|Short Story of Personalized Rosaries|
People often ask me how Personalized Rosaries got started. Actually it started the same way many other small business start. It was the answer to a prayer.
My husband, Chuck and I had been married 19 years. He had a great job at Miller Brewing Company in machine maintenance. I was a happy housewife. We built our home on a couple of acres of land his father had given us, a piece of the family farm. Grampa, a sweet, elderly widowed man, lived across the street, and a number of other relatives were close by. We had 2 great sons, involved in sports, altar boys, and doing well academically. It was peaceful rural family living in Upstate New York. Everything was perfect. UNTIL..
One fine November day, Miller Brewing Company, the biggest and best paying employer in Central Upstate NY announced without warning, that they were closing their plant in NY. The doors would shut in September forever. Nine hundred employees; i.e., laborers, secretaries, and management would have to look elsewhere for jobs. It was like a death sentence.
Everything in our lives was immediately put on hold. Our oldest son Ryan, a senior in high school, was looking at colleges. "Forget it" we told him, "You will have to go to the local SUNY school and live home until we find out what will happen". And as for me, my husband said, "Get a job!"
Hello .."Get a job???" ME??? "you gotta be kiddin? Me? I'm a housewife. I do PTA, and chair projects for the church. I work on the parish festival, and go to the Ladies Rosary Society, I haven't been in the paid work force for 20 years. The only money I've earned in recent years was acting as a clown for children's birthday parties. Miller just put over 200 top-notch secretaries out of work; they are going to compete for what little is out there! Just what do you think I'm going to do?"
My prayer life took on a whole new aspect.
I had been going to daily mass for 15 years. Even if I found a job (hah ha) it would mean no more mass. Yuk!
By the end of February, things were only worse. The economy in NY seemed to continue in a downward spiral. No one was hiring. It didn't matter how many resumes my husband sent out, or how many skills he had, there just were not any jobs available. Lent had started and I decided to take my prayers for help to Mary.
It was an hour or so before the daily mass was supposed to start. I had decided that I would go to the church an hour early every day during Lent to pray. On this particular day, after getting settled in my pew, I started to pray "Blessed Mother, please tell me what to do. Please help me help out. I've got to find a job that makes some money. I can see Chuck becoming more and more anxious over this. Please help". I reached for my rosary, but couldn't find it. I started fumbling through my purse in a desperate search. Hmm, no luck! I asked the cleaning lady ( the only other person in the church at the time) if she had seen my rosary. "It has my name on it" I told her. She hadn't seen any rosaries, but she told me to check the lost and found table in the back. I started to stuff everything back in my purse, to go look. Suddenly my rosary spilled out, it had fallen into the envelope packet of church offering envelopes. I picked it up, and went up to the altar to show the cleaning lady. She looked at it carefully, and said, "hey, can you make a rosary like this for me". I assured her that I would, and she could give me whatever she thought it was worth to her. I went back to my pew to pray the rosary.
Once again, I petitioned Our Lady to help me find a way to supplement our income, to help me find some kind of work. It was then that Mary spoke to my heart, her voice only audible to my soul. "Make these rosaries and sell them". Sell rosaries??? For profit?? No, that sounds like blasphemy to me Blessed Mother. But once again our Lady spoke to my heart and insisted, "Make these rosaries and sell them, 'The laborer is worth his wage'." I recognized that last phrase. That was a scripture (Luke 10:7). That night, I sat down, picked up a pair of rosary pliers that our ladies Rosary Society had given me to make rosaries for the missions, and made a rosary for the cleaning lady. It had the name of her friend on it. She wanted to give it to her as a gift. I showed the rosary to as many friends as I could. I told them I was making customized rosaries to order, and asked if they would like to order one.
A Kitchen Table Operation
The response was amazing. By the time Easter came I was making RCIA rosaries. Then the next thing I knew I was making rosaries for the First Communion kids. Then for Mother's Day, and Father's Day. It was a "Rosary Explosion". My little kitchen table business had to be moved to the back porch. With the help of a friend in the craft business I was able to find manufacturers of glass beads, and then numbered beads (finding the number beads was the answer to another prayer). I never did any advertising, I just asked friends to tell other friends about my "kitchen table business". I promised Our Lady that I would never make a rosary for profit on Sunday, but any rosary that was made that day would be given to the poor. I also promised her that I would never charge anyone anything for fixing a broken rosary. I told her that "She was my boss, and that I would do my best to do whatever she asked me". The rest, as they say, 'is history'. This little business continues to grow, and I have heard some of the most amazing stories about people who began to say the rosary again. Our Lady has blessed me and has blessed this little business. All for the Glory of God, everything just continues to get better.
The Rest of the Story
So what ever happened to Chuck? Did he find a job? Well, as a matter of fact he did. That's quite a story by itself.
Miller was going through its final phases in August, and was going to shut down by the end of the September. Chuck still hadn't found a job. I was making some money, but this was not the kind of money that a family of 4 could live on. He needed a job, and I was as nervous about this as he was. I was praying my rosary in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help one day in September. I told Our Lord and Our Lady there were only a few paychecks left to come and then HELP! I continued to pray the rosary, and then, as if I was interrupted by Our Lord, He spoke to my heart and told me, "Stop worrying, Chuck will get a job, it will be my birthday present to you this year." Well, that sounded pretty good to me! I was so relieved!
Well, it was the 1st of October. Miller was closed. It was as if they had divorced us. Things were pretty solemn. It was also my mother's 75th birthday party, and I had a house full of guests. My best friend Maryann came up to me and asked me how I was. She said she couldn't help but notice how calm I seemed to be in spite of the fact that Chuck hadn't found a job yet. I told her I wasn't worried, because God had told me that for my birthday this year Chuck would get a job. It would be my present from Jesus. Well, Maryann accepted this just fine, but my kids overheard me tell her. Their reaction was not quite the same. "This has been too much for her," Ryan cried out, "She's flipped!" "Dad, Mom has gone crazy, yelled Scott." I just looked at them, and said, "Wait and see."
Well, my birthday was one month away, and Chuck did not have even a lead on a job. A few weeks later, however, Dermott Solan, one of his old bosses from Miller called, and asked Chuck to give him a resume. He had gotten a job with Stroh Brewery in North Carolina, and they could use a skilled maintenance man like Chuck. A few days after that, he called again, "could Chuck come to NC for a job interview". Well, a few more days passed, and on Monday, October 31, 1994, MY 46th BIRTHDAY, while I was at daily mass, the phone rang. Chuck answered it. It was Stroh Brewery. He was hired. Could he be in North Carolina on the following Monday to start work?
Why Do I Tell You These Stories?
I tell you all this for one reason. To tell YOU that God Loves YOU and he loves Me. He loves us all, and he looks after us in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. God is faithful to His promises to us. Mary is faithful to her promise to us: To Christians who will say the rosary faithfully I will give all that you ask for.
SO Pray the Rosary Every Day!!!
And ASK -- ASK and You will Receive! Trust God, and He will not fail you. Persevere with confidence.
Pray, Pray, Pray, and get your friends to pray too!
All For the Glory Of God
All For the Love Of His Immaculate Mother