When Albina Meyers, Kelly Rauscher and Dorothy Chapin started a rosary-making group at their parish in October 2013, they had no idea that their little group would produce more than 30,000 rosaries over the next three years.
"It's overwhelming for us. It's unbelievable for us to realize that after three years, we're still making them and there's still a need," Meyers recently told the Catholic Courier.
The 10 to 15 current members of Rosary Makers of St. Francis and St. Clare Parish meet at 6 p.m. each Monday evening at the parish's Ministry Center in Waterloo. Members are there until about 8 p.m. making rosaries, and they also make rosaries in their spare time at home and bring them to the parish during the group's meetings, Meyers said.
The Rosary Makers place some of their rosaries, which usually are made from cord and plastic beads, in front of the Marian statues in the parish's worship sites in Waterloo and Seneca Falls. Parishioners and visitors are free to take the rosaries home, along with pamphlets that explain how to pray the rosary. The group also donates rosaries to local hospitals, nursing homes and prisons, as well as to those in need throughout the world. In August, the group sent 4,500 rosaries to Nicaragua with missionary Ann Marie Zon through St. Francis and St. Clare's Nicaragua Project, and they've sent at least 1,500 rosaries to Haiti as well, Meyers said.
"There are a lot of people praying with those rosary beads, and we're blessed," Meyers said. "We're happy we can do it, and we know that Our Lady is pleased and that is our primary reason (for making the rosaries), otherwise we would have fizzled out."