It is said that coincidences are God's way of being anonymous. I believe that if we are receptive to them, God gives us little signs of encouragement, comfort and consolation in our everyday lives, signs that He is with us. The accounts in this blog are true.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
My Schlep Rosary
Some people lose umbrellas; I lose rosaries. Over the years I have lost some of my favorite rosary beads. One was turquoise and sterling silver. My handbag had been stolen and tossed, and when it was recovered, the rosary was gone. Another was an emerald green crystal and brass rosary with a Jesus, Mary and Joseph center. It was very unique, and I miss it very much. I think I left it behind in church one Sunday. At one point, I decided I would carry in my handbag only a rosary I wouldn't mind losing.
So, in a drawer somewhere I found a plain black beaded 6 mm rosary with stainless steel links which I called, not irreverently, my "schlep rosary" since I would take it everywhere, transferring it from one coat pocket to another with little care, leaving it here and there, or just dropping it in my handbag. At some point, I noticed when praying the rosary that it would often open at a particular link, and each time, I would repair it on the spot, pressing the link closed with a fingernail. Despite the annoyance of it coming apart so often, after a number of years, I grew attached to my schlep rosary, and one day I couldn't find it. It was October 17th, but I don't remember the year. October 17th is the feast of St. Margaret Mary. I had been a teacher at St. Vincent Ferrer School at the time, and I remember reading about the Saint of the Day to my fifth grade class the morning I noticed the rosary was missing.
In the months that followed I was to hear stories about rosary links turning gold. My niece told me that she had a particular rosary, clear crystal and sterling silver. She used it daily, kept it in a rosary case at home, and one day she took it out and was surprised to see that the links had turned a definite golden tone. She did not for a moment think that the actual composition of the metal had been transformed, but she was convinced that the rosary had indeed turned "gold" as a little sign from God, and I agreed. I have heard many such stores, but I never expected to have a similar experience. But, exactly one year to the date after I had lost my rosary, not one little sign but two were to follow.
It was October 17th, the following year, and I entered St. Vincent Ferrer Church before the start of the school day. There at the entrance to the church on a table was my schlep rosary! There was no doubt it was the one I had lost. I recognized it immediately, and it was broken in the same place where it had so often come apart. But there was one difference: It no longer had silver-tone links, but gold. I thought it might have been the lighting in the church that had given the links a golden hue, or maybe it was my imagination. When I went to my classroom, I asked my students what color they thought the links were, and they all said, "gold".
I often wondered where my rosary had been, who put it on the table that day, and what caused the links to change color. Perhaps an environment of high humidity had caused the links to oxidize giving the metal its golden appearance. I am sure there is a scientific explanation, but the little sign from God still remains.
Unfortunately, I have since lost my schlep rosary. It's been a number of years now, and I don't expect to find it. But every year on October 17th, on the feast of St. Margaret Mary, I can't help but wonder if the familiar broken rosary will coincidentally cross my path.