I mentioned a couple of months ago that I was about to hire a new employee- a first in the history of Benedict’s Beads. Meet Ciera, from Philothea Surrendered. Ciera is a senior at Benedictine College and a close friend of mine. I have long been impressed with her rosary work and, as I continued to expand the business after leaving the monastery, decided to take her on as an employee. We decided to ask Ciera some questions so that you can get to know her better.
Why do you like making rosaries?
I love working with my hands on various crafts, and, of these, beading is my longest-lasting serious hobby (having started when I was in the 5th grade). The reason I like making rosaries in particular is that it allows me to incorporate my faith – particularly my love for the Blessed Mother – into my work, allowing it to glorify God in a beautiful way, as well to help others to draw closer to Christ through their use of my rosaries.
What was the first rosary you’ve ever made?
The first rosary that I made was made of blue-green and yellow glass beads strung and knotted onto a brown leather cord (which, after having gone through the laundry a couple times, was quickly replaced with wire). That was back when I was in junior high school! The next time that I would make a beaded rosary would not be until I encountered Benedict’s Beads during my freshman year of college. Now it seems like I always have an excuse to make a new rosary – I just can’t seem to stop!
What’s your favorite rosary to have made so far?
My favorite rosary that I have “made” up to this point is actually one that I hadn’t designed myself, but one that I had repaired, as the situation was such a personal one. Long story short, I had forgotten my First Communion rosary in the pocket of my school uniform, it went through the wash, and the Hail Mary beads were completely stripped of their pearlescent paint. After many months of debate with myself, I made up my mind to replace the damaged beads, and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The rosary that had meant so much to me and that I thought was past the point of use looked better than ever before!
What excites you about working for Benedict’s Beads?
The fact that I get to make beautiful rosaries for people on a daily basis is probably one of the most exciting aspects of being a part of Benedict’s Beads. Ever since I learned about this company, I wanted to, in some way, be involved. At the time, Benedict’s Beads was restricted to monks-only, which makes me all the more grateful now that I do have the ability to be a part of its ministry.
Why is the rosary important to you?
Aside from being my favorite devotion, the rosary – to me – is a profound way for me to grow in my relationship with Momma Mary and her Son. It’s repetition of prayers has a soothing effect when I have the need to unwind, and at times it can become very intimate, as there is no bottom to the depths of the mysteries that are meditated on. The rosary also has a unique way of unifying those who pray it together – some of my deepest friendships have been formed around praying the rosary together on an at least weekly basis. And then there’s just the fact that holding the beads during prayer is something quite comforting – almost like one is holding on to Momma Mary’s hand while talking to her about your life.
How would you describe your relationship with the Blessed Virgin?
My relationship with Momma Mary easily be described as that between a mother and daughter, especially in light of making my Total Consecration three years ago. She has very much been a mother to me in my spiritual life, guiding and supporting me when I need her, rejoicing with me in the good times, and – of course – being extremely patient with me in my stubborn moments! She has shown me that I can trust her with a childlike trust in everything that arises on my journey toward her Son.
Do you have any good rosary stories?
I do have one story that comes to mind, but is probably more ironic than anything else! It is also my first full memory in relation to my Catholic faith. I was probably five at the time – give or take a year – and I think I had just got a new rosary bracelet and a picture book on how to pray the rosary from our local Catholic store. I wanted to use my new items, so I asked my mom to teach me how to pray the rosary. We sat down on our living room rug and she began to walk me through praying with the book. Well, as you can imagine, the repetition soon became boring for my little five-year-old mind, and when my mom read yet again “Pray 10 Hail Mary’s,” I let out (jokingly) an exasperated sigh “Again?” I thought I was being funny, but my mom was not amused. If only we both knew just how significant the rosary would become later in my life! Now I can only thank both my biological and my spiritual moms for their patience with their little girl as she slowly grew in maturity of faith!
We welcome Ciera to Benedict’s Beads!