My mom’s rosary is a beautiful sterling silver antique. She's used it since before I was born; I’ve seen her pray countless rosaries on it in my lifetime. I’ll always remember the soft sound of the clinking silver beads while we said our family rosary every night.
It’s her most prized possession—the one she’d save in a fire if she could only choose one thing to rescue.
But the most special thing about this rosary is the story behind it.
When he was a little boy, my grandfather (who is now eighty-six years old) found this rosary outside and brought it home to his mother since he knew she prayed the rosary daily. They tried to find the original owner, but no one in their tight-knit community had any idea where it came from.
While I cherish memories of having watched my mom use this rosary throughout my life, my mom remembers watching her grandmother praying with it throughout her own life.
My great-grandmother used that rosary every day until her death. At the time of her death, she gave it to my mom, who has continued the tradition of praying with it daily. One day, my mom will give it to me and my sisters.
This precious family heirloom is not just an object that has been handed down through generations—it’s a sacramental that has been used to offer countless rosaries for members of my family over the decades. I know that those prayers have shaped my family.
We’re not the only ones with a treasured family rosary. Recently, my co-worker, Joy, shared with me a story of a rosary in her family that’s been treasured for two generations:
“The rosary was always an important part of my husband's grandmother's regular prayers. She was a quiet, humble, and loving soul that would spread the love of Jesus with her calm presence and smile. My husband recalls many memories of visiting her, while hearing the rosary on the TV in the background. Her soft, cold hands would hold a rosary while the Little Sisters of the Poor cared for her in her final days. My husband's grandmother, Grace, gifted me her precious rosary a few years before she passed away. It's lovingly displayed in our bedroom as a special memory of Grace who had a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother.”
Any Catholic family can be blessed by the gift of an heirloom rosary, but not every family has one.
How can you start a tradition like this for your own family?
If you don’t have an heirloom rosary in your family yet, consider looking for one! Pick a rosary that you want to hand down to your children and grandchildren. Pray with it and take it with you wherever you go. Time will tell the impact it will have on future generations, with God’s grace.
Mary Clare Peoples comes from a big Catholic homeschooling family of seven. She left Atlanta to attend college in the lovely city of Charlotte, NC, and never wanted to leave. She loves reading, baking, and all things Catholic.