What do you do with a broken rosary?

Dear Pope Francis,

I’ve pretty much given up on daily mass as a Lenten commitment at this point. Between it only being offered three days a week at my parish, and the bizarre hours I’ve been keeping the last month, I just haven’t been awake and available at the right times to go. I’ve been doing better at remembering I want to pray the rosary and then making myself do it since St. Patrick’s Day. I haven’t succeeded every day, but I’ve improved a lot and I haven’t touched the games on my phone.

I have two rosaries. One I made in either school or catechism class when I was a little girl. It’s on string and the beads and the crucifix are made of plastic. Frankly, I’m surprised I’ve never lost it. Kudos to whoever managed to impress the importance of keeping my rosary safe so firmly into my five or six year old mind.

The second is also on string, but it’s made with wood and was given to me by Fr. Santo when I did S.E.R.V.E. two years ago.

Until this year, I’ve never tried to maintain a particular devotion to Mary. I’d join a classmate in praying it in the chapel at school occasionally, and if my roommate or the Young Catholic Adults Group was praying it and I wasn’t too busy I’d join in. But for the most part, praying the rosary was just never a part of my life.

Despite this lack of devotion, I’ve always carried a rosary in my purse or the front pocket on my backpack. I never consciously put it in with the intent of taking it out to pray, but for whatever reason I’ve always felt a need to carry one with me.

broken rosaries

Since I started using my rosaries to pray, I’ve discovered they are both broken. My purple and black rosary is missing one bead in the fourth decade and my wooden rosary is missing three beads in the third decade. I can only assume the beads on both broke off after years of abuse from my thoughtless habit of storing rosaries in my purse, unprotected from my keys and pens and lipstick.

Realizing my rosaries are broken has made me incredibly uncomfortable. I’m still using them to pray, but I feel like I should either repair them or dispose of them somehow. The idea of putting a broken rosary in the trash makes my stomach churn and I can not shake the feeling that it would be very wrong to do so. There’s a craft store uptown I can go to for fresh string and replacement beads, but I don’t think I should just toss the old string in the garbage either.

So what are you supposed to do with a broken rosary?

I was surprised I couldn’t find anything in the index of the Catechism about blessed objects, so I turned to Google. The first result took me to a Catholic forum which wouldn’t let me register as a member to join in the discussions, and the second took me to an article on CatholicCulture.org.

Written by Fr. William Saunders, the article says blessed objects must either be burned or buried when they break. It doesn’t contain any mention of repair, but the sense I got was an underlying assumption the object is beyond repair for the purposes of the article.

Searching rosary repairs brought up a news article about Betty and Dick Holden, a retired couple who repair old and make new rosaries with their volunteers. Reading about them was really cool for me. While I’m certainly not anywhere near the level of devotion many Catholics have to Mary, the discomfort I’ve experienced and the degree of need I’ve felt about repairing my broken rosaries tells me the service this couple is providing is a very real form of ministry to many people.

I’m going to try repairing my rosaries myself; Google also brought back a fairly straightforward how to playlist on YouTube. I’ll burn the old string and bury it.

Looking for a suitable carrying case or pouch to protect my rosary beads,

Meredith

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