Praying the Rosary may be something that all Catholics do, but it is still a deeply personal time of prayer, no matter how common the practice is. As you work your way through each decade and contemplate the Mysteries, there is also a heavy amount of your own life that pours into that prayerful time. It is a beautiful way to connect with Christ through His Mother, and also a great way to meditate on the prayerful intentions and blessings of your life specifically.
In that same vein, the physical rosary you use to pray with should be something that helps you find that focus and connect with your faith. Maybe you’re still using the rosary that you received for your First Holy Communion as a child, or maybe you like to get a new one each year because you wear them out. Whether you choose a simple wooden rosary or one with ornate filigree beads, whether you love having a full rosary or a single-decade rosary bracelet, the form of the rosary doesn’t matter except in how it facilitates your prayerful life. Ultimately, that’s going to be our overarching suggestion; but, if you need help choosing a new rosary for yourself, or to give as a gift, consider:
Catholic rosary beads are one of the main components of the rosary as a whole, and the element that guides each prayer. So it stands to reason that you’ll want to give the beads themselves some good thought. Consider, for example, that someone who is older or has callused fingers might find it hard to feel the distinctions between each Hail Mary bead if the beads are all small and spaced close together. Think about how the beads will feel as they slide through your fingers, too. Highly textured beads might make it easier to feel the difference as you move from one bead to the next, but they could also cause your fingers to dull to the sensation. Smooth beads could be easier to grip, but if the beads are both small and nestled together, it may be harder to keep count with them; however, if they’re spaced well, smooth beads may make it easier on sensitive fingers.
The Connective Material
The most common materials you’ll see serving as the connective material for rosaries are metal links or some kind of rope. When you’re choosing a new rosary, think about how that connective material, whatever it is, is likely to age. You may expect that a rosary connected by metal links will last longer, but there are options like our handmade rosaries made using paracord to ensure excellent longevity without the metal. With options like that, you can enjoy your custom rosary without worrying about the metal links snagging on fabric — though you may want a little carrying pouch to protect your rosary no matter what materials it is made from.
Medals and Crucifix Options
Practicalities aside, the other big element to consider when choosing a rosary is finding an option that holds meaning for you — or maybe finding a custom rosary maker so you can design your own. Whether you choose to dedicate all of your Rosary prayer time to one specific intention or it changes every time, the centerpiece, crucifix, and additional medals on a rosary can help provide a bit of subtle guidance for your prayer time. For example, maybe you like to pray the Rosary to ask for Our Lady’s guidance for a loving, healthy, enduring marriage. In that case, a crucifix themed toward marriage, or a centerpiece dedicated to the Holy Family could be good, simple reminders of your intention. Or, if you often find yourself seeking strength to live a faith-filled life in a secular world, maybe you want a centerpiece of St. Michael as a reminder of the saints’ examples for our lives and the heavenly support they provide. Taking time to research different options can help make your time praying the Rosary more purposeful and meaningful.
Five-Decade Rosary Alternatives
The other thing to consider when choosing a rosary is which format you want. The five-decade rosary is the standard, but that may not be the option that serves you best depending on how and when you most often pray the Rosary. Do you like to pray while driving? An auto rosary — a single decade that clasps to form a loop — lets you clip rosary beads to your steering wheel so you can safely pray without taking your hands off the wheel. If you’re someone who likes to use any downtime you get to pray a decade or two, a pocket rosary could be easier to carry in your pocket or bag and pull out whenever opportunity strikes. Similarly, a rosary ring keeps a decade of the rosary at hand so you can pray as you choose, no matter where you are.
Despite all that, finding the right rosary for you doesn’t have to be complicated. We suggest making a list of qualities before you start your search. There are an abundance of options out there, so it’s worth taking your time to find the right fit — even to the point of designing your own custom rosary to provide that meaningful gift to yourself or a loved one. Want to know more? Connect with The Catholic Woodworker team for guidance!