Spiritual Sites


What I call my “relics”. These are not historical or sacred in any way except to me. 1. (Top left): Dried flowers and rock along with holy water from St. Elen’s Well in Wales. 2. (Bottom left): The top and bottom of a rock from what is still standing of my mother-in-law’s uncle’s house in Northern Ireland. 3. (Top right): A shell and a rock (or a fossilized rock) from Ballintoy. 4. Middle right): Holy water and pebble from St. Olcan’s Holy Well and a rock from the Cranfield Church ruins as well as the top and bottom of the rocks from the site. 5. (Bottom right): The dried flowers and rock from St. Elen’s Well without the holy water pictured. (c)2017

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Stuff and Things – Rosaries




My First Rosary

Growing up Jewish, rosaries were as unfamiliar to me as the Chinese language. I’m not sure I ever saw one outside of a television show, and even then it would have been a fully habitted nun.

When I first began attending Mass, the woman sitting in front of me prayed her rosary before the mass. Every morning I would walk in, sit behind her, and glance over her shoulder as she worked the beads. It was both equally intriguing and foreign to me.

In the Fall of 2013, I traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia to participate in a LARP (think dinner and a show except there’s no audience) and Premiere Viewing of Supernatural. I was staying with a friend who was working on props for the event. Among her prop work, she gave me my first rosary, the one in the second picture, that she made for me by hand. It’s beautiful. It is in my two favorite colors: greens and silver. I was touched that she would spend the time and honor me with her gift. As soon as I returned to New York, I brought it to my priest to bless it. It is primarily the rosary that I use. It not only brings me closer to G-d and Jesus and the Blessed Mother, but it also ties me to friendship and love here on earth.

In the first picture are my other rosaries. These were lovely gifts from special people who helped foster my Catholic education.

In the first photo, from left to right:

This gold rosary is very shiny and has the delicate features of a necklace. It was sent to me for Christmas after my baptism from my dear friend and godfather. He stood up for me as a witness at my Easter Vigil, but more importantly, he introduced me to the practicalities of knowing Jesus: compassion, forgiveness, and loving one’s neighbor no matter what. Those three things, those ideals, changed my heart and my life forever.

Second in line is the rosary I’ve already spoken about.

Next is the white one. This is from the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. I was given this by the RCIA teachers who taught me the class on Mary. They are a couple who I know from my memoir writing workshop, and they have a large devotion to Mary. They collect Mary statues and pictures/icons from all over the world, and they are magnificent. This rosary comes in a little clear box with a gold picture of the shrine/Fatima icon.

The fourth is not actually a rosary, but a chaplet. Chaplets have less beads than a rosary, and are personal prayer devotionals. This one is the chaplet of St. Anne’s, and was a gift on my baptism day from another couple who taught me during the RCIA program.

I don’t pray the rosary daily, but I will often be called to at the oddest moments, and I try to stop, take a breather, and pray.