Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Don't tell anyone...

I’m probably an unusual rosary maker in that I don’t really, well, pray the Rosary. I think one reason for this is that the nightly family Rosary was forced on us as kids. The lovely pictures of a family praying the Rosary together don’t show the internal kid itching to get it over with and go on to something else. The dog got more out of it than I did – she knew that if she came and sat by me, she’d get her ears scratched for a solid 15 minutes. When I was minister of our local Secular Franciscan fraternity, it was my job to lead the Franciscan Crown Rosary at wakes. I used to say that, because it was so difficult for me to pray the Rosary, my praying a seven-decade Rosary would certainly get someone into heaven.

Another reason is that I’m an “N” (intuitive) personality-wise, and we tend not to get as much out of the type of mental meditation that’s supposed to accompany the Rosary as do people who have the opposite “S” (sensate) characteristic. Since intuitives aren’t as in touch with their senses, using those senses to imagine an event in the life of Jesus isn’t as rewarding. The most helpful use I’ve found for a rosary is simply as a set of counting beads to center me as I pray.

One reason I haven’t gotten into the Rosary as an adult is that since my college days I’ve been praying the Liturgy of the Hours (with shorter and longer lapses – I’m actually in a long one right now). One of the original purposes of the Rosary was to act as a substitute for the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours for people who were illiterate (which was most people in those days). I’d reason that if I was doing the “real thing,” why worry about the substitute? The Liturgy of the Hours, after all, is official prayer of the Church – the Rosary isn’t.

So why the heck do I make rosaries? Why am I addicted to making rosaries? Why can’t I stop making rosaries, even though my Etsy shop has over 100 and I’m making them faster than I sell them?

I’ve puzzled over this myself and I’m not sure what the answer is. I think part of it is that making a rosary is somewhat like composing a sonnet, in that there’s a very specific pattern to follow but within that pattern you can be as creative as you want. The geeky part of me likes the patterns – one reason I also get along well with the Liturgy of the Hours. I like knowing how to do the stem on a Franciscan Crown and how to arrange the “weeks” on an Anglican rosary. When I think about making jewelry instead, the vast possibilities just overwhelm me. I’d also have to learn some new skills; there are a lot of things that go into making jewelry that don’t go into making rosaries. You’ll notice that the few pieces of jewelry I have made are single-strand necklaces, which isn’t too different from making a rosary.

There’s also a bit of a feeling that I’m providing a service. Even though praying the Rosary doesn’t do much for me, it’s very helpful to a lot of people. This runs head-on into the fact that I am trying to make some money from them. When I started this venture, one of my brothers assumed that I was losing money on each rosary and that I was just doing it because I enjoyed it. I let him know that if I didn’t want to make a profit, I’d be giving the rosaries away on street corners instead of selling them. The one type of item I don’t really make a profit on is the St. Gerard chaplets, which I do consider to be providing a service. I don’t get as worried about selling lots of stuff as do many Etsy sellers. I’m basically trying to get some things started that can give me an income stream after I retire, which is still several years away – I just didn’t expect this particular stream to become so addicting.


PROGRESS REPORT: I’ve now sold five of the rosaries from the “Christmas in July Sale” section of my shop, where I’ve marked each item down to $10.00. I’ve already sold the rosary that was the best bargain (that is, had the highest original price). Here are a few more good bargains that are still left:

1 comment:

  1. I promise not to tell anyone! LOL! Great insight into your thought process. Congrats on the sales and I still love all your rosaries.

    Hi my name is Melissa

    It has been one hour since I last looked at a rosary.