For the past 8 years, seniors at Oakton Place in Des Plaines have been making rosaries with the help of the talented people from St. Raymond de Penafort in Mount Prospect. Seniors at Oakton Place strings approximately 1,200 rosaries each year, and those rosaries reach locations all over the world including Haiti, China and Ireland and locally to prisons, schools and prayer groups. Most recently, the rosaries accompanied food and other supplies delivered to Central Illinois after their devastating tornado. For seniors at Oakton Place, making rosaries is an opportunity to be part of the wider community making a difference as they share their time and talent.
It all started in 1996 when Rose Urban was in Florida and felt called to learn how to make a Mission Rosary out of string and plastic beads. She brought that skill back to her home parish, St. Raymond's. Now, 18 years later, that group has grown to 35 regular Rosary Makers who continue to meet every Tuesday at St. Raymond's to craft beautiful handmade Rosaries. The current coordinator, Evelyn Mutzabaugh, said that when the group meets they pray for the needs of the community while enjoying one another's company.
The Rosary is one of the most cherished prayers of the Catholic Church. Prayer beads help count the repeated prayers to aid in meditation on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Catholics often pray this prayer together or individually.
After the group at St. Raymond's had been stringing beads for 10 years, Rose Marie Petitte, one of the founding members, offered to teach residents of Oakton Place "the ropes" on a weekly basis. Residents at Oakton come together to learn how to make the rosaries and engage with one another and share their spiritual journey. "At Oakton Place we strive to integrate mind, body and spirit. In creating rosary beads to be used all over the world, our seniors are integrating all 3 spheres, remaining active, purposeful and useful, while deepening their own faith. We are grateful to St. Raymond's for helping us help," said executive director Jay Lewkowitz.
Mrs. Petitte and Mrs. Mutzabaugh deliver supplies to Oakton Place and teach residents how to create the well-known prayer beads. Later, they return to Oakton Pavilion to pick up the residents' handiwork for distribution. Those Rosaries have found their ways to local ministries and to the mission fields. In the 18 years since the Rosary Maker Group's founding, over 161,000 rosaries have been lovingly made and distributed free of charge.
"Many people receiving our rosaries learn how to pray for the first time, feel a sense of hope, begin to seek a deeper relationship with God, or return to Church. The rosary seems to be an evangelical tool, and all the rosary makers feel privileged and blessed to be participating in this wonderful ministry of peace," stated Mrs. Mutzabaugh.
Supplies to make the Rosaries cost over $2,500 per year (including shipping costs) for an annual distribution of approximately 18,000 rosaries. Donations come from many generous sources and give the Rosary Makers the supplies to continue their mission.
It is a fun activity that gives an opportunity to share one's handiwork as an expression of faith, hope and love. If you are interested in learning more or making a donation, please contact Evelyn at St. Raymond's Church by calling 847-392-4554 or email at mutzyclan