Husband & Wife Articles


Stringing Pearls

Both big and small victories won with a rosary

By Rob Guinan

When I think of Our Lady of the Rosary, whose feast day is October 7, I can't help but think of victories. I associate it with the Battle of Lepanto, a victory at sea for Christians in 1571. It was through prayers to the Blessed Mother that impossible circumstances miraculously turned favorable.

It is also a feast day when I think of my mother. She prayed the rosary daily and had a difficult life. She didn't just welcome victories in her life, she depended upon them. She lost her mother when she was 3 years old. She lost her father when she was 10. Her brothers and her husband predeceased her. She contracted heart disease and leukemia. Yet she was never unfaithful to her rosary. She prayed this beautiful prayer every day and, like those brave and valiant men of Lepanto in the 1500s, she would claim many victories, both small and large, for herself and her family. They were like little pearls.

Rob and Sharon Guinan.

In the last two years of her life, Mom had been largely bed-ridden. I convinced her to get to Confession. Getting her there, though, was no small task. I got her into a tiny car, loaded her wheelchair into the trunk and took her to St. Joseph’s. Father Murphy – himself ailing and not long for this world – greeted us and asked me to wheel her to the back of the rectory to hear what would be her final confession. 

As they met, I moved away so they could have some privacy, but still noticed that Father Murphy tenderly laid pastoral hands in the form of a blessing on my mother’s head as he finished the absolution. I have never witnessed such a magnificent display of sacramental grace and the holy priesthood. As he signaled me back, I heard him say to Mom, “We’re in the same boat, Joanie.” I couldn't help but think of Lepanto. I had witnessed something special!

Recently I visited a Little Flowers girls' club. On this particular afternoon, the young ladies just happened to be making rosaries to bring to a nearby nursing home. There were eight girls – a happy work force to be sure – with a sophisticated assembly line and quite a bit of personal satisfaction in the end result. On their way out the door to deliver the rosaries, the parish priest stood ready to bless their rosaries. It is a joy to think that those rosaries are now in the hands of the patients and the nursing home staff. They will be praying for their children, grandchildren, country and all those whom they love, including those who have gone before them. They'll be praying for their legislators, health care providers and dear friends who need healing. Oh, the victories that are at hand!

Through their love of the rosary, my mother and those Little Flowers’ girls understood what it meant to be stringing pearls. Yesterday, like today, they produced victories both big and little by those pearls. Who knows the size and scope of the victories wrought by the rosary yet to come?  

Rob Guinan is the author of Anne Among Us: First Fear … Then Miscarriage. A Catholic Father’s Diary (Quaker Lane Crossing, 2014). He worked as a staff writer for an international bank.