When I was a baby she helped my mother take care of me. At the end of the war she decided to enter the convent. We had a lot of disagreements as I was growing up but finally we both grew old and realized we loved each other very much. The last time I saw her she was lying in state. I was so sad that my godmother, my ninang, had passed away even if I knew she was without a doubt with God. I promised her I would pray the rosary daily. I have been doing that — almost perfectly — since then.
Suddenly the quarantine came. I was stuck at home with nothing to do. I looked at my collection of beads and decided to make myself a rosary. It was pretty so I made myself three. I had so many beads I decided to make more to give away at Christmas. But I didn’t have enough crosses or medals. Finally I decided to go back to Quiapo.
To go to Villalobos you turn left from Echague, not with your car but with your feet. The last time I was there was more than a year ago, before Iskho Moreno became mayor. Well, now it’s still the same street with market vendors outside the stores but it is so much more organized and a thousand times cleaner. I bought tiny dried ayungin, which I have grown to love, for P20 a pack, a walis tambo or broom for P150 when it’s over P200 in the supermarket. Everything is fresher and cheaper at the street markets. Maybe I should plan on going at least once a month to stock up on crafts and other materials for home.
I have several favorite stores here but decided to go only to one because I didn’t want to be tempted to spend too much. Here I had seen the most crosses and medals. When I entered I found myself confronted with a plethora of rosaries. They were either huge for walls or very small for rings, 10 tiny beads with an itty-bitty cross. They came in bracelets. They came in every length and size. This told me that maybe there were no rules for rosaries. You can do whatever you want. This suggested to me a freedom to design.
I began rummaging for crosses and medals. I couldn’t find any big crosses I liked except in a bronze color. The silver crosses were pretty but they weren’t the Crucifix as we know it. It had no Christ nailed to the cross. Strangely, I preferred these slightly ornate crosses because the picture of Christ nailed to the cross is deeply ingrained in our memories. We don’t forget that. So even if our rosary just has a bare cross we know it still expresses Christ’s sacrifice for us. It tells us, more lightly, about the Crucifixion and what happened to us after that. We all were saved. It may take us years to believe that we were all first loved then saved, but that’s the truth.
So now that I felt a freedom to design, I went shopping with an open mind, looking at possible items to use when designing rosaries. I could add my own touches based on my personal experience. I have always wondered why I had to begin the decades by saying the “Our Father” on a chain and end by saying the “Glory Be” on a chain as well. Maybe I could add two beads instead of the usual four that signify the “Glory Be.” Now my rosaries have six instead of four beads aside from the 10 beads in the decades. That’s to signify the change of prayers.
Let’s call these beads the dividing beads. The first bead is for the “Our Father” and the sixth bead is for the “Glory Be” and the Fátima prayer. The next four indicate the change from the “Hail Mary” to the “Glory Be.” They all have three pieces. You can feel the three pieces even if they are not as big as each other. The first is the “Glory Be,” the next is the Fátima prayer, the third is the next “Our Father.” The way you feel the change in your fingers does the trick for me.
Also, I changed that little thing that connects the entire rosary. Usually it’s a medal. I found some with the necessary holes but I thought that was another good place for innovation. I used other things but attached a medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I actually love the rosaries I made.
Now why am I writing this? While I make rosaries to give away as gifts, I’m wondering whether or not I can sell them. Would you buy? For how much? Just idle and curious. Let me know. Maybe I can go into business during this quarantine, which has been extended yet again.
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