"Hi Nancy, Thank you, and I am so touched. Your beads are very special with your prayer for me, and custom made to my liking. I will keep you in mind for future gifts, and keep you in my prayers." - Linda, Hollis Center, ME
Several years ago, frustrated with a stagnant prayer life, I bought
a set of Catholic rosary beads and began to experiment with them.
I tried the Catholic manner of praying the Mysteries, but yearned
for something more "Episcopalian". A search for such rosary prayers
yielded nothing, so I decided to write my own.
Using the Book of Common Prayer's Prayers of the People Form VI
as a guide, I devised a rosary that included Praise, Adoration,
Thanksgiving, Petition, Intercession, and Confession. I soon wrote
another incorporating 12-Step prayers, slogans, and principles and
called it my "Recovery Rosary".
As an alto in the church choir, I often found myself "singing the
beads" - using the verses and refrain of favorite hymns, and service
music such as the Venite (Episcopal Hymnal S35), Phos hilaron (S59),
Sanctus, Gloria, and canticles. I experimented with mantras such
as Kyrie eleison and the Jesus Prayer. Even poetry by Rumi or Hafiz
lent itself to prayer with beads. And after beginning mindfulness
meditation practice, I used the beads to simply count my breaths
and be still in mind, body and heart. What had been a dry prayer
life took on a joyful life of its own, bringing me out of my head
and into my heart and body, becoming more personal and vital than
During this time I had also begun making some gemstone jewelry.
I loved handling the stone beads, but never found the time or inclination
to sit down and take it seriously. Then one Easter
I received a gift of Anglican prayer beads. An Episcopal priest had
adapted the Catholic rosary in the 1980's, changing the number of
beads and their usage to correspond with Anglican theology. Before
long the desire to craft my own beads arose and so I taught myself
to make them, using the gemstones I had been collecting for jewelry.
I use the old fashioned eye-pin method rather than stringing them,
because I prefer the look, sound, and feel of that style. I donated
prayer beads to the Episcopal Church Women fundraiser for St. John's
Episcopal Church, my home church in Minden, Louisiana. They were
raffled off and several other people asked me to make a set of beads
for them. The rest, as they say, is history.
I pray over each set of beads as I make them, that the user's
relationship with God will be blessed and vibrant. Originally a
tool for prayer and meditation, it is now the making of the beads
themselves that has become my prayer and meditation. I feel truly
blessed to have been led to such a satisfying ministry and hope
to "pass it on" to as many others as possible.
Nancy attends St. John's Episcopal Church in Minden, Louisiana.