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My Grandmother’s Rosary Beads

By Maggie Augustyn, a Parishioner at St. Pius X, Lombard

My Grandmother’s Rosary Beads

I pray each night in my grandmother’s language of faith, a makeshift rosary, which I first remember from more than three decades ago. I close my eyes and fall into prayer to recite the rosary.

My vision darkens into an unparalleled depth. I sink into the comfort of that darkness. I wait to be overcome by peace from that very murk. Despite the black that surrounds me, I have no fear. I wait more. I wait to feel the warmth of God’s love, of our connection. 

As I continue to pray, I pay attention to each word, as if to give it more meaning, a sort of gift to Him above. With each word, I fall deeper into my meditation. I consistently manage to make time to recite the five decades of Hail Marys, all while holding my grandmother’s green rosary under the pillow. 

The dark green beads of the rosary, connected by a silver chain, is the only thing I inherited following her passing. It’s the only thing I can hold that reminds me of putting my head on her lap, crying after a difficult day on the playground. It’s a token of my connection to her and her connection to Him. 

My grandmother went to church every day, rain or shine, snow or mud, especially in her last two decades. She was always present to receive Communion. She did this until the age of 82. She biked to church on nicer days, and on a sunny fall afternoon, she fell off the bike and broke her hip. This led to her passing. This led to me having her dark green rosary.

Holding it each night, I am reminded of her warmth, her caring nature, of the fact that she was the person who loved me the most in the world. And now, with her rosary in my hand, I feel most loved by the person who loved her the most: Christ. 

Prayer is a private and intimate conversation with Jesus. It’s also the most important conversation of our entire day. In submitting our sorrows, anxieties and insecurities to Him, we feel a sense of strength that overcomes us. We feel a sense of freedom coming at us, from having surrendered our concerns and for trusting that He will bring peace onto us. 

Human nature, however, causes us to waver in His strength. And thus, each time I pray, a small part of me fears that He won’t hear me. It pains me to admit that fear can hold me back from what ought to be my complete commitment to His love. 

As morning comes, I carefully examine my sense of self to see if anything has changed, if anything has come from my evening conversation with Him. Initially, I feel no difference, a form of unanswered prayer. I panic.

But, as the day continues, and my prayer falls to the back of my mind, finally, I feel, I see, and I sense that He has heard me. My mind is opened to new solutions, to a renewed way of thinking — that whatever challenge is ahead of me, I can overcome it. 

And I will overcome it with His love. He has given me peace. He has granted me freedom from worry. Giddy and smiling, I want to dance through the day. I am encouraged, and whatever fears held me back are now dissipating. I am celebrating the days to come, having felt His presence, having seen Him listen to my prayer. 

Now I know why my grandmother received Communion each day. And now I rejoice at the thought that He is holding her as a reward.