Q: What is the History of the Cord Rosary?

A: The history of the cord rosary traces back to 1948 when Sister Mary Imeldine, C.S.S.F. taught at the Good Counsel High School in Chicago.  An idea occurred during a freshmen religion class that something be done whereby students might actually prove their love and devotion to the Blessed Mother in action, thus begging her intercession for world peace.

The first year 4,000 rosaries were made and sent to Poland.  The second year 12,000 rosaries were made and sent to the missionaries and their people in India, Mexico, New Guinea, Philippines, Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, China, Central America and Japan. The third year, 21,360 rosaries were made. In addition to the places mentioned above there were requests from Brazil, South Sea Islands, Okinawa, Spain, Finland, Bolivia, Chile, Guam, Rhodesia, and some poor missions in the United States where news reached them that free cord rosaries were available.

In the next three years, rosaries were sent mostly to the armed forces as well as missionaries.  A total of 129,154 rosaries were dispensed in these six years.  In addition, two thousand chaplets of St. Michael were made and distributed.

In the meantime, Sister Imeldine was transferred from Chicago to the new St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee.  In May 1956 the Cord Rosary Workshop began at St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee.  Rosaries were sent by Crusaders called Marionettes from Chicago under the direction of Ruth Gronert, a teacher at Good Counsel High School.

Inspired by the Rosary project, Arleen Harder organized a small group of ten women from St. Helen's Parish to become the Rosary crusaders.  Their first meeting was at the St. Francis Hospital on November 21, 1957.  At present the Rosary Crusaders number two hundred members from fifty-five parishes, meeting monthly at the hospital.

Our Rosary Crusaders Club is growing.  Ladies invite their relatives, neighbors or friends.  Several husbands became Rosary Crusaders. A blind chiropractor from Minnesota learned how to make cord rosaries.  Dr. and Mrs. E. Collision through the medium of an article they submitted to a Braille Catholic newspaper aroused the interest of many other blind people who read the article about a blind doctor making rosaries.  We have instructions in Braille on how to make the cord rosaries.  We have received many letters from the blind who express their desire to make rosaries.  One of the blind, Victor McLaughlin from Niles, Michigan made over 130,000 in the past years.

During the first six years, over ten-thousand dollars was spend for cords, crucifixes and postage.  Reviewing the past twenty-five years alone, the cost has totaled more then forty-one thousand dollars.  Generous donors have contributed toward these expenses.

Rosary Crusaders bring used religious articles, clothing, and literature to be packed with the rosaries sent to our needy brethren. Sister sends some medications and dry food staples in packages with rosaries to people in disaster areas.  These are truly appreciated.  We try to be a big spiritual family helping the poor, seeking no material returns.

Missionaries from far lands come to express their flock's gratitude and appreciation for the gift of rosaries.  The  list of our rosary recipients continues to grow.  More demands for rosaries continue to come in.  During the war we sent many rosaries to the armed forces.  Progressively more rosaries have been shipped out with the passing of years.

The recitation of the Rosary has definitely not been out-date or out-moded!  It is as popular today as it has been in the past.  We have been sending out an average ten thousand to fifteen thousand rosaries each month for many years.  The prayers are being recited privately among families, neighbors, special occasions in churches, funeral parlors, and over the radio in many countries.

Since the existence of the Rosary Crusaders, 5,501,809 rosaries were made and sent out.  Rosaries are sent to seven continents.

May this history of the Rosary Crusaders inspire and move people to say the rosary in these times of trials and tribulations.


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