Prayers & Meditations
Traditional Prayers: The words of many of the prayers — and the combinations of prayers — which are traditionally used when praying the Rosary or chaplets.
How to pray the Holy Rosary: An introduction to the beads. The order of the prayers. The Mysteries as the essence of praying the Rosary. What exactly the sets of Mysteries are. The days of the week dedicated to praying each set of Mysteries.
How to pray chaplets: The order and words of the prayers for the most popular chaplets can be found on our “Traditional Prayers” page — look under “chaplets,” “Peace Chaplet,” and “Irish Penal chaplet.”
”My Treasury of Chaplets,” by Patricia S. Quintiliani, includes the prayers and the bead configurations for well over a hundred chaplets, some with photos. The author notes that the book is compiled from approved sources. Introduction by Father Vincent P. Miceli. Published by Ravengate Press.
The Jesus Prayer, the Prayer of the Heart:
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, “This prayer is possible at all times, because it is not one occupation among many, but the only occupation." Through the Jesus Prayer, "the heart is opened." — CCC, 2667-68.
The Orthodox Prayer Rope, its history, and its importance in our spiritual life, are covered in this excellent and thorough article by Dr. Alexander Roman, included here with his permission.
”Saying the Jesus Prayer,” an inspirational, excellent article by Prof. Albert Rossi, of Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.
“The Jesus Prayer Rosary: Bible Meditations for Praying with Beads,” by Fr. Michael Cleary, SVD, combines praying the Jesus Prayer with sets of meditations drawn from the New Testament. Suitable for use in ecumenical settings, individually or as a group. Focus is on Christ's life, work, passion and death — and on the transformative experience of our life in Christ, Christ as the Risen One. The familiar 5-decade set of rosary beads is used. The book is well-written, well-researched, and amply footnoted. Fr. Cleary reports that the Jesus Prayer Rosary has gotten the okay even from "those who have always been uncomfortable with any kind of rosary, no matter the amount of special pleading to which they were subjected."
The Anglican Rosary: The Episcopal Church developed this set of prayers and beads in the 1980s. The history, configuration, and a number of beautiful prayers for the Anglican rosary are well-described at this website of The King of Peace Episcopal Church.
A Lutheran Rosary, intended "to complement Martin Luther's 'A Simple Way to Pray,'" was designed in 2008. An illustrated booklet titled "Praying the Small Catechism with Beads" — describing the beads, the prayers, and the meditations — used to be available through the ECLA, and may still be found online.
Another Lutheran rosary — called “The Pearls of Life,” or “The Wreath of Christ” — was designed "for the modern pilgrim, setting out on the most difficult of journeys — the inner one," by Bishop Emeritus Martin Lonnebo, of the Swedish Lutheran Church, as an aid to focus prayer and meditation.
Historic Prayer Beads
Medieval Prayer Beads: Paternoster Row is a Chris Laning’s site devoted to historical rosaries and paternoster beads prior to 1600 in Western Europe. Info on the social history of prayer beads, including medieval rosary-making guilds. Photos of old rosaries, including an exceptional antique rosary with beads in the shape of skulls, which open to reveal tiny scenes of Christ's life. Many excellent images of rosaries in art — medieval paintings and woodcuts depicting people using rosaries, paternosters, and other types of prayer beads. Well-researched and fun to read. Highly recommended.
The Rosary Workshop site, in the "Museum” area, has photos of antique rosaries — many in configurations not often seen today. Lots of photos of old works of art that show folks holding (and wearing) rosaries, chaplets, and paternosters.
“Signs and Symbols in Christian Art,” by George Ferguson, is a wonderful book about what the symbols in our artwork signify. Some symbols we knew — the olive, the rainbow — but others were new to us — the peach! the lark! There is a valuable section describing symbols associated with Old Testament figures, and another on the lives of Saints, explaining the symbols associated with each. Published by Oxford University Press.
“Church Symbolism,” by F. R. Webber and Ralph Adams Cram. This is a fascinating book, engagingly written. The most complete book we've found on the subject. Very clear, well-drawn illustrations. Excellent index. From Kessinger Publishing's Rare Reprints (reprinted from the 1938 edition published by J. H. Jansen).
“Crosses and Crucifixes.” Types, origins, and the meanings of the symbols. This very interesting website is based on the extensive collection of Rev. Stanley L. Stiver. Many excellent images.
“Art and the Bible:” Mostly from the Renaissance through the post-impressionists, arranged by topic and by artist. Images of paintings, sculptures, and the interiors of churches.
Contemporary iconography: Brother Robert Lentz uses traditional iconographic forms in non-traditional ways. Be forewarned that some find his work heretical in style and in substance. It appeals to us, though — we find it beautiful and powerful. He's a Franciscan Friar, a member of the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and belongs to the Byzantine Rite. His work is handled by Trinity Stores.
Contemporary crosses, medals, holy-water fonts, statues and plaques, and church supplies: The work of artists at the Abbey of Maria Laach, Engino Weinert, the Community of the Sisters of Bethlehem, and Butzon and Merker — among others — can be found at Creator Mundi, and at the Rosary Workshop.
”The How-To Book of Sacramentals,” by Ann Ball, covers all kinds of sacramentals, including gestures like the sign of the cross, Holy Water, sacramental oil for blessings, special foods, icons and artwork, garments, herbs — and chaplets and rosaries, of course. Introductions by Most Rev. J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., Titular Archbishop of Vertara, Secretary of Catholic Education, and by Rev. Anselm Walker, St. Basil's Byzantine Catholic Center, Houston, Texas. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division.
Hebrew and Christian Scriptures:
A fun place to browse is Fr. Paul Couture’s "Basic Sites for Scripture Study." Fr Couture has selected, organized and annotated a massive collection of links, for study and for prayer. In the “study” area there's an entire section on Mary and the Bible, another of Women and the Bible, a section on ancient cultures including an interesting link on women in ancient Rome, a really superb section on the Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a valuable section on Jewish-Christian relations. The area of the site devoted to prayer and meditation offers a link on praying the Bible, and a link to the Vatican document in which Popular Piety is called "a treasure of the people of God." Fr. Couture is a Biblical Scholar, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, and co-founder of the graduate program in Theology and Pastoral Studies, at Saint Michael's College, VT.
The Blessed Mother:
The Marion Library and the International Marion Research Institute at the University of Dayton, Ohio.
The perennial issues of vain repetition in prayer (Matthew 6:7), and the distinction between honoring Mary and worshipping her, are addressed in this lucid series of posts titled ”Protestants and the Rosary,” by Chris Laning, on her blog, Paternosters.
The Orthodox Prayer Rope: “The Historical Development of the Orthodox Prayer Rope and Its Importance to Our Spiritual Life,” by Dr. Alexander Roman, is reprinted here with his permission. Excellent and thorough article,
History of the Jesus Prayer, the Prayer of the Heart, and prayer ropes can be found on our “About” page.
History of the Holy Rosary and the Hail Mary Prayer can be found on our “About” page.
History of Chaplets, including the beloved Irish Penal Chaplet, can be found on our “About” page.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — USCCB
Website areas include "Prayer and Worship," "Beliefs and Teachings," and "Issues and Actions." Readings, news, reviews, podcasts.
The website of the Vatican, the Holy See
Archives, resource library, publishing house, liturgical calendar, Catechism of the Catholic Church, documents of Vatican II, Code of Canon Law, info about the Saints, and info about the Vatican museums.
Does fudge belong here? Is there anyplace fudge does not belong?
This fudge is made by the Trappist monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani in central Kentucky. One of us grew up in Kentucky, and has felt, all her life, a warm connection with this Abbey. Every Christmas of her life, on the dinner table there have been fruitcakes and cheeses from the Abbey of Gethsemani. Her Dad and uncles and grandfather went on retreats at the Abbey. One of her cousins was privileged to record the plain chant of the Schola of the Abbey. She grew up hearing the adults of the family speaking highly of Thomas Merton — the brilliant writer, dedicated to the principles of social responsibility, human solidarity, and interfaith dialogue — who was a monk at the Abbey. And just lately she has discovered the monks' Bourbon Fudge. Visit their store at www.gethsemanifarms.org.
Other Rosary Makers
"We believe that rosary makers should not be in competition with one another in any way, as we are each called into this ministry by powers greater. We are all working for the same God and the same goal, to eventually bring peace into this world."
— Margot Carter-Blair, founder of the Rosary Workshop
We haven't met Margot, but we've learned a great deal from her — most importantly, how rosary makers should relate to one another. We thank Margot, and everyone at the Rosary Workshop, for being a source of information, inspiration and wisdom for the rest of us. Please visit their website — it's first on the list, below.
The Rosary Workshop:
Offers hundreds of gloriously beautiful, artistic handmade rosaries — incorporating vintage and antique beads, and unusual contemporary beads. Their rosaries are strung on Soft Flex jewelers' cable, and are not only beautiful but durable — "heirloom rosaries."
Alan Creech Rosaries:
Inexpensive rosaries, plain and simple, Franciscan-inspired. Suitable for "an ordinary guy." Single-decade men's rosaries, for keeping in your pocket. Alan makes these with braided cotton string, San Damiano crucifixes, and natural beads — horn, stone, and wood. Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox.
Design your own Catholic rosary — select the beads, crucifix, and center, and Custom Rosaries will make it for you.
The Fatima Project:
Sacrifice beads made with carabiner clips. Religious jewelry. Handmade rosaries of natural stone, glass, and cloisonee. Irish penal rosaries.
Intriguingly-designed rosary bracelets with five movable Pater beads — as well as beaded and chained handmade rosaries and chaplets. Mary aspires to "create a prayer piece that is inspirational, affordable and lasting."
Handmade-to-order, sterling rosaries with gemstones, lampwork, cloisonné. A delightful Easter chaplet of cloisonné eggs!
Meinssen Handmade Rosaries:
Offers truly beautiful handmade chained rosaries — "crafted in the classic style." Meticulous workmanship. Gorgeous. Anne is a pleasure to do business with.
Morning Star Rosaries:
Handcrafted Catholic rosary beads, single decade rosaries, devotional chaplets and rosary bracelets. Beaded and wire wrapped rosaries in sterling and bronze. Wide selection of Baptism, Communion and Confirmation rosaries.
Hand-tied Eastern-Orthodox woolen prayer ropes, in a variety of lengths. Also icons!
Presentation Art Studio:
Rosaries for men. Crosses handmade of Blood Wood (Colossians 1:20). Our Father beads handmade of clay (Isaiah 64:8). Hardwood (ebony, redwood, rosewood) and terracotta Ave beads. These men's rosaries would appeal to many women.
The Rosary Shop
Custom-made rosaries, and flower petal rosaries made from your own flowers.
The Sisters of Carmel:
Rosaries handmade by the Carmelite Sisters. The Sisters of Carmel offer chained and cord rosaries, First Communion and Confirmation rosaries, Mother's Day and Father's Day rosaries, and rosary bracelets. Orders for custom-made rosaries are welcome. They've also got nice brown scapulars, handmade by the nuns.
Via Rosa has closed shop, but has left photos online of some lovely rosaries and chaplets which may be inspirational; and has prayers in Spanish, Portuguese and English.
Rosary Parts & Instructions
Excellent source for sterling and bronze rosary parts cast from vintage and antique pieces. They also offer rosary-making supplies and tools for strung rosaries. At their site you'll find clear instructions for making your own strung rosaries.
"Older than dirt. Guaranteed Authentic." Want an ancient, medieval or byzantine artifact for your rosary? Here's the place. Fascinating and beautiful old crosses and crucifixes — some of them reliquaries or encolpions. Gabriel also has some larger medieval and byzantine ceremonial crosses. "100% Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity."
Ave Maria's Circle:
Supplies for making mission rosaries, very nice base metal crucifixes and centers, beads at modest prices — as well as scapulars.
Reproduction bronze rosary parts, antiqued wire, bead caps, and supplies "for your vintage inspired rosary."
Hand-dyed rosary twine in absolutely fabulous colors. Also — amazingly! — glow in the dark rosary twine.
"How to Make an Orthodox Prayer Rope" video from Saint Innocent Monastic Community teaches how to make the knots, join the loop, form the tassel, and two ways to knot a cross. The method is the one taught by Mother Apolinaria of Holy Dormition Monastery in Michigan.
Lewis and Company:
For 50 years — three generations — the Lewis family has been offering rosary-making supplies. They have a huge selection, from ornate sterling silver crucifixes to matte black plastic ones for military rosaries, habit rosary materials, mission rosary parts, Irish rosary parts, kits, cord, eye pins, wire, beads.
Meinssen Rosary Metals:
Carries silicon bronze wire! That exclamation point is well-earned; we spent many, many long months searching. Anne also carries wire in several other alloys, to match your crucifixes and centers, as well as bronze jumprings, and brass chain. Beautiful crosses, crucifixes and medals not available anywhere else.
Our Lady's Rosary Makers:
For less than 13 cents (yes), you can purchase all the supplies to make a complete mission rosary. Besides inexpensive parts and kits for mission rosaries, OLRM also carries parts in sterling silver and vermeil (gold over sterling) for special rosaries. Free downloadable instructions for making cord or wire rosaries. Instructions for starting a rosary-making guild. A non-profit apostolate since 1949.
Now carries some bronze findings, and is a great source for durable, high-quality rosary making pliers and cutters.
Rosary Army Corp:
Video instructions for making an all-twine knotted rosary. A Catholic public charity, the Rosary Army provides a free knotted-twine rosary to anyone, anywhere.
The Rosary Shop:
A stupendously large selection of crucifixes, crosses, centers for rosaries, holy medals, and also beads. Design your own rosary from these parts, and either have them assemble it for you, or have it sent to you in kit form, to assemble yourself. Kits for baptismal rosaries, mission rosary kits, a kit for a nice men's confirmation rosary. They also offer prie dieu, prayer kneelers.
Saint Joseph's Mail Order:
A splendid selection of inexpensive rosary parts. Very nice designs, including a Stations of the Cross crucifix, a Theotokos crucifix, an unusual Trinity crucifix, the Pardon crucifix, a beautiful Tree of Life crucifix, a Eucharist crucifix — as well as centers, chaplet medals, and findings.