One of the wonderful friars from the NY province asked me for a rosary a few months back. While I found it tough to work my rosary-making skill into my school, ministry, prayer, and community time, I realize that this is still something that give me joy and allows me to enter into a state of prayer.
Today I finished the rosary and went out on the roof to get a few pictures of the rosary.
Most of the rosaries I make for the friars tend to be very simple. Perhaps it’s an extension of the Franciscan understanding of poverty and joyful simplicity, but quite often the friars don’t seek all the “extras” that are available on some rosaries. The biggest concern I get from the guys is that a side rosary shouldn’t “fall apart” and it needs to stand up to car doors, pews, little kids, and the numerous other tugs that can happen while wearing their rosary. As I continue to make rosaries, I seek new methods and materials to ensure that the rosaries will last.
One of the most distinguishing marks of a habit rosary is the choice of cross. The Dominican cross, the Benedictine cross, and the Mercy cross are all distinct examples of crosses or crucifixes used by groups. These rosary pendants weren’t made just for their look or even symbolism…rather there is a unique theology built within each that, in some way, expresses the charism of the religious who wears it. The Dominican Crucifix uses the colors of white and black to represent truth overcoming heresy. The white/black contrast also reflects the white habit with their black coppas, earning them the name of the Black Friars.
For Capuchins, the cross is wood without a corpus. As followers of Francis who sought to live a life as found in the Gospel, we’ve traditionally not had a corpus because the wearer is the image of the risen Christ to be shared with all people. It’s a wonderful image, and wholeheartedly a Franciscan one.
That’s not to say someone is wrong because they wear a different cross than others in their province or Order. The traditions and theology behind the wearing of a habit rosary are vast and, in some instances, are always developing.
I’ve started work on another 15 decade rosary. I’ll post pictures as the work for that project begins.