Rosary beads

For many Christians, rosaries are an essential tool in keeping the Christian faith close to heart and mind. Christian believers see the rosary as the Gospel in beaded form and serve as both an aid in memory and for meditative prayer as well. The rosary has likewise been looked at as the life of Jesus as seen through Mary’s eyes.

However, not only the Catholics use the rosary. Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims have their own rosaries. Rosaries are made up of beads knotted in a cord, typically used to keep track on the exact number of prayers recited. The Catholic rosary consists of 50 beads, each divided into five decades (with 10 beads in each decade) representing the five mysteries.

Important dates in the history of rosary beads The first concept of the rosary beads were conceived by the Desert Fathers who used prayer rope in the 4th century to count the times the Jesus Prayer had been repeated. In the year 1075, Lady Godiva, an Anglo-Saxon wife of a nobleman, used precious stones that she tied into a cord in order to exactly count her prayers.

In early to the middle of the 12th century, the repetition of the Hail Mary came to be used as a form of devotion. Also in the same century in 1160, a cord of prayer beads was buried with St. Rosalia’s body. The middle of the 13th century was the birth of the term “rosary” as first used by Thomas of Champitre, but was confined in a Marian context instead of prayer beads.

Many centuries after that, there have been numerous developments in prayers and in 1569 saw the establishment of the modern form of what originally were 15 mysteries, as mandated by Pope Pius V. It was in 1597 that the term “rosary” as prayer beads was recorded.

Rosary beads materials Rosary beads are made from a wide variety of materials like wood, glass, bone, crushed flowers, semi-precious (such as agate, amber, jasper or jet) to precious stones like gold, coral, glided silver, and rock crystal. The 19th and 20th was the birth of rosary beads made from the “bead pea” or “rosary pea”. The contemporary times used glass, wood, and resin to make rosary beads.

Over the years, rosary beads have earned the consideration of sacredness and supposedly never to be worn as jewelry. Some rosary beads have holy water or sacred relics enclosed in them. Such is the case for “olive seeds” said to come from the Garden of Gethsemane or “jet” obtained from the shrine of St. James at the Santiago de Compostela. The rosary has recently had other variants including finger rosaries and bracelet rosaries aside from the long rosary. The essential aspect is to have all 10 beads and a cross to signify the end of one decade. Whatever form or type of rosary beads, the sincerity of praying, repentance, and a clean conscience is what will count in Heaven.

One comment

  • Makito45Yt21
    September 21, 2012 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Very, very nice page! :)

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