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Telling Our Stories, Telling the Beads

Conversations with Myself No 4 painting

Shachi Kale

Clark Strand and Perdita Finn explain how the Catholic rosary finds new purpose in interfaith gatherings.

A few times a week in cities and towns around the country, small circles of friends gather to pray the rosary in a group called the Way of the Rose. Few of our members are Catholic. Some left the Catholic Church ages ago in disgust, others from lack of interest. Still others are refugees from Buddhist communities plagued by sexual or financial scandal. Our motto is “No Priests, No Property.” We have no dues or buildings to maintain. No experts or levels of mastery. Instead of lineages of power, we value circles of friendship. Our Woodstock, New York, meeting shares the little room we rent by the hour with any number of other groups, mostly 12-step programs. Like those in recovery, we gather to share our stories and, hopefully, to transform our lives. But why the rosary? Why pray a Catholic prayer when most of us aren’t even Christian? Hasn’t the rosary been used to enforce conformity and adherence to religious dogma? Haven’t popes called the rosary a weapon in the battle against abortion? In the modern era, that has all certainly been true. But for most of its long history, the rosary was anything …

About the Author

Clark Strand and Perdita Finn are co-founders of The Way...

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