a small painting of St. Dominic, in case he could bring such a thing for his room.   Chris said he couldn’t take it with him.  Ouch.  But. Ok.  We couldn’t give him money – vow of poverty and all.  We couldn’t give him lovely THINGS – vow. poverty. simplicity.  No  cashmere socks, ha! No fancy watch.  We couldn’t give him electronics – vow. poverty. simplicity.  You get the idea.  I know, I know, it was desperation of the departure taking it’s toll. Foolishly or not, we had the very strong urge to give him a part of ourselves…somehow.    Even though of course, he was and IS a part of ourselves, built in, and that travels with him no matter where he goes.  Still.  The urge was there.  Thus, when Tom hit on the idea to make the rosary, Chris kindly said, ok.  It was a kindness, he was unsure if it was a good idea or if there was time.  But he knew, we all knew, that if it could be done in time, it would be.  So he said, “Ok, Dad, that’d be great.”

Thus began a kind of lovely intense time leading up to the departure for the novitiate.  Chris and Tom spent a lot of time together…looking for the crucifix, selecting the right one.  Finding a crucifix prayed over by another Dominican, a sister from years ago, worn just right and with the heft of time and prayer.  Simple, lovely.  They pondered what made a good feel to a rosary, the materials used to string it: wire, links, string…what would be best, lasting, have a good feel.  What size beads, what material, what heft, what feel?  It sounds like a lot of fussing, but it wasn’t fussing, it was a joint project and it was time together, talking, evaluating, hanging out.   Chris didn’t want it too precious, needed to pull back his father’s natural urge to find the most amazing special coolest ever parts of this or that….remind dad again of the simple life he is thinking of, being possibly called to.  Nudge, pull, push…listen, understand.  Both of them.

Finally, the parts were in.  All materials needed to be and ended up the simplest, not expensive, but strong.  The crucifix and centerpiece found and arrived, agreed that they were “just right.”  The beads arrived, wooden black beads, just right.  The cord to string it all, finally, located and brought home (harder than it would seem, that one).  The length determined, adjusted, fixed.  The knots practiced, tried, adjusted.  Different knots for between the beads, then the decades. Special knots for the crucifix and the centerpiece; complicated beautiful and secure.  Thus, finally, the actual making of this special rosary could begin.  This sweet dad, he stayed up into the wee hours many nights, he knotted and he pulled and measured and tested, knotted, reknotted, redid it to perfection.  Almost.  Tom would point out, here, “No, not perfect.”

But it was perfect. It IS perfect.  The entire process was pure gift of himself.  To his son.  It makes me cry to type it, it means so much to each of them, but so too, to me.  The hours put it, a prayer over each bead, each knot, for his boy.  Each time our son, now Brother Peter Joseph, prays that rosary (which is daily) his fingers slip across the same beads and knots that his father too held in prayer and love.  He carries that, all that, tied to his belt with him, at all times.  That very rosary stays hooked on his belt and habit.

Thus, my son, carries a huge piece of his father’s heart and love with him, always.

And  yes, of course, he does anyhow.  With or without that particular rosary.  We know that. He knows that.  But, those beads.  Those deep brown black beads…. They are a tangible touchable reminder, for him and for us…that we are linked through prayer and beyond time.  That particular rosary – I can say because I only watched the whole deal, I have no personal glory here – it is stunning.  It is simple.  It is beautiful.  Not only because my husband can tie knots like nobody’s business, not only because he is a master craftsman.  But because that rosary is the tangible embodiment of a father’s deepest love and prayers for his son and entrustment to our Blessed Mother through those seemingly simple brown beads.

Now, Brother Peter Joseph, receiving the habit and with it, the beads

So, yeah, it’s about the beads…in so many ways, they are kinda special.

7 thoughts on “About Those Beads….

  1. My immediate reaction was “beyond beautiful.” Still is. Then a half second later I keep scrolling and see graceling had the same reaction. I imagine this post will have the same effect on others. Truly tangible love. I am in awe.

  2. Such a Sacred gift given to your Son…..the Rosary. Our Blessed Mother continues to give this gift to so many time and again!! I LOVE praying the Rosary, and, am so thankful that our Father in Heaven would want us all to have this most Sacred gift, too!!

    Such an amazing gift for your Son!

    I wonder if you ever got around to reading the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul? I am a Roman Catholic, who after reading Saint Faustina’s Diary has been moved deeper into my Faith for so many reasons…one of those reasons is knowing, through Saint Maria Faustina’s words, given to her by Jesus and Blessed Mother, is how much Jesus treasures chosen Religious men and women…..your Son, he is one of those!! Another amazing gift!! Just knowing that there are chosen Religious men and women who pray daily, 24/7, for all of us is powerful! And, oh how they, how we, are all loved!!

    Thank you to your and your beautiful family for sharing, always sharing!!

  3. How special that is!

    I have my grandmother’s rosary — She prayed it regularly and it was with her body in her casket. But when I commented on it, my mother and her sisters decided she’s want me to have it, rather than be buried with it. It’s beautiful and when I use it for prayer, it links me to her and the many prayers she offered over the years.

  4. This is such a beautiful gift of love and of self from your husband to your dear son. It must comfort you both to think of him praying his beads with this precious rosary.

    Would you mind sharing where your husband found the wooden beads? I make rosaries and I’m going to be making one for a seminarian. I’m having a tough time sourcing good quality wooden beads. Thank you so much and may your son persevere in his holy vocation and your family be blessed! (My email is cj_lapier at hotmail dot com)

  5. Pingback: Knot Again…. | Another Espresso, Please

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