Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Teaching children to pray the rosary

One of the things we started doing this summer was working on our family prayer life. When my mom-in-law was scheduled to go in for surgery, I spotted the perfect opportunity to start family rosary time with the kids.

Sounds impressive, but I should tell you that it wasn't until just this year that I started praying the rosary every night. It took me my entire life to learn the rosary... and I'm a life-long Catholic!

It's never too late to get started, right? (How To Pray the Rosary Everyday is a great place to learn more if you're curious, even if you aren't Catholic.)

I thought we'd kick off our family rosary time with a special intention for my mom-in-law, who was scheduled to go in for surgery a few days later. After saying one decade each day, we'd make a tissue paper flower for each set of prayers we said for her. I had it all planned out, so everything would go perfectly:
  1. Line the children up at Miss C.'s bed, everyone kneeling quietly.
  2. Prayerfully say one decade of the rosary together each day.
  3. Pat myself on the back for being Super Mama.
Here's what really happened:
  1. Attempt to line up kids in a row at Miss C.'s bed. 
  2. Stress out internally (and try not to snap at the kids) as Miss C. does a kneel/flop combo over and over, Master W. squirms and whines about having to say even one Hail Mary, and Little Miss C. flops on the bed while snatching rosaries and swinging them wildly about.
  3. Pray every night for patience and grace, and thank God when each day gets a little bit easier.
In the end, it wasn't the perfect prayerful exercise I had envisioned in my head, but my two older kids were super proud of themselves when we finished. And now that we've been doing it daily for a few months, everyone is in the routine and morning rosary time goes quite smoothly most days. Now:
  1. Miss C. kneels quietly and starts us with an opening prayer.
  2. Master W. kneels quietly and proudly prays the entire decade.
  3. Little Miss C. still wildly swings the rosaries sometimes, but mostly seems content to take my extra rosary in and out of our little rosary bags.
Success! It's been a great way to help my children develop their relationship with Jesus and I just love that we start each day with a special devotion to the Blessed Mother.
As to our tissue paper flower bouquet, it turned out to be a great project! My original inspiration for the project came from Call Her Happy, where I found a link to some very easy tutorials. Miss C. wrote each set of prayers on the leaves, arranged the bouquet and picked a ribbon for the vase. My mom-in-law was very touched and still has the bouquet on display in her kitchen several months later.


  1. Good morning, Michelle. I must warn you that this is going to be long so you may not want to be cooking while you are reading this.LOL. First of all, let me say how proud I am that you are teaching your children to pray. Prayer is very important and I think children should know that we have a Heavenly Father we can talk to and that He loves us no matter what. You may think your little one isn't paying attention, but trust me, she is learning more than you think.
    Okay, now here we go with the questions. First of all, you already know that I don't know much about your faith, but I would like to know. I have never seen the Rosary in person, and what I know, I saw in a movie. I was really surprised at all the prayers that went along with the Rosary. I also learned that you made your own. So how do you know what beads to use? And what prayers to say at each bead? Are the beads different colors for each set of prayers? Are the beads the same kind that are used for jewelry making? I was also surprised when it said that the beads were used by Christians and non-Christians. But after thinking about it, I realized that anyone can pray to our Father. I am really interested in hearing all about this and a little curious too. Thank you so much for sharing and I will try not to ask so many questions the next time. Take care.

    1. Hi Joyce! I love all of your questions, and I'm always happy to attempt an answer! You are always welcome to ask as many questions as you'd like.

      Okay, so I'm going to take the roundabout way to answer your questions... Let's see how this goes:

      A rosary is always made the same way. There is always a crucifix at the bottom and a medal (often with Jesus on one side and Mary on the other, or Mary on the front only) where the loop meets the bottom strand. If you look at the rosary, you'll notice there are only two kids of beads on it: a larger and a small size. The larger beads always represent the Our Father and the smaller beads always represent the Hail Mary prayer.

      I don't know the technical rules about which beads to choose for the rosary, but having seen many rosaries over the years (and owning quite a few myself), I can tell you they all generally have simple, unadorned beads. There are no extra decorations, with the exception of a saint medal being added on occasion. It's beauty shines from the simple beads, and the images of our crucified Lord and his mother Mary.

      To pray the rosary, you start at the crucifix and pray the Apostles Creed. Then you move up to the large bead, pray the Our Father. Then move up to the three smaller beads, praying three Hail Mary prayers for an increase in Faith, Hope and Charity. Then, in the space between the third Hail Mary and the larger Our Father, you pray the Glory Be and the Fatima prayer. Then, you announce the first Mystery and begin with the Our Father (larger bead). After that, you move past the medal at the center, and begin the 10 Hail Mary prayers. Praying the 10th Hail Mary, a Glory Be and Fatima prayer brings you to the end of the decade. Then you announce the second decade and begin again with the Our Father, continuing on until you finish the fifth decade. At that point, you will have gone all the way around the loop and end at the Mary medal, at which point you pray the Hail Holy Queen and the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

      There are four sets of Mysteries (Joyful, Glorious, Luminous and Sorrowful), each with five parts (one for each decade). I have an app on my phone that helps me remember which Mystery to pray each day of the week. Each Mystery is a meditation on the life and death of Christ, as well as the life of His Blessed Mother Mary.

      The rosary is an amazing way to pray, and really brings us closer to Christ and our Blessed Mother. I know that's a LOT of information... but I hope I've answered your questions! Please let me know if you have any others. I love talking about my faith!

    2. Thank you so much, Michelle. I really enjoyed learning all of this. It is truly fascinating. I appreciate you taking the time to explain it farther. I had read some of this on the link. Okay- now one more thing. Will you explain what it means by a decade ? I didn't understand this part.The rest makes perfect sense to me. Wow! There sure is a lot to know. But it really is so very interesting.
      When I was very young, I wanted to be a nun more than anything and I wanted to work with the children. The other day, I was talking to a friend about this and she was really surprised. Not many people know this because I haven't told very many. I think I would have been very dedicated.

    3. You're very welcome! I believe that the decade comes from the Latin word "decad", which signifies a group or series of 10. And since there are 10 Hail Mary prayers in each section of the rosary and Catholic tradition is rooted in Latin, it's referred to as a decade.

      I love that story about you wanting to be a nun as a little girl. What a wonderful childhood aspiration!

  2. I am glad that you kept at it, your prayers seem to have worked as your MIL is back home again and well and you have worked out things with the children to do this each day which is what you hoped for, so good all round and well done you I say! xx

    1. Thank you, Amy! It was definitely worth it. My children love to pray the rosary now and I pray that we will keep always keep it a family tradition. xo

  3. Thank you for sharing your faith. I just became a follower and will look forward to more posts.

    1. You are so sweet. Thank you for your kind words and for becoming a follower. I hope you enjoy reading! xoxo