Due to unemployment, and thus financial hardship, I have changed my policy of not adding labor cost to my rosaries. I hope that you can understand why this is necessary and will continue to support my apostolate. At this time I need to support my family with my skills and resources. I have not added much to the cost of each item -- not as much as most vendors would, doubling or tripling their cost -- but just enough to contribute a small amount to my family's income.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Luigi's Rosary


About a month ago I received an email from a gentleman who was in possession of a broken rosary. He wondered could I fix it? I gave him directions to get the rosary in the mail and a week or so later it arrived. So did the rosary's story.

Part of the reason that I love working on broken rosaries is because each rosary has a story. I love to finger the beads that have been fingered by someone before me, especially old rosaries that have had many prayers. The rosary that arrived belonged to the gentleman's wife's great-grandfather, Luigi.

Luigi, apparently, was an interesting man. He was "chased" out of Italy by the fascists and he moved his family to northern California. Though he was an educated man, he arrived speaking no English and could not work as a laborer. He helped many other Italians immigrate to America and helped them find homes and jobs, eventually creating the Italian Catholic Federation (click over to see his picture) to bring Italian immigrants back to their Catholic faith.

Luigi's rosary was gorgeous. Well, not at first, but what was underneath the tarnish was gorgeous. Apparently at some point a domestic worker in the family stole the crucifix from the rosary after Luigi died. And at some point one of the links broke, but other than the tarnish and the missing crucifix it was in pretty good shape -- quality workmanship.

I spent some hours polishing off the tarnish and after finishing a decade or two I was amazed at what was underneath.

This is not a great photo, but you can see how black the beads and chain were. At first, I thought the beads were hematite or another dark stone, but as soon as I started polishing I realized it was entirely sterling silver. After getting all the tarnish off, the owner and I worked on choosing the right crucifix and I repaired the broken link. And voila.

Luigi's rosary is hopefully as beautiful as it was when he held it in his own hands. It was a sincere privilege to work on it.



Elly said...

That is a magnificent rosary. You did a fabulous job restoring it.

It reminds of the beautiful silver one my father had for probably 30 years. I remember it so well when, as children, he would show us the tiny silver tear on the cheek of the Blessed Mother at the centerpiece. He lost it a few years ago.

We think it was stolen at the airport when he went through security. He was picking up some relatives who had come for my sister's wedding. He was in a hurry and didn't notice that he didn't still have his rosary pouch.

We've often tried to find an exact replica for him but he got it in the late 1950s when he was in Italy. He has a new rosary, of course, but that one was so lovely. We just pray that it came to the hands of one who would appreciate it and use it.

Julia said...


Renee said...

Barbara, I was deeply moved by this post. Thank you. I must find my special broken rosaries amidst my crazy household and get in touch with you to fix them for me some day in the future. You make the most fabulous rosaries, so lovely, so beautiful and so special. God Bless.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing it!! Wow, the rosary looks so beautiful, what a difference, what a treasure underneath, kind of like us humans, huh? Under all the gunk, we are each treasures to God and others. That's what I got out of it anyway!

Jessica said...

What a wonderful story Barbara, and the rosary is absolutely beautiful!

Sarah (JOT) said...


Sarah said...

Beautiful story and beautiful rosary! What a blessed opportunity you had to work on it!