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The Giver of Rosary Beads

Posted on May 26, 2024 in: News

The Giver of Rosary Beads

'Diakonia - Instruments of God's Charity'

As children of God, I’ve often wondered if Jesus has a special name or nickname for each of us. There was Peter “The Rock,” “Doubting Thomas” and John the “Beloved Disciple.” If Jesus has a special name for me, perhaps it would be “The Giver of Rosary Beads.”

As each of us live out our faith journeys, we are shaped by events and our relationship with God can take on new directions. At the end of 1990, with increasing family and work stress, the new direction for me was deciding to pray daily to the stigmata priest Padre Pio, who suffered with the physical wounds of Christ. Padre Pio encouraged his spiritual children to carry rosary beads with them at all times and to pray the rosary every day. Padre Pio called the rosary his weapon to fight off attacks from Satan.

Daily praying of the rosary became a great blessing in my life as I coped with mounting difficulties in my family and in my work for the Connecticut Department of Corrections. The end of 1990 into 1991 was a very difficult time in my life as my wife Mary had a series of significant health problems which included hospitalizations. I was very worried about her health prognosis and, with three teenage children at home, my home life became very chaotic. Over time, with many prayers and wonderful health care, Mary was able to recover her health.

It was also in 1991 that I was promoted to a mental health clinician position at the Morgan Street Jail in Hartford. The Morgan Street Jail had been built in 1927 and had been originally designed to incarcerate 100 inmates. By 1991, the population had swelled to 200, which was causing inmates to be locked in their cells for up to 22 hours a day. Each of these small, cramped cells had a toilet and bunk beds for the two inmates housed there.

Most of the inmates at Morgan Street were awaiting sentencing and among the population were gang members, inmates with substance abuse and addiction issues and inmates with a variety of mental health problems. In individual and group sessions, I offered the inmates help to better manage their depression, anxiety, and anger issues. As I explored ways to help the inmates become more peaceful, I heard the comforting voice of God telling me to begin teaching the inmates how to pray the rosary.

With the warden’s permission, I started to hand out rosaries and instructional handouts. Praying the rosary had a calming effect for the inmates bringing them much needed hope as they felt the presence of Jesus and the Blessed Mother with them in their confining jail cells. For the inmates who struggled praying the Hail Mary and the Our Father prayers, I encouraged them just to hold the beads and make up prayers such as …

“Jesus, help me …”

“Blessed Mother protect me …”

“Jesus please help me to stop using drugs …” 

Many times, the simple prayers — the prayers from the heart — are the best ways to feel God’s healing presence.

In 2001, with the support and encouragement of my wife Mary, I applied to become a deacon in the Catholic Church. In 2005 while studying to become a deacon, I became a volunteer in the Pastoral/Spiritual Care Department at Middlesex Hospital. Once a week for the past 18 years, I’ve had the special privilege of offering Catholic hospital patients the opportunity to receive the living healing presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Along with praying with the patients, I’ve again handed out many rosary beads to help comfort and give hope to often fearful and anxious patients. 

Brothers and sisters, let us slow down our lives to find time every day to pray the rosary. Praying the rosary is a 20-minute inspirational faith journey taken with Jesus and the Blessed Mother Mary. Praying the rosary will provide your life with many blessings, great joy, peace, and inspirational hope, despite any world problems or personal difficulties. Pray the rosary and, trust me, the benefits will be amazing!

By Deacon Dana Garry

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    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
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    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294