Today I have a beautiful guest post by my lovely new friend, Lisa Finn. She is a mother of three kids and a freelance writer. For the past 15 years, Lisa has written thousands of print and online articles on subjects ranging from family and fashion to business and beauty. She currently ghostwrites for several mompreneurs in the fashion and lifestyle-tech industries. You can find out more about her at www.lisafinn.net. I am thrilled that she offered to share this very personal and faithful story right here for you to read. I love that Catholicism is finally represented in my devotional series! I have known many beautiful believers that are Catholics, and I would love to learn even more about it. Lisa’s sweet daughter’s faith is inspiring and her rosary intrigues me…
A 6-Year-Old’s Standing Date with the Virgin Mary
I was rushing back to my car after school drop-off one morning. I had a looming deadline with an article and my editor was calling at 8 a.m. She was the kind of woman who took peplum tops way too seriously and wouldn’t appreciate the chit-chat of mommies in the background.
As I hurried toward my car, I heard an unfamiliar voice call to me.
“Hi, Mrs. Finn?”
Oh, geez, I thought. It’s probably a room parent about to launch a plea for 40 muffins. That reminds me, I forgot to donate to the auction basket … again.
“I’m Michele. Your daughter, Kate, is lovely.”
“Oh, thanks! You know Kate?” I asked.
“Yes. She comes to the library every Wednesday during lunch time.”
“That doesn’t surprise me. She does love her books!” I said in a tone that was more “I-gotta-go” than “nice-to-meet-you.”
The woman smiled. She realized I had no idea what she was talking about.
“No, not to read,” she said. “To pray the rosary.”
At that moment, motherly self-doubt met embarrassment and they hung out all over my face. Someone is teaching my daughter how to pray the rosary and meditate on the Mysteries, and I didn’t even know? At lunch time, nonetheless? I wondered for a minute why Kate never mentioned this. Okay that’s a lie. I wondered the whole day why Kate never mentioned this. My daughter is swapping playing for praying and it never comes up in conversation?
That night I talked to Kate. “Oh yeah,” she said. “That’s Michele. She leads the rosary group on Wednesdays.” Kate told me about the kids in the group and how they all get to say a special intention before they begin. Her special intention usually includes a puppy.
Her first-grade year continued with little more than a few discussions about her Wednesday afternoon rosary group. She never had much to say, except she always smiled when I brought it up.
In second grade, Kate prepared for her First Holy Communion. We decided to throw her a party the size of a small wedding. I can’t help myself. I come from a big Italian family where my mother would make up something to celebrate just to get the family together. Also, something about a Communion dress gets me right in the feels. The sweet lace, perfectly tied bow, neckline dotted with pearls. The way a girl twirls with delight and asks if she can wear a tiny heeled shoe for the special occasion. How she wonders aloud what the Host will taste like … and expresses joy that she can now receive Jesus like the rest of the congregation … or like her siblings.
Besides the gift of Christ, Kate received many gifts to commemorate her First Holy Communion. The last gift she unwrapped was a gift from me.
She opened the box and began to draw the bubble-gum-colored beads toward her eyes.
It was a rosary that I made for her.
The decades feature 49 pink beads that match her bedroom paint. The other four Hail Marys are silver beads each with a letter from her name (K-A-T-E). There’s an additional six multi-speckled ones, representing Kate’s love of all things rainbow, for the Our Fathers, Glory Be and Fatima Prayer. Dangling near the cross are two charms: “Made with Love” and a little pencil because she loves to draw.
Kate’s face lit up. She didn’t have a rosary of her own. The one she used for Wednesday rosary was her great-grandfathers. It was rather clunky with black onyx beads and a saggy black pouch. Not exactly the rosary I wanted my little girl to roll with.
I made the rosary at night after my kids were asleep. As I strung each bead into its place, I said a little prayer for Kate. “I pray you’ll always have a best friend. I pray you keep your eyes fixed on God and your ears closed to gossip. I pray you’ll be a woman of laughter and not complaints. I pray you’ll land on a career you love. I pray you’ll sense when you’re taken for granted. I pray you’ll always have authentic kindness.” These were among the 59 prayers I said as I made her rosary.
When I strung the last Hail Mary, I prayed that Kate would always feel the love of her two mothers: Mary in heaven and me on earth. And that she would hold this rosary in her hands when I was no longer around to hold her.
That night at bedtime Kate caressed the tiny beads between her fingers and thanked me again for the party and her special rosary.
“You’re welcome, my sweets. I wanted to give you something from my heart that would remind you of how much I love you. And how much I admire your faith in God.” That was the short answer.
The real reason I made Kate a rosary stems from that parking lot moment. Michele may have been talking to me, but it was God’s whisper that enlightened me:
“Stay on this path with your family and their lives will be blessed. Keep your family close to God. Do it genuinely and gently and your children will find comfort and value in their faith.”
I’ve come to realize why I had my panties in a bunch that awkward morning with Michele. She was sharing something very special with Kate that I had yet to consider. Now, with even more clarity, I saw what was really happening, and my heart filled with grace. Kate’s Wednesday rosary group was her little appointment with the Virgin Mary and she didn’t need me to drive her there.
It was her time with her faith. This wasn’t mass on Sunday or prayers before a meal. This was something Kate had discovered on her own – and not because her parents had placed it in front of her.
At six years old, she was connecting with her spirituality in a way that was autonomous from her dad and me. She didn’t need to talk about it; she needed to feel it. Religious experiences can be powerful and unique. Sometimes when something is so personal, you keep it close to your heart for you alone to savor.
Kate is now in fifth grade. Michele has since moved. But Kate hasn’t. She still attends rosary every Wednesday at lunch time with a new devoted mother at the helm.
Oh, and she doesn’t have to beg – I mean pray – for a puppy anymore. She can thank her “two” mothers for that.
Have you witnessed your child grow closer to God? Share your comments in the space below.
Interested in finding out more about the rosary? Here are some links to get you started.
How to pray the rosary http://www.rosary-center.org/howto.htm#loaded
Pray with others online http://www.comepraytherosary.org/
History of the rosary http://www.theholyrosary.org/rosaryhistory